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Professional Learning

5-Minute Film Festival: Taking Back PD with Edcamp

Want to learn more about the Edcamp movement? This video collection will help you get started and involved in DIY professional development. 

April 8, 2016
Photo credit: Kevin Jarrett via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

If you're not familiar with the Edcamp movement, you should be! Edcamp is a teacher-organized grassroots effort to re-imagine educator professional development, born out of a desire to make it more valuable, more educator-centered, and more democratic. While the movement has grown tremendously since it started in Philly in 2010 (even earning a two-million-dollar grant from Gates in 2015), it has stayed true to its homegrown roots -- putting teachers first and creating a space for DIY professional development. Full disclosure: Edutopia has been a friend and sponsor of Edcamps around the country for many years, so you may see Edutopia goodies or familiar faces of Edutopia staff in some of the videos in the playlist below.

Video Playlist: Edcamp -- Taking Back Professional Development

Watch the first video below, or watch the whole playlist on YouTube.

  1. EdCamp 101 (2:31)

    If you only have two and a half minutes to spare, and you want to understand what Edcamp is all about, start with this great whiteboard animation.

  2. TEDxPhiladelphiaED - Kristen Swanson - EdCamp (16:22)

    Part origin story, part rallying cry, this TEDx talk by Edcamp co-founder Kristen Swanson is a great way to hear how it all began. The video she plays as part of her presentation can be found right here.

  3. Edcamp STEAM as featured on Classroom Close-up, NJ (5:33)

    This segment from Classroom Close-up, an educational show in New Jersey, practically makes you feel like you're attending a themed Edcamp focused on STEAM learning.

  4. UNCONFERENCE 101 -- NORMS & TIPS (2:49)

    Ready to participate? While this wasn't created specifically for Edcamp, it's an excellent primer, produced by the Sunlight Foundation, with tips to help you maximize any unconference experience.

  5. The Epic EdCamp Lip Dub (1:19)

    This enthusiastic lip dub, put together by always-#EduAwesome Bill Selak -- and set to the official Edcamp song by the educational hip-hop collective Flocabulary -- is sure to make you smile.

  6. EdCamp at the US Department of Education (1:10)

    Given the anti-establishment roots of Edcamp, it's fantastic that they've been so successful in garnering support that even the Department of Education is holding them -- while staying true to the model. I wonder what sessions Arne suggested?

  7. How to Run an Edcamp (2:37)

    An early-days mobile phone video made for organizers that's charmingly low-fi, but offers a few good tips from original Edcampers Kevin Jarrett and Mary Beth Hertz, among others, in just a few minutes.

  8. Edcamp Foundation Video (3:33)

    And what a long way they have come in just a few years -- here's the latest official Edcamp video, now that they are a full-fledged foundation. Meet executive director Hadley Ferguson and hear testimonials from dozens of attendees.

  9. I'm Ruining Professional Development. Want to Help? (7:51)

    Even though much of this presentation overlaps with Kristen Swanson's TEDx talk above, and the same Flocabulary song is featured, I couldn't resist including this wonderfully-named talk by Dan Callahan, who frames the whole conversation so nicely.

More Resources About Edcamp

Hopefully you're fired up to attend (or even organize!) an Edcamp in your hometown. If so, start with the Edcamp website, where a Participate page, an Organize page, and a Learn More page will get you going. Here on Edutopia, we published an organizer guide a few years ago that is also filled with resources. Then, check out the links below for additional information -- including one series of blog posts from a teacher who decided to let his eigth-graders run their own Edcamp. Hope this has inspired you to start connecting and learning!

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