Edcamp Program Context
Edcamp MY7Oaks is an unconference event that took place on February 5, 2016 involving about 160 teachers, teaching assistants, library technicians, counselors, and administrators from four different middle schools in the 7-Oaks School Division of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The purpose of the Edcamp is, on the surface, to create a time and space for educators to address current and relevant issues as identified by the participants on the morning of the event. An analysis of available goal statements from other Edcamp websites, media articles about Edcamps, and participant reflections in personal blogs can be distilled to three primary Edcamp goals:
- to facilitate the exchange of ideas,
- to develop professional networks,
- to promote professional growth.
The goal of Edcamp MY7Oaks is to foster professional connections between the four schools, facilitate the exchange of ideas, and to encourage professional growth in the participants' chosen area.
While Edcamps are traditionally held on Saturdays and involve a self-selected group of enthusiastic participants, MY7Oaks Edcamp was on a Friday and the staff of all four schools were required to attend as part of a division-wide professional development day. This raised some concerns with the organizers about how the Edcamp format would translate and be embraced by participants who were not attending by choice.
This assessment study will first focus on gathering baseline data of 7Oaks participants engagement with social media and professional connections between schools, describing new connections, if any, made during the event, and following up on the persistence of new professional relationships in the long term.
The assessment tool is intended to serve two functions, one for the researcher in understanding the development of professional networks among participants (assessment orientation), the second for the Edcamp community in evaluating the quality and effectiveness of individual events (improvement orientation).