My First #EdCamp Experience

This weekend I attended my first ever edcamp and it just so happens I was also one of the organizers of this event.  {I say this very loosely, because there were MANY who did FAR more than I did!}  I want to first say that I enjoyed the day and I think Todd Nesloney, Stacey Huffine and all of their crew did a great job with EdCampWaller.  I didn't hear anyone complain, everyone was all smiles and there was a buzz in the facility as people were traveling and learning.

There has been much discussion over the past couple of days about edcamps and I want to weigh in.  My friend, Kristy Vincent {@bigpurplehat} wrote this post titled "Edcamps Have Been Hijacked."  I think this is a very candid look at what edcamps started out as and what they have become.

Being that this was my first edcamp, I have NOTHING to compare it to.  I had NO idea what this was going to look like - even though I did watch the EdCampPhilly video prior to the event.  :)  Here are my thoughts and impressions as an edcamp first-timer.

  • I think a discussion/review of what edcamps are and how they work/look at the beginning of the day would be helpful.  (Note: This may have happened at EdCampWaller while I was working on updating the schedule!)  
  • I heard a couple of "presenters" say ... "It's really hard to sign up to lead a session when I don't really know what people want to learn."  I think this could be solved by having a "sticky note" activity like Kristy mentioned in her post above.
  • Several attendees were confused when they attended a session that was a "discussion" and not a "presentation."  Even a few of my BISD peeps didn't understand that a session could just be someone wanting to talk about "stuff." Again, I think having a demonstration or a really good explanation of an "edcamp session" in the opening would help edcamp newbies.
  • A few folks were also uncomfortable with the "vote with your feet"concept.  I, personally, am not ok with just getting up and leaving someone's session!  Could this concept be improved upon?  Is there another way to do this?  Maybe if there isn't a "presenter" then it doesn't matter - you're merely leaving a round table...  ??
  • I feel strongly that physical room layout is UBER important!  If I walk into a room with rows and a projector at the front of the room, I think conference-style presentation.  Simply rearranging furniture and putting the desks or tables or chairs into groups or a big circle would help give the impression of a discussion rather than lecture.

Again, I want to reiterate that I had a lovely first experience at EdCampWaller, but I am glad we have started this discussion about edcamps.   I also appreciated Dan Callahan's follow-up post about shared responsibility.  We're all playing for the same team here!  Let's keep these open discussions going so that we can all work together to create the BEST PD experiences for ourselves and our peers!!


  1. I like this idea very much for BISD. I'm glad you were a part of it and some of our folks attended it.


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