This program evaluation will take a Testing-Objectives approach inasmuch as the evaluation seeks to understand whether the program has accomplished its stated goals. A follow-up focus group will take a Judgement Approach to look beyond the stated goals to explore the affordances of the Edcamp model for participants and the sponsoring organization.
Five methods were employed to gather data on the Edcamp: a graffiti wall, social media posts, a user-generated scatter-plot, an end-of-event survey, and a focus group four weeks after the event.
An end-of-event survey can probe specifically into the three areas of concern: idea exchange, networking, and professional development. Some research is required to determine what specifically to measure in order to draw valid conclusions from the survey. While online surveys are very convenient and process a lot of the data for you, my concern is that participants may be less inclined to respond at some point in the future. My intention is to use a paper-based survey at the event to maximize the response rate.
Two of the domains, idea exchange and networking, seem conceptually related. In order to get a quick read on whether that is the case, we will use a very informal strategy where participants each get a sticky dot. On their way out of the building at the end of the day, they will be asked to consider whether they encountered few or many new ideas, and whether they engaged with few or many individuals. They will place their dot on the intersection of those to ranges creating a kind-of interactive scatter plot.
Digital Artifacts and Graffiti Wall
We can examine the notes taken in the Google Docs set up for each session and the social media engagement on Twitter as sources of data. This data stream offers us some real-time insight into what is happening and how people are engaging with colleagues and ideas. The graffiti wall (http://conferences.agilealliance.org/sessions/20083860) is another way to elicit very open ended responses and thoughts from participants through text and images. It also affords connections and development of ideas as participants can build on others’ content.
At some point in the future, I would like to assemble a representative sample of participants from each of the schools to revisit their experiences and any lasting contacts or persistent ideas.
It may be possible to survey or interview middle school educators in the same school division who did not attend Edcamp MY7Oaks to assess professional growth, professional networking, and idea exchange for a point of comparison.