Saturday, July 21, 2012


Many teachers would consider that giving up a Saturday to personal professional learning, in a totally (apparently) disorganised forum such as an UN-conference, would be tantamount to ridiculous torture. But frankly, if you feel like that, you simply have never experienced an Educamp.

Educamp Auckland was awesome! I have followed the Educamps in Dunedin and Christchurch and have wished that I could attend. Amazingly, we had a teacher from Dunedin and one from Wellington who came to Auckland especially for Educamp today, so it certainly shows you how good they are!

So what is the whole concept of an UN-conference?

It's a place for sharing. It's a place to ask questions. It's a place where everyone knows someone and by the end of the day, you feel like you know everyone! It's an opportunity to grow your thinking, push out your own knowledge boundaries and really think about your own personal learning journey and 'where to next'.

Educamp generally begins with a Smackdown where each person who wants to share something has 2 minutes to talk about it - an app, a website, a specific idea that they can't live without! Smackdown runs at a cracking pace for about an hour with little time to draw breath and plenty of tip-tap-type going on as people take notes! The shared google doc allows for a collaboration of ideas to be written down, which means that no-one really has to worry too much about missing something.

It then goes off into breakouts, which are really just a bunch of sticky notes of things people wish to share or ask about. A group kicks off and people move fluidly between each group, staying as long or as little as they deem necessary. There are big groups and small groups, pairs and rooms full of people and there is constant chatter, listening, questioning and sharing. Everyone contributes ideas, no-one really cares who leads, but there is a lot of 'how do you do that?' and 'what have you found most challenging about...?' and so go on raging around you. It is intimate - in the sense that you have real, personalised learning and sharing, yet it is a big enough forum to not feel singled out or as if 'you are the only one' who has questions. There is no question too big, small or ridiculous, everything is relevant to the learning and the journey, so there is generally no time to feel self-conscious or inept!

Where else can you be surrounded by some of the most experienced and ground-breaking colleagues in New Zealand? Where else can you go to have PD at your fingertips, free to a good home (or a good head!) and where else can you meet, collaborate, connect and learn in such a short time?

Best thing since sliced bread.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kimberley, I love it - best thing since sliced bread. I sure must think so to fly up from Dunedin for the day. It sure was great to meet you - I just can't believe I didn't make more time to have a real decent chat and catch up! It all went in a bit of a whirl. I just love the MAGIC of educamps - for me it is all about the people - he tangata, he tangata, he tangata! Looking forward to keeping in touch online and catching up again soon - maybe at Ulearn?