EdCampIowa logoI am delighted to announce EdCampIowa, Iowa’s first cross-state unconference! EdCampIowa West will be hosted by Prairie Lakes AEA at the Buena Vista University Forum in Storm Lake. EdCampIowa East will be hosted by Bettendorf High School. Both locations will run on Saturday, February 16, from 8:30am to 3:30pm. Our hashtag will be #EdCampIowa.

What’s an EdCamp, you say? EdCamps are unlike any other workshop or conference that you’ve probably attended. EdCamp sessions are created by the attendees in the morning. The rest of the day is spent in conversation around the topics identified by participants.

If this sounds strange to you, it’s likely because you’re used to a different model, one in which the agenda and sessions are determined ahead of time. The challenge of traditional workshops or conferences is that you didn’t get to pick the sessions, someone else did. As such, they may or may not meet your learning needs. At an EdCamp, participants, not planners, determine the sessions so they’re much more likely to be targeted, relevant, and timely. ‘Voting with your feet’ also is strongly encouraged, so you can (and should) quickly leave one session for another if it’s not meeting your learning needs. Since all EdCamp sessions are facilitated discussions that tap into the collective wisdom of attendees rather than ‘sit and get’ presentations directed by outside experts, EdCamps always turn out to be incredible, energizing days of conversation.

How do you know if you’re right for EdCampIowa? If these types of questions resonate with you, you’re a prime candidate:

  • What if we didn’t have class periods?
  • How can we help kids think more deeply?
  • Are high school diplomas and university degrees still necessary for credentialing?
  • What is getting in the way of us changing faster?
  • How can preschool and elementary students use digital tools in powerful ways?
  • What if we didn’t ignore that most of the time students are bored?
  • What might school look like if students were in charge of teaching at least 20% of the time?
  • Do we really need grades?
  • How can we better facilitate school-university partnerships?
  • Are tablets or Chromebooks viable 1:1 devices?
  • What has to go in order to make competency-based student progression work?
  • In a multimedia world, what is the future of reading?
  • and many, many more… (see the EdCampIowa web site!)

We hope that you will join us on February 16 for an amazing day of discussion and learning. We promise that you will leave with many great ideas, excited to take action back home! Registration is FREE, lunch will be provided, and we’ll have Internet access for any electronic device that you bring along. Please encourage your students, staff, school board, parents, legislators, and community members to participate too. Everyone is welcome at an EdCamp!

More information is available at www.EdCampIowa.org. Sign up soon. Only 200 slots at each location!

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