nearly a full year of teaching under their belts, teachers are ready to
articulate their questions — and the Unconference model of the "Teachers
Helping Teachers" program offers tailored, concrete feedback you can
implement right away. While you may likely attend the full conference with an eye toward a particular
presentation you'd like to see, you'll also have an opportunity to share your questions and divide
into groups for more focused discussion. Teachers benefit from the
perspective more experienced colleagues can offer and teachers of varying
experience and different disciplines realize they may have some of the very same questions.
Every attendee leaves not only having listened but also having articulated specific
areas of interest — and having established meaningful connections with others
who share their pursuits.
Here's an example of what transpired during a recent unconference session at Teachers Helping Teachers:
posted a request to learn more about Edmodo (the "facebook for
schools"). Five people attended the session, which began with a large
group discussion. As it progressed, the participants realized that they
really had an interest in two separate areas of the topic. They
divided themselves up into two groups, and when the session time ended
they didn't want to stop working. The room happened to be free during
the next session, so they stayed and continued to work. When break
time rolled around, one group went out to the bench in the hallway to
An unconference, according to the Wikipedia entry
is a "conference where the content of the sessions is driven and
created by the participants, generally day-by-day during the course of
the event, rather than by a single organizer, or small group of
organizers, in advance." While unconferences are becoming popular
(because they provide an excellent, flexible venue for ideas,
networking, and participation), they have been around for decades, with
the best-known format articulated by Harrison Owen as "Open Space Technology
". For an excellent description of the unconference format, see this Huffington Post article, An "Unconference" for Online Communities.
For our particular event....
... participants will be encouraged to propose specific
topics during the morning that can be shared during the 10:55 - 11:55 unconference session. Do you
have something -- a lesson plan, teaching tool or pedagogical technique -- that
you'd like to share with colleagues?
Bring it along and feel free to share it with your colleagues during this session. Is there something you'd like to learn more about? Add it to the unconference "grid" during the morning session and be ready to meet with others who share the same interest or questions.