digging the "un-conference" TCDSB21Camp
I wrote a post a few weeks ago about my tumultuous break-up with edtech and 21st Century Learning conferences. My dismay regarding the role of pseudo-educational third party organizations in these conferences was at the heart of the break-up. I proudly and boldly declared, that our rocky relationship was over. It would only be "un-conferences" from here on out.
Fast forward a few weeks to this past Saturday and I can confidently state that I made the right decision. My employer, the Toronto Catholic District School Board, successfully held its first ever EdCamp.
Nine focus sessions facilitated by TCDSB teachers, no keynote, no third party presence, more than 160 registrants and LOTS of great dialogue.
The focus sessions were 21C in their purest form: openness to new ways of thinking and doing. Technology was infused subtly and naturally into each session BUT no session explicitly focused on the use of ICT for learning. Teachers were engaged in dialogue, sharing, provocation of ideas and critical thought.
I can be a little cranky when it comes to my critique of public education and the pace in which it approaches change. No crankiness this time; really happy and really proud. Proud of my colleagues for their level of dedication in organizing the event and proud of the educators in our board who made the effort to show-up on a Saturday. This was a really nice way of starting to reframe the professional learning process.
The question of scale.
Many teachers will go back to their respective schools and discuss their learning with colleagues. This ripple effect will definitely create a secondary level of impact. Our goal now must be to find ways of scaling and sharing the learning from the day (and hopefully the subsequent days to follow). Word of mouth is powerful but not enough. An intentional focus on next steps may prove pivotal in reframing the professional learning conversation in our board.
I don't want to get too bogged down though on next steps for fear of losing focus on the importance of the day itself. Between our Twitter chat (#tcdsb21c) and the TCDSBCamp; I am beyond happy with and proud of the inclusive and participatory professional learning being facilitated by TCDSB21C.