When I stopped in to the Professional Learning department of my district office to turn in my reports about my ISTE preparatory class I had some questions. I am interested in holding a regional EdCamp for the northeast Georgia region and wondered how I might offer Professional Learning Units (PLUs) to the participants. I received my answer that they would have to do something worth approximately 2 (or however many to equal 10) hours after the EdCamp session and that our district would only validate district employee PLUs.
When I left I knew I could do it, but it was low on my priority list as I would need to jumpstart it and the part I was most stuck on was finding an attorney to draw up the papers for us. Plus I had a million things to do. Plus, well you know the feeling.
October 31 one of the professional learning specialists pitched the idea of us hosting an EdCamp opposite her grade leveled Instructional Fair for district elementary teachers. I was pretty excited; we really don’t get asked to help out with these types of things. The date wasn’t the best and we later found that she had already engaged teachers to present at her established sessions, but we were pumped to help introduce the idea to the teachers.
December 5 she added EdCamp to a sign up program as an alternative to her Instructional Fair on the day teachers return from the holiday break. We expected to see those who signed up for the EdCamp offering! But we could also see the presenters she had enlisted for her offerings. As we looked through her agendas, there were a great many people we would have liked to participate in our event.
I made final edits to a doc she wanted to share about EdCamp December 8 and the document was emailed to all elementary teachers December 12. We found out about it from another elementary teacher and were able to see the advertisement sent to teachers, but found it not comparable to the main offering since it required advanced commitment.
As of December 19, last day with students, there were 20 people signed up. By quick overview, not all on the roll might be be successful as EdCamp participants. My workgroup has no desire to give EdCamp a bad name with anyone. We had capped at 200, but said 50 was a minimum amount of participants. We sent an email to the learning specialist and told her we would like to cancel at the end of the day on the last workday for teachers, Dec 22. She countered with maybe we leave it open over break.
I have no idea how this will play out, but I already have some suggestions for improvement the next time we try this:
- All offered professional learning should require sign-up
- Relying on folks to sign-up over the Christmas/New Years Holiday is not a reliable plan
- Presenters should not be picked for one offering before the alternative is presented
These are oversights of someone who has not yet experienced the power of an EdCamp. I do not think these were not anything less than an honest mistake, but I do worry that when we cancel we may not get the opportunity to present this format inside the district again.
I gather that a reminder email was sent out earlier today. I am not sure what I hope for, but I am determined to remain hopeful.