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Edcamps are disrupting traditional PD with participant-driven, collaborative conversations by teachers, for teachers


Marker Philadelphia, United States
Edcamps are free and open to anyone, organized by volunteers, usually full-time teachers. The sessions are decided on the day by those who are participating, making each one an expression of the needs and passions of those attending. The magic of Edcamp comes from the power of teachers collaborating and learning together through conversations, rather than standard “sit and get” presentations.

Participant-Driven Professional Development

“Edcamps are changing the experience that teachers around the world are having of professional development, empowering them and respecting the expertise that they have.”

Hadley Ferguson, Executive Director, Edcamp Foundation

Developing strong, energized teachers and keeping them in schools is critical to ensuring great learning experiences for students. We believe that teacher-to-teacher learning is not only an effective way to improve practice in the classroom, but is a crucial strategy to develop teacher leaders, increase teacher satisfaction, and build teachers’ professional networks. Our participant-driven, collaborative model and organically-growing community of teachers are an important alternative and supplement to traditional professional development offerings. the Edcamp movement has spread to 33 countries around the world with over 2,500 Edcamps having been held since 2010. 

All Edcamps follow several key tenets:

  • Participant-driven: Sessions are determined the morning of the event through suggestions on a blank session board. This produces conversations that are interactive and responsive to participants’ interests and needs. 
  • Free to all attendees. This helps ensure that different types of teachers and educational stakeholders can attend. 
  • Experience, not Experts. We know teachers want to learn from someone who understands their experience and can discuss the reality of implementing new ideas in their work. Edcamps treat teachers and other education stakeholders as the professionals they are, worthy of sharing their expertise in a collaborative setting. 
  • Reliant on the Rule of Two Feet. Participants are encouraged to actively self-select the best content and sessions and to leave sessions that do not meet their needs. 

The end result of an Edcamp event is engaged, empowered, and prepared teachers who adopt effective methods in their classrooms and become leaders and change agents in their schools.

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Intended Outcomes
1 - 18
Age Group
Resources Needed
The wonder of Edcamp is that it needs practically no resources., just space for conversations. Arrange the chairs in a circle to facilitate everyone having a voice and avoid the sense that one person is in change. The sessions are built by collecting the topics from those who attend and then posting ideas on a whiteboard or using Post-It notes. Everyone's interests and concerns are encouraged. It is always nice to have coffee and refreshments, but the focus in on the conversations.

See this innovation in action.

Edcamps: The ‘Unconferences,’ Where Teachers Teach Themselves
Edcamp Foundation Video


Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

Host an Edcamp
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Build an organizing team
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Order the Coffee!
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Build the Session Board
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Celebrate the Learning
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Connect with the innovator

Hadley J Ferguson
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