#edcamp + classroom = #classcamp?

I’ve been reading a great deal about #edcamp on Twitter. At an #edcamp, the participants are the conference. The schedule of sessions is created the morning of the conference by the people who are attending. The goal is to create as many different sessions for each time slot as the space will allow. Presenters are more facilitators, collaborative documents are created about the topics, attendees include their social network in the experience by tweeting. If a session isn’t meeting your needs, you are free to walk out and choose another one – this is called the “rule of two feet”. Teachers seem to love this concept because it respects their voice in their own learning, and their ability to choose what will be most beneficial to them.

We wouldn’t be teachers if our own excitement about learning didn’t make us wonder “what if”. What if the rule of two feet applied to our classroom? What would school look like if our students had more choices, more ownership of their learning? What if kids could look forward to learning the way we do?

I’m thinking #classcamp (or # ____camp depending on the topic.

I teach younger students so I know I would need to provide considerable scaffolding, at least at first. I’m largely thinking out loud here, and I would really appreciate thoughts or ideas, especially if you have implemented something similar

My thoughts – give students (even parents or other teachers) a broad topic, such as World War II, Immigration, etc. See how many spaces in the building could be co-opted for sessions then create a schedule within the school’s schedule for sessions and allow students/parents/teachers to sign up to present in a googledoc. This would have to be done ahead of time, which I know is not true to the #edcamp model, but maybe that’s something we could work toward over the course of the year.

Students would initially “sign up” for sessions, also in google docs, but I think it would be important to preserve the two feet rule. If you knew your audience, your peers, were free to leave if your session wasn’t meeting their needs, I can’t help but feel it would make you step up your game. For students, it makes the research/ presentation/involvement more authentic – they choose and know their peers choose to stay or go as well. I know the etiquette would have to be taught/modeled but I still think that could be powerful on both sides.

I also would want to require reflection – #edcamps lead to active participation from its attendees.  Again, I’m just thinking out loud. Comments/suggestions would be appreciated.


1 comment so far

  1. ms. Eiteljorg on

    Here’s what we did for a student conference http://thoughtsfromschool.wordpress.com/2011/09/24/i-stole-this-idea/ . I would love to have it be more student driven next time.
    Thanks for the idea

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