Attended an edCamp and want to run one yourself? Yes, you can! I thought that I would share some ideas and tools that helped our team co-organize edCamp Orange this past winter! Know this for sure...You can't do it alone! Give yourself at least four-six months out to plan, organize, and advertise with a team of 2-6 people. You need people with all types of talents. They just need to be willing to donate the time! (If you have no idea what an edCamp is, check out my post earlier this year edCamp edspiration!)
1. Location! Location! Location! Find a location! One that is big enough to grow in case your camp does. Your school site is best! It can be readily available and affordable, most often free. Be sure to check to see if you need some type of insurance. You will need a large meeting room to convene in the am, at lunch, and at the end of the day. You will need classrooms. It helps if they are tech enhanced with a projector and computer, but that isn't a necessity.
2. Be Smart about Choosing a Date! Honestly people go away for three day weekends! We are pooped at the end of a marking period. We deliberately tagged our event at the end of a tech conference, but you want to be sure that there are no looming holidays and people are fresh. I suggest 1-2 weeks in from the beginning of a grading period. The beginning of the school year is hard and rushed for many people.
2. Amplify with Tech Tools: Start with the wonderful resources at The edCamp Foundation. . I actually got to phone conference with Kristie Swanson the founder. She said the key is that you have a place and time to meet and to not worry about the frills. Next steps use google. Also you can check out the edCamp Wikispaces. Create an event email and use google drive to share documents to co-create with your committee and check over letters sent out and to keep track of what's going on and who is doing what. Google Hangouts is also an amazing tool to plan virtually rather than face to face. Use eventbrite as a tool for registration. Later you will find this handy to communicate to your participants, help them sign-in, and create name badges. It is free and easy to learn. Even if it is a paid event, you will be able to use this tool.
3. People-Power; You need a crew for set-up the day before. You need a crew for morning sign-in and room check. You need someone(s) available all day in the main room. Tasks like checking in late arrivals, picking up garbage, setting up food, breaking down food, or just answering questions, or being a host to people who take a break for sessions are reasons that the main room should be manned. It should be manned in a way that each organizer\volunteer gets to enjoy or present sessions. You need a crew to stay after and clean up. You need a crew the day or days after to return items to their proper places, especially if you are at a school site.
4. Food\Beverage Power: Do you need it? No! Is it nice to have? Yes! Food and beverages aren't a must, but it is nice to linger over lunch and continue the learning. At the very least a coffee service in the am is nice. Even athletic coolers filled with water and ice are nice! At the edCamp I attended and the edCamp I co-organized lunch was provided for teachers. It was quite simply pizza and a salad. You just need to let people know...should they brown bag it?
5. Other Thoughts: The rule of thumb is that you will have half the number of people who register actually show up! Things happen. Prizes or swag! It is nice and it doesn't hurt to ask! You never know who might be happy to donate to your cause. It is a worthy one, grassroots participant driven teacher professional learning. Use social media! Schedule tweets and write blogs and tap into your learning community.
Maybe you just want to attend one first? Check out what's happening here: http://edcamp.wikispaces.com/