Friday, May 15, 2015

How to host an EdCamp!

There are a lot of nitty gritty details to consider when you organize an EdCamp, but here are ten "big ideas" to think about as you organize one:
  1. Form a committee (use people from different schools to increase attendance)
  2. Pick a host location (if you have more than fifty-ish attendees, you want a large common space and a lot of breakout spaces in close proximity... if you are small enough, you may be able to do the whole unconference in the library, which is super fun as it makes the "law of two feet" much easier) and a date (pick a cold month, but don't get snowed out)
  3. Create a website (like Wordpress) and a ticketing system (like Eventbrite)
  4. Create (or borrow) a to-do list and assign tasks (Click the image above to see an example. It is advisable to use a cloud-based project management tool like Basecamp.)
  5. Publicize it, especially on twitter (but you can have a great EdCamp with 20 people; more than 150ish might be too much).  Getting people to show up on a Saturday morning is hard, face to face asks are more effective than twitter and email blasts.
  6. Arrange for breakfast food (Starbucks may donate coffee)
  7. Do you want a raffle? Think hard: it's fun, but it doubles the work -- and it won't make more people come (but it will make people stay). 
  8. Make a schedule (half day or full day?). If you do a full day, some people will leave at lunch. The best part about a half day is you don't have to worry about lunch plans, and you still have some weekend to enjoy.
  9. Look at the websites of other EdCamps and steal ideas. Also tell the mothership you are hosting a new one; they will send you a "getting started" box.
  10. If you want to do in internal EdCamp on a PD day at your school, you will save a ton of work. You only really need to do steps 8 and 9
  11. It's important to greet people as they arrive and acclimate them (show them the food, the board, the swag, encourage them to talk to strangers)
  12. It's important to plant a veteran in every session and start the circle introductions,  Have them start the circle introduction at the beginning, and have them ask a leading question (“this session is about innovative PD, what’s the last great PD anyone in here has gone to?”)

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