For Edcamp Newbies

Yesterday, with the support of SGEI and Kean University, where I work, I hosted edcamp Common Core. The idea was to gather NJ educators to discuss a common theme.

Here’s what I heard from attendees in the morning before we shared opening remarks in the auditorium:

  • Why weren’t the sessions posted ahead of time?
  • Where are the experts?
  • I did not come prepared to talk.
  • I just came to listen.
  • Don’t you have any handouts for us?
  • Am I going to learn anything?

I was nervous for a bit in the morning before the session board filled. Thank goodness Ann Oro did such a good job at settling the nerves of some of the attendees and even got some of them to post sessions.

Once we all got into the auditorium I went over some basic notes on the facility and then reviewed the concepts behind an unconference. I also went over the schedule with them so that they could see what types of discussions were going to occur and possibly even add an idea of their own on the way up to the first sessions.

I ended with these rules for the day:

  1. Listen. Everyone has something to contribute.
  2. Participate. You have something to add to the conversation.
  3. Think with your feet.
  4. Have a good time.

Here’s what I heard at the share-out at the end of the day and from e-mails sent to me that evening:

  • I wanted to take a moment to express my enjoyment at today’s sessions! The conversations throughout the day were healthy, respectful, and informative among the educators in the building, I look forward to future edCamp events.
  • Thanks for setting this up.  Best day this summer.
  • Again, the conference was great and got me thinking in a lot of new ways.
  • I’m becoming an edcamp junkie.
  • Thank you so very much for the opportunity to attend the edcamp today, It was my very first time and I must admit I was a little leery not knowing what it was really about. It turned out to be an eye-opening experience. It was great to see, hear and discuss a common ground with other teachers.
  • I greatly enjoyed meeting teachers from other school districts to share our thoughts on different areas of education.  Thank you for setting up this unconference.
  • Would you please email me information on how to set up an edcamp in my school?

It’s not that I didn’t attempt to educate attendees on what the day would be like. It was all on the website that was linked to the Eventbrite. It’s just that the concept is still so new to so many people.

There are many, many more edcamps already scheduled. There’s even another in NJ on December 1. Please share our experiences from yesterday with your colleagues and future edcamp attendees.

8 thoughts on “For Edcamp Newbies

  1. KAREN CIHLAR says:

    Hi, Thank you Lisa and Staff. Edcamp is a great professional experience. I am already planning for the next “camp” session. I am also looking forward to sharing with all my colleagues.

    Kind Regards, Karen Cihlar Stanhope PSD
    Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2012 16:45:17 +0000 To:

  2. Lisa,
    Hello, my name is Nancy Nelson and I am a student at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I am taking EDM 310 where I was assigned your blog to comment on. In two weeks I will be leaving a blog post on my blog that will describe two of your posts and a summary of my comments. I am curious about the “unconvention” you mention above. What exactly does that mean and consist of. I found it rather amusing that the educators who attended the Edcamp expected something totally different than what they recieved, and yet they enjoyed themselves very much. Please feel free to contact me using twitter @NancyN91 or on my blog at
    Thank you,
    Nancy Nelson

  3. Hello Ms. Lisa,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences from the EdCamp. I’m glad it was a success. I particularly like the “rules” you shared. I know you meant those rules to be use during the camp, but I think they apply everywhere. The world would be a much better place of everyone listened and spoke up. Thank you again for all the wonderful work you do.

  4. Hi Lisa, again this week, your post has caused me to go in search of information! After reading so much about unconferences on your blog, I’m really wondering if anything similar is offered in my area. I’m very interested in attending one to see exactly how it works and if I think it is something that needs to be offered more in my district/state. Do you know where I can find information about unconferences in my area?

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