November 2015

Flipping Teachers with Conversation, Choice and Voice by Laura Gilchrist

Kevin Honeycutt was the guest speaker at our convocation this past August. He spoke eloquently about the power of teachers--in one day, in one small moment in time—to ‘Flip a Kid’ and turn them into believers in themselves and their genius! This comment resonated strongly with all staff in my district. A big reason we all went into education was to flip and inspire kids.


Edcamps change the way you think about teaching

Edcamps have power to flip teachers, who, by the way, are then ignited to inspire and flip more kids!

How do I know this? Edcamp Omaha flipped me in 2012 and I’ve been supporting and organizing edcamps ever since. I see the good edcamps do for teachers, kids, and communities. I went up to Edcamp Omaha in 2012 by myself, not knowing anyone, after Kyle Pace told me I should go to an upcoming edcamp. I listened to him but I questioned myself a couple times on the way to the tweetup the night before. “What are you thinking? You know no one!” I’ll never forget the drive back from Omaha to KC. I thought my brain was going to explode with possibilities and ideas. I was smiling big. It was exhilarating!


Do teachers need to be flipped? 

Yes. Teachers need to be flipped back to the growth-mindset, excited and innovative learning state they had before adapting to stagnant school culture, traditional ‘sit and git’ PD, and tight school schedules with little to no collaboration time. Teachers go into teaching because they are lifelong learners who believe in kids. Traditional PD, with its lack of choice and teacher voice, shuts down the collaborative nature and artistic/inspiring aspect of student-centered teaching. I see the HUGE smiles, the excitement, and the release of potential and happiness as teachers leave an edcamp. I see the newfound hope shining outward from their tweets and blog posts. Once the fire is lit, teachers take this enthusiasm back to their kids, as well as the new ideas, pedagogies, and possibilities. 


How do Edcamps flip teachers?

Edcamps flip teachers via choice, voice, and conversation/collaboration. Edcamps are all about face-to-face ‘collisions’--the most powerful form of learning. The relationships formed at an edcamp are then nurtured via social media. The thing that really did it for me at my first edcamp was the freedom to ‘Go Where I Grow,’ also called the ‘Law of 2 Feet.’ I could go to any classroom I wanted to during a session and it would be ok to leave for another—and facilitators will not be offended. I was so excited about this—just being able to go where I wanted to go and learn in my own way. I was also floored at the powerful learning that happened in the halls and in rooms via simple conversations with individuals and groups. An edcamp day really is about you as a professional educator learner. 


Teacher-centered Professional Learning must be a top priority in schools and districts. 

Teacher learning is just as important as student learning, and is a missing piece of the puzzle for many schools trying to turn things around. Principals should be expected to incorporate teacher-centered, choice/voice professional learning for teachers. Inspired teachers inspire kids.


Edcamps have the power to flip SCHOOLS. 

It’s true! The edcamp model can be adapted and brought into your school as one type of choice-based, teacher-centered professional learning. It requires no money and grows teacher leaders. Edcamps have the power to unite teachers, parents, and students into a big learning community via conversation, voice, and choice. There are edcamps, student camps and even parent camps, as well as hybrids. Edcamps can shift climate and then the culture of learning in a school. I’ve witnessed the flip, the shift in energy and empowerment in both the schools I’ve started edcamps in. 


Edcamp Foundation 

I give monthly to Edcamp Foundation because Edcamps changed my professional life. I can’t fathom who I was before edcamps. I never knew I cared so much about education beyond my classroom until edcamps. I’ve been to over 17 edcamps since 2012, my first one being Edcamp Omaha. I met the following people at Edcamp Omaha 2012 who still impact me today: Kristina Peters, Josh Allen, Anthony Purcell, Christine Ruder, Brent Catlett, Eliu Paopao, Toby Brown, Matt Gomez, Michelle Baldwin, Craig Badura, Barb Gilman, and more. I am on the organizing teams for EdcampKC and Edcamp Leadership KC. I’ve also planned and launched edcamp PD at two schools and coached educators to start edcamps at their own schools. I am forever grateful to you, every edcamp attendee and organizer, for nurturing educators and growing positivity in education with your presence and passion. I am thankful to Edcamp Foundation for providing support and vision for educator professional learning in the present and boldly into the future! 


By Laura Gilchrist, Instructional Coach Turner High School






#Edcamp5Challenge by Adam Bellow

In 2008 my wife and I were expecting twins. They were due in late December but, unexpectedly, my wife had a medical emergency and they were delivered in August. Sadly, our little girl only lived for three days. Our son spent 3 months in the NICU, and although there have been bumps along the road, he is now an incredible 7-year-old boy. Our world was changed forever that night, but we always look back on the experience with gratitude for the doctors and nurses that saved his life. The March of Dimes is an organization that we had no knowledge of before the babies arrived, but it is now one that we are so grateful for. To show small gratitude for the organization, we help to fundraise and make personal donations every year. It is a way of giving back, saying 'thank you', and ensuring that the help we received years ago will be there for other families when they need it.

So, what does that have to do with EdCamp? I am proud to be a donor to the EdCamp Foundation for very much the same reason as I try to support the March of Dimes. I know the value that EdCamp has and I am certain that it has saved the career of many talented educators by helping them find a supportive community. As a participant in many EdCamps, I know the value the event has in helping to move ideas into conversations and ultimately into actions that will enhance the education of so many students whose teachers come together to learn and share at their local EdCamp events. The organic growth of EdCamp over the past several years is a testament to both the people who helped to create the very first experiences, but even more so to the real need for these professional learning events that truly are meeting the needs of the participants. EdCamp has refined the unconference model and has become a powerful movement for positive change in education.

Several years ago, when EdCamps began to spread beyond where they began in Philly,I started attending a good number of the events. As anyone who has gone to an EdCamp can attest to, the organizers put in a lot of time and energy ensuring that they create a great experience for the EdCampers. Convinced by their power and moved by how many educators really were connecting and sharing their ideas, challenges, and proposed actionable solutions, I began to support a number of individual EdCamps around the world with small donations to help cover some of the event costs such as coffee or insurance, or whatever the organizers needed. I even had the opportunity to create the logos for a few events. 

The EdCamp Foundation is committed to empowering educators the same way that they were so many years ago back in Philly where it all began. It is my absolute honor to serve the EdCamp Foundation as a Board Member and I am proud to make a monthly donation to the organization that has, and will continue, to help connect more educators and revitalize their professional learning to positively impact their schools and classrooms around the world. I donate to say thank you for all that this organization has done and in a small way to help move them forward to do even more for other educators around the world.

Be ready for #GivingTuesday.Click the Donate button below! 


What an amazing 5 years it has been, since the first Edcamp! It is hard to imagine a world without Edcamps to attend! Let’s show the world just how wide the influence has been.

We are kicking off a campaign for #GivingTuesday, which is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving! December, 1st! It follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday and is a time to pause and give back. We want to have everyone who has ever been to an Edcamp to donate $5, that’s all, to show the world how many educators have been touched by Edcamp.

$5 for Edcamp Year 5; #IsupportEdcamp5,  #Edcamp5Challenge

So mark the date: Dec.1, 2015, and make a donation! Of course, if you want to do it ahead of time or afterwards until the end of 2015, that’s fine too. And after you have made your donation, contact your Edcamp friends and encourage them to donate as well.

It is a quick and easy process. All it takes is going to the bottom of this page, and clicking on the Donate button. Remember that we are a non-profit, so any money donated to the Edcamp Foundation is fully tax-deductible. 

We have “I support Edcamp 5” stickers, just like the image below, for everyone who makes a donation before the end of 2015, so you can proudly show the world that you are one of the people who support our work. 

So donate now or wait until #GivingTuesday, but make sure you show the #Edcamp love.

Share the news with some sample tweets:

Calling all #Edcampers! Join #Edcamp5Challenge on 12/1 #GivingTuesday Donate $5. 

Get Ready, #Edcamp! #GivingTuesday, 12/1! Make donation, no matter what size, to show the world our reach!