First of all, let me state the obvious. An unconference is not a conference. At least, not in the traditional sense of what a conference is all about.
What is a conference all about? A conference is about an event, with a predetermined theme, with a planned agenda, and at least one or two big-name speakers. The speakers are highly respected in the profession.
The conference serves the purpose of giving attendees access to what’s new in the profession, an opportunity to network, and of course, to peruse the offerings on display by vendors and publishers.
Now, all of this sounds like a very good idea. In fact, I’ve attended over sixty conferences in the past ten years, which means I’m averaging about six conferences per year. That’s an awful lot.
Let me be more precise. That’s my average, ten conferences per year. Obviously, there are some years in which the number is even higher, for example, the year when I was President of TESOL Chile.
That year, 2010, I attended ten conferences, helped organize the joint IATEFL-TESOL Bicentennial Conference, completed a DELTA course in ELT methodology, and wrote two books, five articles, helped organize a national Spelling Bee – in addition to my day job as Coordinator of an English Department.
To put it frankly, I am very dedicated to my profession. Without a doubt, I have a sincere belief that attending conferences is an excellent form of continuous professional development. I recommend it to all teachers – self improvement by attending professional conferences.
Having said that, I acknowledge that something is missing at every conference I have ever attended.
“What could that be?”, you might ask me.
Here’s my answer: Teachers, talking to teachers – common every day teachers like you and me – sharing our best practices with one another. What works for us in our classrooms, and most importantly – what doesn’t work…
When this happens, we create a community with a shared sense of who we are as teachers, with an accompanying sense of shared responsability for our profession.
This simple act of sharing with one another – rather than competing with one another – would have a transformative effect on not only the ELT profession in Chile, but on the entire education sector in Chile.
That’s why we desperately need more unconferences like EdCamp Santiago.
The unconference experience results in the creation of a new consciousness, one of sharing, cooperation and collaboration. That contrasts sharply with our current culture – global – no only in Chile – but globally – a culture of competition.
To conclude, a conference is, was, and always will be necessary for professional development. To complement the conference, the unconference is needed.
The unconference – the conference that is not a conference. I hope to see you at an unconference in the coming days, months, and years. Finally, to support EdCamp Santiago, I have written a book about EdCamp Santiago.
All of the proceeds, all of the money that the book makes – 100% – will be used to support EdCamp Santiago. For this reason, I will be very happy if you buy a copy of EdCamp Santiago.
You can get it on Amazon – either in the Kindle edition or get yourself a Paperback edition. Regardless of which copy you buy – Kindle or Paperback – I thank you in advance for all the teachers who will benefit from your donation by buying this book, “EdCamp Santiago: The First Seven Days“…
You see, the unconference, EdCamp Santiago, is absolutely free, for all teachers, for all disciplines, from all kinds of schools.
Help support EdCamp Santiago – buy this book.
Totally, completely, absolutely – free – yes – EdCamp Santiago is free, because of people like you who support us. We couldn’t make this happen without your help, without your support…
That’s even if you don’t buy the book. Everyone is welcome. If you are like me, and you believe in teachers sharing best practice with teachers, then help support EdCamp Santiago by buying a copy of this book.
In advance, thank you very much for your generosity towards all of the teachers if Chile…
Dedicated to all the educators, world-wide, who have participated in an EdCamp.
Go forth, spread the word to the far corners of the Earth, something is happening.
There’s something going on, a R(E)volution in teacher professional development. It’s called EdCamp….
A conference, that’s not a conference. An “unconference” is a better term. A new paradigm in teacher professional development, a new, creative, innovative way of staying up to date on what matters most to teachers. As I said, it’s a paradigm shift in teacher professional development. Let me repeat: Paradigm Shift.