Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

February 7, 2011

Are Edcamps & TeachMeets viable alternatives to professional development

#Edchat 01-02–2011 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST

We are thrilled to have our summary provided this week by Joe Jacquot @WackJacq who is no stranger to PD. He has caught the enthusiasm for edcamps and teachmeets very well and I’m sure you will find the summary both enjoyable and informative. For Joe’s bio see the end of the post.

Here are some of the main themes from the discussion:

  •  #edchat educators compared the ways in which Edcamps and Teachmeets differ from than traditional professional development.
  •  Many teachers agreed that the newer formats are more effective.
  •  Although admittedly not an exclusive list, most of the participants supported the idea of using elements of Edcamps and Teachmeets in PD:
  •  for educators who are interested in creative ways to meet the needs of their students. (@Marama)
  •  for more environments for collaboration (@tomwhitby)
  •  for collaboration and learning in mind, not pushing agenda (@ktenkely)
  •  for time and resources to focus on teaching and learning during the school day (@ian23505)
  •  for educators to connect , socialize & collaborate (@ShanaAtDS)
  •  for control over their own learning (@L_Hilt:)(@stumpteacher)
  •  for face to face interaction (@web20classroom)
  •  for passion — driven to be what you need it to be (@justintarte)
 Here is a selection of some of the comments: 

 With such a vibrant discussion, it’s almost impossible to do it justice in a summary, but I’ve picked out some of the comments that caught my eye.

@2footgiraffe: PD should not be a, “let’s all sit here for 6 hours and listen to someone.” Let people choose.

@aaronmueller: Edcamp can help create relationships and PLN that extends past the event, helping throughout entire career! #edchat #mentoring

@andycinek: The edu conference model needs to stop being a fraternity of common voices.

@becky7274:  How will we ever get kids to see mistakes as a way to grow if teachers refuse to take risks and make mistakes themselves? #edchat

@bhsprincipal: I have said it before that #edcamp is a signal from teachers that they can do PD better on their own.

@bjnichols: PD is useful when it is job-embedded, differentiated, connected, and followed-up on. #edchat

@blairteach: TeachMeet is an event planned & produced by participants to share & collaborate on topics they decide upon.

@cmcgee200: As an aspiring administrator, my number one goal will be allowing teachers to fail, and celebrating their risk.

@cybraryman1: Experience an edcamp/TeachMeet & you will see how great they are for sharing, collaborating and re-energizing yourselves

@davidwees: Traditional PD = I share. Edcamp = We share.

@ellclassroom:  I think advertising is a key component of getting more educators on board. Most I talk to have no idea what I’m talking about

@fliegs: I agree. Admin has to build collab time into the schedule if tchrs are going to get anywhere. #edchat

@geraldaungst: andycinek The “purposeful” part is important. Autonomy is not automatically relevant.

@hadleyjf: We need times for new ideas and then times when we get together and plan! Create a new curriculum – a week at a time!

JoAnnJ68: We are indeed all learners & the more we share the stronger ties we develop which results in better collaboration & teaching #edchat

jrichardson30: Radicals is what we are here! RT @shyj: Roots are so deep, need some “tornado like” educators to uproot and get things rolling

@justintarte: I love @cmcgee200 ‘s point…edcamps/teachmeets are like using Twitter – everyday you use Twitter U R attending an edcamp/teachmeet #edchat

@justwonderinY: @blairteach I think it’s more about Leade rshipMeets, doesn’t really matter if admin or teacher. Goals should be same? #edchat

@ktenkely: @wmchamberlain Yes! We need opportunities for in-depth collaborating and learning. #immersivePD #edchat #unpd

@KTVee: live in a world where I can learn more at home on a snow day from twitter than at some expensive conferences. $ does not = quality #edchat

@L_Hilt: We really need to include admin. Otherwise how can they plan these types of experiences for their teachers? #edchat

@lisalearner: great intro to #edcamp and unconferences article for those who want a little background http://bit.ly/bb0Eu2 #edchat

@malcolmbellamy: There’s no pay, it’s after school and everyone is enthusiastic…it sums it up #edchat

@shyj:  @Mrskmpeters Exactly! And in 21st c, there are so many ways that knowledge is available and learning never has to stop. #edchat

@michellek107: We have so many ppl in our own buildings that could share & are not experts, but have smthng worth sharing #edchat

I would ask that the following question is added to the poll next week:

If “Schools Kill Creativity,” what can we teachers do to help reverse or mitigate this apparent side effect?

To follow the complete discussion see here 

For the stats on #edchat participation see here 

As ever, there were some great links shared:

davidwees: See this article for a description of an #edcamp. Why teacher run professional development? http://is.gd/hHUJtP #edcampvan #edchat

ChrisVacek:  New Post: Do You Want a SpEdCamp? http://bit.ly/hdgel3  Please Comment & RT! #edchat

cybraryman1:  RT @cybraryman1: Example of chart of sessions at recent #TMGA11 http://yfrog.com/h8bhakj

lisalearner:  @unhmba @KTVee many diff formats, but main point is it’s free and attendees do the presenting–see this article http://bit.ly/bb0Eu2

cybraryman1:  My EdCamp/TeachMeet page (with calendar of upcoming ones): http://bit.ly/dg1Jsk  #edchat eg: Feb 5 – TeachMeet East 2 (Norwich, UK)

lisalearner: This TeachMeet followed a speed-dating model to share ideas–great way to see variety of teaching models! http://bit.ly/548OEH

cybraryman1:  #tmeast #ntcamp2011 #TMNJ #edcampOmaha #edcampVancouver #edcampbham #edcampBoston #edcampPlano http://bit.ly/dg1Jsk

geraldaungst:  @KTVee Basically, yes. See here: http://bit.ly/gcztOw #edcamp #edchat

geraldaungst: A brand new wiki for sharing unconventional PD ideas like today’s #edchat topic: http://unpd.pbworks.com. Join and contribute! #unpd

cybraryman1: Try a Smackdown (http://bit.ly/dWTawr) at a faculty conference to get them in the mood for edcamp/TeachMeet #edchat

ToddAHoffman: How mentoring is helping one district retain science teachers http://sbne.ws/r/6EhZ  #edtech #edchat

andycinek: i’m in contact with edu departments & preservice programs to bring in new teachers for #ntcamp http://bit.ly/c2Pr95  #edchat

EdCampOmaha:  Great #EdCamp conversation during #edchat today. Speaking of which, sign up to join us March 26th! http://t.co/VjWMasB

web20education: New #edtech20 post #ntchat #edchat #lrnchat , Worldwide educators you are invited to join my… http://goo.gl/fb/okYw2

trbaker: Five Great TED Talks for Educators http://ow.ly/3OcEA  #edchat #education #geo #scichat #edchat

L_Hilt: Yeah. Here it is. Then @phsprincipal & I got busy w/ unexpected new jobs & such over summer. http://j.mp/gLsd1s  #edchat #leadcamp

stevejmoore:  Witchita, KS. I’d go. http://bit.ly/hdgel3  #edcamp #edchat

WackJacq:  WOW- via @theschlechtycenter: http://bit.ly/3CreF  Watch the video. Working on the WORK is about creating work kids want to do. #edchat

stumpteacher:  @shyj @blairteach Kids learn more when you give up control…http://bit.ly/fJRxcu

WackJacq:  @surreallyno @ShellTerrell: Working on the Work http://amzn.to/fbcfo4 -His seminal book. He has many other now. Worth a read. #edchat

andycinek: NEW RULES: #ntcamp 2011: Find three new voices in your building and bring them to #ntcamp or an #edcamp #edchat http://bit.ly/c2Pr95

cybraryman1:  Hope to see y’all at #edcampbham See my Calendar: http://bit.ly/atUkDb #edchat

2footgiraffe: #edchat speaking of Teachmeets and educons – here is the participant form for TeachMeet TN/Memphis/Nashville http://bit.ly/eJ4Fk4

andycinek:  Good #edchat must be on my way, but please introduce a new voice to #ntcamp Burlington or Philly this year http://bit.ly/c2Pr95

davidwees:  Thanks all. Participate in your local #edcamp! See this page for details & some dates. http://is.gd/LpKV6G#edchat #unconference

I am a currently teaching Humanities and Latin to American high school students. Lately I have been blogging about my ideas on education, and my experiences acting on those ideas in the classroom. Current topics I am interested in are: classroom2.0, using free technology in the classroom to make learning more personalized and authentic. At the moment I am focusing on Schlechty, PBL, and the vodcasting and mastery learning approach begun by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams in Colorado.

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 400 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat. 

What do you think? Leave a comment!


August 12, 2010

Creating a teacher workshop

The idea of  deepening and expanding learning by living and studying together is something which has underpinned education for many years and can be seen in many different cultures. The UK boarding school and university systems were created under this principle and many other educational systems through time have seen the value of this shared way of life. With this in mind,  I set out to create a teacher development workshop for a small group of practising teachers.   

The workshops would last for a week, bring together 6 teachers to explore, share and learn. I created a rudimentary timetable which I hoped would give us a basis from which to begin our short, learning journey but which would be broad enough to allow us to travel in any direction we desired during the week.   

I also wanted to have a focus away from, yet related to English language teaching which could help to develop our own personal language and  have local flavour. I chose the Bronte novels. I grew up very near Bronte country and had always enjoyed both the place and the novels. They are universally known, great stories to read and discuss and we could also look at the place of literature in the English language classroom. We would read/re-read our favourites before the workshop, discuss them, visit Howarth, take the walk in the surrounding moors and then watch the films in the evenings.   

The land of the Brontes

Everything was in place and now the only thing was to see who (if anybody) might be interested in such an experience! I have to admit to a lack of research on the matter and I went ahead feeling that as this was something I would love to do then there may be others who would too!   

Fortunately I was right and in June I had my group. Three were teachers from my twitter PLN (Eva, Culya and Alex) and two I knew personally (Blanca and Merces). I was thrilled and very excited about bringing all of these teachers together. In the end Merces wasn’t able to join us but the others were intrepid even though the trip to Yorkshire required a train journey from London!   


 On Sunday evening August 1st we were finally together!   

Hard at work!

For the rest of the week we shared experiences, ideas, knowledge, camaraderie and food.   

We looked at grammar and skills and explored ways of moving all of these online using an amazing array of tools shown to us by Alex and Eva. We explored humour, some weird and wonderful vocabulary, quirky ideas for class activities and of course those brooding Bronte novels.   

On the first night I realised that my DVD purchase of  Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tennant of Wildfell Hall was not, as I had though three films but the BBC series comprising over 10 hours of footage!! Undaunted we decided to give it a whirl and set out to watch all of the episodes through the week. It was a bit of a race to the end but we managed it staying up until midnight each evening ploughing through each story.   

The advantage of the BBC series was that we were presented with more of the story and particularly with Wuthering Heights, which we all hated, we saw more of the dark truth behind the novels than we would have done with a shorter film version. It turned out to be a very intense and emotional engagement with the stories.   


At Home with the Brontes

The Bronte walk (which was longer than anticipated) gave us a good feel for the place and we were delighted by their house yet saddened by their plight.   

Bronte Bridge and Waterfall

There were unexpected bonuses too! We had Spanish peppers and Turkish shepherd’s salad for lunch. Turkish coffee and Turkish delight during our shared edchat session, a delightful Madeira wine for aperitif and of course, afternoon tea! We were even invited to a local organic farm for a tour and to sample Yorkshire specialities.   

Alex the Horse Whisperer

Alex fell in love with our sheepdog Maguire and took him off for walks (although at times it was not certain who was taking whom!) Our other little dog, Duffy, who is less of a handful, trotted along with the others as they explored the local countryside.   


It was a unique experience and I hope everyone agrees. To hear an account straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, see Eva’s beautiful piece ‘Far Far Away From The Madding Crowd‘ and  Teacher Workshops. Alex’s fantastic account Amazing Stories of Sharing  and Culya’s lovely summary of the experience The Adventure of my Life. Eva made a Glogster too!

A Visit to a pub - naturally!

For me it was a rich and rewarding experience and it proved a point:  

 if you take a group of dedicated and committed  teachers and place them around a table real or virtual, they will grow and learn together.

 English language students can come and stay with me for immersion courses all year round – one to one or in groups of up to 4 people (come with colleagues or friends).  Our next Teacher Workshop  is scheduled for January.

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