Edcamp Vancouver Island an ‘unconference’

There are no keynote speakers, no expert panelists and no expensive fees.

This conference is different.

There are no keynote speakers, no expert panelists and no expensive fees. Edcamp Vancouver Island is, in fact, an ‘unconference” where the emphasis is on the participants and all the experience and ideas that they bring with them.

The structure of the conference is relaxed, with willing attendees signing up to offer their area of expertise first thing in the morning. In true democratic fashion, from the lists of ideas and facilitators generated, break out sessions are organized where the emphasis is on positive conversations, networking and meaningful community connections.

Attendees are invited to come from all over Vancouver Island (and surrounding areas) and will range from classroom teachers to administrators to coaches to involved parents and school board members.

There will be time for attendees to gather informally to share ideas as well as a variety of sessions for them to attend, run by their colleagues and fellow community members.

The Edcamp model has been tested with great success since May 2010, when the first one was organized in Philadelphia — since then dozens have been called across North America.

The organizers of Edcamp Vancouver Island were inspired by their connections on Twitter. Jaki Braidwood, the initiator of this conference, attended Edcamp Vancouver last Spring.

“The people who were tweeting about Edcamps were educators who have inspired me to reflect on what engaged learning can look like. Their insights, over the last few years, have been invaluable to me, so when they shared their vision of bringing Edcamp to BC, I knew this was something worth attending.

“I left Vancouver so filled with ideas and connections, that enlisting the help of my colleagues to bring one to Vancouver Island became the logical next step.”

All the organizing teachers involved in planning Edcamp Vancouver Island network on Twitter, connecting with like-minded teachers, across Canada and internationally.

Kyle Timms, principal of Courtenay Elementary, and Edcamp Vancouver Island co-organizer, said “Ultimately, everyone forgets the majority of a conference, the best part is the connections and the networking. Twitter allows me to network everyday and Edcamp Vancouver Island is a day to talk and really connect with people who care about education.”

The inaugural Vancouver Island Edcamp will launch on March 2 with a social at the Old House Restaurant. Out-of-town participants will also have a special rate available to them at the Old House Inn and Suites and on Saturday all participants will gather at Queneesh Elementary for a day of relevant and progressive conversations about education.

Interested participants can find information about the democratic and participant driven conference on Facebook and on Twitter (@EdcampVI) and on the website: https://sites.google.com/a/online.sd71.bc.ca/edcampvancouverisland/home (just Google edcamp vancouver island).

As with all Edcamps, Edcamp Vancouver Island is completely free, with all refreshments and other amenities provided solely through sponsorship. With the possibility of up to 300 attendees, the organizers are looking for local businesses who may be interested in being featured in the conference literature.

Planet Kids, Our Big Earth, the Old House Inn and Suites, and Thrifty Foods are already helping. Those interested in being a sponsor can make donations and/or contact the organizers on the website.

— Edcamp Vancouver Island

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