EdCamp and Sustaining Innovation

EdCamp and Sustaining Innovation

By their very nature, EdCamps have a dynamic structure. Groups form, break apart, and reform based around the interests of the participants. The day is filled with energy and heady ideas. I’ve found it challenging to sustain those ideas beyond the sympathetic walls of EdCamp. I am reminded of Jonathan Ive’s quote regarding Steve Jobs and the fragility of new ideas.

Steve loved ideas, and loved making stuff, he treated the process of creativity with a rare and a wonderful reverence. You see, I think he better than anyone understood that while ideas ultimately can be so powerful, they begin as fragile, barely formed thoughts, so easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily just squished.

So as I left my second EdCamp, I wanted to generate a list of ways to protect and sustain these powerful ideas.  I also wanted to elicit thoughts from my PLN on ways that they use EdCamp as an incubator for new ideas. In no particular order…

  1. Go to another EdCamp. Better yet bring a few colleagues with you. I was lucky enough to convince four teachers from my school to attend EdCamp Boston this year. Hopefully this will sustain some of the momentum we gained from this unconference.
  2. Update your PLN. I met many educators who are doing remarkable work in their schools. I update my Twitter following more during an EdCamp than any other point in the year.
  3. Picking which horse to ride. Participants at EdCamps share heaps of ideas, workflows, projects, apps, and websites. I have a natural tendency to want to try every new, shiny thing that comes along. When I try to do everything, it is usually an exercise in futility. I usually spend the week following an EdCamp figuring out the handful of things that will be the most helpful for me, my students, and my school.
  4. Be a Joiner. EdCamp participants created several groups that plan to share and collaborate beyond the EdCamp day. I know of the iPad in Education Google Group and Education Blogger Facebook Group. I am sure there are others.

I would love to hear of other strategies people use to help new ideas take root.

MCCPS Staff Attends Edcamp
MCCPS Staff @ Edcamp Boston

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