Americans love bad news. Our fascination with the negative seems more evident than ever nowadays. Consider these recent headlines from across the country:
“Sacramento area school districts send out 1,200 final teacher layoff notices” – Sacramento Bee (CA)
“Education budget cuts 30 percent deeper than expected” – WTSP.com (FL)
“Mayor Stands Firm on Teacher Layoffs” – The Wall Street Journal (NY)
“Michigan House approves cuts in funding for education” – Lansing State Journal (MI)
“Teacher layoffs bill passes Pa. Senate” – Business Week (PA)
Looks like the educational version of that old TV news axiom, “if it bleeds, it leads.”
What would motivate hundreds (across the country, literally thousands) of educators to gather (on their own time, and at their own expense) to spend the day sharing, learning & perfecting their craft?
Just ask the participants.
I know what you are probably thinking, Mainstream Media.
Among other things … edcamp participants represent a tiny fraction of the total number of teachers in a given state. How can edcamps possibly have an impact on educational practice across a school or district? Can the movement scale?
Well, consider this: in just one year, almost 30 edcamps have sprung up across the country (and Canada, too.) Each edcamp experience generates more events. (Across the pond, Teachmeets have been going strong since they began in Scotland in 2005.) Have edcamps gone viral? It seems too early to tell, but covering this story now means you’re getting in on the ground floor, helping spread the message to educational leaders who make decisions about district professional development every day.
While we’re on that subject, consider “Rethinking Teacher Professional Development,” written by teacher leader and author William Ferriter. He does a terrific job explaining the power and appeal of edcamps – in addition to the struggles they face in terms of widespread adoption within our districts. His five suggestions to “make sure that the adult learning in your school and/or district becomes more personal, social and voluntary” are a great starting point for conversation. Imagine the power of amplifying that conversation nationally and beyond. (There’s hope. This writer for The Washington Post gets it.)
So, what’s it gonna be? More of the same-old, same-old? Or might you risk some time and effort to help get the word out about the edcamp movement?
Thanks for your time. Who knows, maybe we’ll see you on Saturday, May 21st at the University of Pennsylvania, for edcamp Philly.
Unless you have other more newsworthy things to cover that day.