The idea is nice: Everyone involved is involved in their own professional development: they set the agenda, they set the criteria for learning and they essnetially run everything.
For those not familiar with Ed Camps, they are essentjally this: A conference with a loose theme like “Education Technology” where the the participants create the agenda the day of the conference and present the attendees. When they work, they work very well:
Pileiro waxes poetic about his own experiences at Ed Camps and tries to let the reader imagine what it would be like if all PD followed that particular model:
Just imagine a day where the staff walks into the school cafeteria or auditorium, with a blank schedule in hand, and are asked to create a PD day that they control. I think that the thought of this makes many administrators cringe in fear. But, as professionals we have a lot to share and sharing is what it’s all about. Remember, collaboration is a twenty first century skill!
It would be cool if all staff development could be done that way. But what Pileiro forgets, I think, is that the people at Ed Camps are, for the most part, already motivated to be there, motivated to share, motivated to collaborate and learn. In other words, the Ed Camp people are the choir. They are already in church. How do you get the unmotivated to attend?
I suspect that Pileiro would say that if you just made all staff development that way, then everyone would be motivated. But a lot of staff development that I have seen is information giving, often new information that no one other than a presenter has seen. A new teaching technique for instance, or a guest speaker. How would you, for instance, do an Ed Camp that teachers a specific teaching technique if no one has ever seen that except the guest speaker?
While I like the idea of having an Ed Camp-like staff development, this is something that is so far removed form MOST teachers professional development experiences, it will require a bit of time to acclimate them to moving to this model.
THAT would be an interesting blog entry: How to get teachers to move to the Ed Camp model. How would you do it?