Our first edcamp event in this region of Ohio was - and I'll admit some bias - a success. We did not fill up an auditorium with 200 attendees, and no one made any money or signed any speaking deals. We had commercial sponsors with excellent products and services, but I doubt they felt an overwhelming spike of attention in the days following the event. Why was it a success, and who was it a success for?
Your students. Or, at least, the students of the 20 educators who were able to attend. We didn't just have classroom teachers present, though - several principals or building administrators were there also, meaning that their potential impact was even greater.
The reason that those students benefited may seem negligible, but it was real: on Monday morning, I guarantee that they had an enthusiastic and engaged teacher standing to greet them as they walked into the classroom. The benefit of an edcamp is that you leave feeling like there is so much more that you could be doing for your students... but not in the same way that an all-staff meeting or a district workshop makes you feel unprepared or overwhelmed. I've attended too many conferences in my short career as an educator that made me feel like I was light-years behind my peers, but edcamps are different.
And having an engaged teacher is more important than ever before. Earlier in 2015, a Gallup poll reported that only 30% of teachers in the United States felt "actively engaged":
"Gallup defines an engaged teacher as one who is 'involved with, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work.' By contrast, unengaged teachers are merely satisfied with their jobs and are less likely to look for opportunities for growth or to feel 'emotionally connected' to their work."
By giving everyone a chance to share their own successes, struggles, and ideas, edcamp helps to re-energize teachers. We look forward to being able to provide that same kind of "recharge" in the future, and hope that more teachers - and therefore, more students - benefit from that energy.
If you weren't able to attend, you can read notes from our sessions online, including dozens of links to websites, apps, or books to help you with your planning and instruction.