Reflecting on Education Conferences: When Size MattersThursday, July 14, 20161:54 PM
Does the size of a conference really matter? That’s a question that I spent some time thinking about this week. I had the pleasure of attending #EdcampLDR at the Hudson Valley, New York site on Monday and sit here typing away at the NJ #GAFESummit today. With these experiences, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we work and learn together in today’s education and technology conference culture.
#EdcampLDR’s Hudson Valley site was new this year, and was an intimate gathering. Last year, I attended the North NJ location, with around 200 other educators (I wrote about it in 5 Things That Make Education Conferences Great). It was BIG. This year, though, I walked in to see around 25 educators ready to learn. I’ll be honest: my first instinct was apprehension. There were few of the conference regulars and “big names” of education. Who would lead the sessions? Who would I learn from?
And these quick instincts were the wrong way to think about edcamps, for sure. Within minutes, I met educators who were eager to spend a summer day learning and growing. We didn’t have presentations; we had discussions. We asked questions, shared ideas, and solved problems. And it was awesome.
— Jessica Burack (@JessicaBurack) July 11, 2016
With #EdcampLDRHV, the half day unconference, with three time slots and only fifteen discussion-based sessions, the learning was slower with smaller groups. But it was more intimate, and maybe more thoughtful. I loved both experiences but I wonder how the 25-participant experience allows for different learning opportunities.
I’m starting to think of conference experiences like I look towards my teaching ones: sometimes whole class or large group instruction is best, but I truly enjoyed the variety of learning experiences my summer has offered so far.
@MrSchoenbart explains about his experiences at 2nd session on edcamp for PD #edcampldrhv #edcampldr pic.twitter.com/fuRwkId1DW— Dan Kreiness (@dkreiness) July 11, 2016