Earlier this week I attended my first ever “unconference”: EdubloggerCon East, hosted at Boston’s Park Plaza by the November Learning Group. A big thanks to Alan November for providing the venue for free. An unconference is a new concept, but not that hard to explain. One of our two excellent facilitators, Lisa Thumann (@lthumann) has provided a nice explanation on her blog, but let me offer a quick summary.
Simply put, when a venue has been established, perhaps by donation, the word is put out by Twitter and blogs that there will be a gathering of folks with a common interest, a wiki is established to manage the attending and the agenda, attendees offer up potential sessions, and then as the event opens, introductions are made and the plan for the day finalized.
The event I attended, as it would appear, was for folks who blog and tweet about education, and more particularly, about 21st century learning and the reform movement advocating for technology integration, 21st century skills, and web 2.0. There were about forty of us, I would say, in attendance, and I made great connections and learned a lot. I was only there for the morning, and enjoyed a very informative session about Glogster EDU, and then participated vigorously in a second session, on the topic of Rethinking/Renaming 21st Century Learning. I really want to thank both Lisa Thumann and also her excellent co-facilitator, Liz Davis (@LizDavis).
Another version of an unconference is an “edcamp.” I felt priviliged to sit next to and learn more about edcamp from one of its Philadelphia founders, Dan Callahan (@dancallahan). Edcamps have only just begun, and similarly they are all about free or very inexpensive “meet-ups” of educators who conduct professional development by sharing resources, collaborating in a peer-to-peer learning dynamic, and using the power of the web and wikis for communicating key information and distributing resources.
The question for me becomes then: Edcamp Tucson? Who is in? (Share your enthusiasm for the concept by using the comment box on the post here). I am tempted to try to work with Tucson folks for a mid-fall event (early November, anyone?) and use our centrally located campus to try to promote a Tucson wide Free Edcamp event.