“Edcamp changed my life. Happy to help. Rock on. “ ~Daniel Scibienski

As the president prepares to update our nation on critical issues with his State of the Union address, I wanted to provide the Edcamp community with a brief State of the Edcamp address. Thanks to YOUR hard work, Edcampers, the face of professional development for educators is changing. Be proud. (Have no idea what Edcamp is? Learn more here.)

Unbridled growth

If you follow the Edcamp hashtag on Twitter or regularly visit the Edcamp Wiki, then you know that Edcamps have been exploding across the globe. Consider these stats:

  • 2010: 8 Edcamps
  • 2011: 51 Edcamps
  • 2012: 127 Edcamps

In short, Edcamps are growing, and they are growing fast! The Edcamp Wiki has more than 800 members, and hundreds of thousands of tweets have been posted with #edcamp appended to them. Even more Edcamps are projected for 2013!

Adapting to audience needs

Edcamps are adapting to teacher needs. Spinoffs such as Edcamp Social Studies, Edcamp Leadership, and Padcamp have popped up. These events are helping teachers build professional learning communities in a whole new way. Teachers are igniting their passions and sharing their expertise through targeted collaboration.

Talking about more than tech

In the past two years, conversations at Edcamps have grown in sophistication and content. Often, sessions include all kinds of topics in education. The learning that happens at an Edcamp is much broader than tech tools and educational technology. Consider these sessions from recent Edcamp events:

  • Engagement, Respect, and Reciprocity in Public/Private School Partnerships by Chris Thinnes at Edcamp LA 2013 (@curtisCFEE)
  • We Taught 6th Graders Quantum Physics with Dance by Miller Rothlein at Edcamp Philly 2012 (@MiroDance)
  • How to Address Privacy and One’s Digital DNA by Nancy Sharoff and Beth Knittle at Edcamp Boston 2012 (@nsharoff and @bknittle)

Getting kids involved

Edcamp organizers see the value of having kids involved in the Edcamp experience. Not only are students presenting and learning alongside teachers at many Edcamps, but students also are actually running the events in some cases! Tim Bedley recently ran the first Edcamp for students. As part of a blog reflection after the experience, one of Tim’s fourth-grade students said, “If there was more time to Edcamp, then it would probably be the best time of my life.”

Supporting organizers and generous sponsors

Edcamps can’t happen without the amazing people who organize Edcamp events and support the Edcamp movement. Edcamp organizers across the globe have started to connect via social media to refine and expand events. For example, Iowa and Chile both have multisite events coming up this year! And since ANYONE (even you!) can be an Edcamp organizer, the group of organizers is incredibly diverse and brilliant!

Furthermore, generous donors such as Smartbrief and Evernote have helped fund the Edcamp Minigrant Program, which helps ensure that Edcamps remain free and open. Other sponsors, such as Flocabulary and Edutopia, have generously provided free goodies to many Edcamps as well. (Flocabulary even made us our very own rap theme song called “It’s the Edcamp.”)

Edcamp is a group effort and we ALL made it happen.

Moving forward

The Edcamp Foundation is in the process of gaining offical 501(c)3 status, and hopes to innovate lots of ways to help the Edcamp movement grow. But really, the future of Edcamp will be determined by the Edcampers. It’s up to you to determine how Edcamps will grow and flourish. Let’s reclaim PD together.

Inspired to attend an Edcamp? Check the full calendar of events.

Have an Edcamp story to share? Leave it in the comments!

Kristen Swanson (@kristenswanson) is a learner, leader and teacher. She is a consultant for Authentic Education and an Edcamp organizer. Swanson is also a Google Certified Teacher, a Twitter teacher and an Edublog Award nominee.

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