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Celebrating edcamp, libcamp, unconference

For me, it’s been an unconferency kinda week–a celebration of the informal, participant-driven learning experiences that have made huge impact on professional learning culture.

1. On Monday, I was honored to be invited to attend a little 5th birthday party featuring an extraordinary present.  The EdCamp Foundation announced the gift of a $2 million dollar, no strings attached, Bill and Melinda Gates grant.  It was especially exciting for me because I was there at the birth of the powerful (now international) movement at EdCamp Philly 2010. The little video above is a blast from that past.  Oh my, how that beautiful baby has grown!

Philadelphia Inquirer article noted the appropriateness of the grant:

EdCamp’s work is clearly in Gates’ wheelhouse: A recent foundation report found that the $18 billion schools are spending annually on professional development “is simply not working.” Research shows that the most meaningful training for educators is collaborative.

Philadelphia School District Superintendent, Dr. William Hite shared congratulations to “EdCamp for being a significant model for teacher growth.  It is not about how smart we become.  It’s really about how smart we can make each other.”

At the event, EdCamp founder Kristin Swanson and executive director Hadley Ferguson described possibilities for growth and support of the EdCamp model and EdCampers.  Among the ideas were the hosting of regional organizer summits to discussion challenges and best prac20151100894_586b99566c_mtice, funding for EdCamp in a box, and discovery grants for teachers who attend an EdCamp and want to implement a new idea that inspires them.  The first group of those discovery grants were distributed at the Monday celebration.

2. Yesterday, I hosted the first #libcampRU at Rutgers’ Alexander Library. Attracting all types of librarians from around New Jersey, the event was a wonderfully refreshing professional development opportunity and I am grateful that our students jumped right in to lead the fun.

3. The planning is well underway for our second ever #AASLunConf!  Our first national unconference at Hartford was a highlight of my entire conference career. It set the stage for rich new friendships and collaborations that occurred over the past two years.

If you are planning to join the learning and sharing at  AASL National Conference Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 8.43.17 AMin Columbus, please don’t miss our crowd-sourced late night event. (Here’s the poster.)  We’re scheduled for Friday night, November 6th at the Hyatt Regency Columbus
Union Ballroom, from 9:00 PM till 12:00 AM.

It’s been two years.  Just think of all the new ideas we might explore!  This year we’re adding the option of incubation conversations to the sticky note prompts.

It is not too early to begin adding slides to our fast paced Smackdown.

And, after the Smackdown, we are adding even more late night fun.  From 11:00PM till midnight,  join us for TL Quizzo! Join a team, bring refreshments, and compete for prizes while demonstrating your deep knowledge of school librarianship!

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


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