Update: This post originally focused on only three unconferences; I was alerted to two more in the area and so updated the post accordingly.
If you’re in the general vicinity of New Jersey and Pennsylvania this summer, please keep your busy social calendar open enough to attend at least one of these summer unconferences happening in the region:
Techstock is the first official crack at the unconference format for the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), the largest public employees’ union in the state. The overarching theme of this unconference is technology integration, so BYOD (bring your own device) to Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Galloway, NJ on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 and join 250 educators from around the state in constructing your own learning experience. Registration fee is $35, refundable through June 27. Read more about Techstock and register here; follow NJEA on Twitter at @NJEA.
Edcamp Leadership 2014 is the third such unconference event designed specifically for educational leaders. Of course, this includes supervisors, principals, superintendents, and directors, but as we know, job titles do not necessarily leaders make; teachers, parents, and students can all be leaders. After stints at NJPSA and Kean University in previous years, Edcamp Leadership 2014 will be at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education in Philadelphia, PA on Monday, August 4, 2014. Registration is FREE, as it is for all Edcamps. Read more about Edcamp Leadership and register here; follow Edcamp Leadership on Twitter at @edcampldr.
Edcamp STEAM takes the unconference format and focuses on science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. Edcamp STEAM will be at Linwood Middle School in North Brunswick, NJ on Tuesday, August 5, 2014. Registration is FREE. Read more about Edcamp STEAM and register here; follow Edcamp STEAM on Twitter at @EdcampSTEAM.
Padcamp is a technology unconference with a very specific focus on the use of tablets and mobile devices in K-12 education. Padcamp takes place at Galloway Township Middle School in Galloway, NJ on Thursday, August 7, 2014. Registration is FREE. Read more about Padcamp and register here; follow Padcamp on Twitter at @padcamp.
TeachMeetNJ sounds like it will be very similar to Techstock in both form and function, with technology as the overarching theme. TeachMeetNJ will also take place at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Galloway, NJ on Monday, August 18, 2014. I’ve never attended a TeachMeet before, but it seems to me a bit more pre-planned than an Edcamp; while Edcamp participants determine their schedule on the day, it seems you need to sign up to present at TeachMeetNJ in advance. Registration is FREE. Read more about TeachMeetNJ and register here; follow TeachMeetNJ on Twitter at @TeachMeetNJ.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I am a (soon-to-be former) professional development consultant for the NJEA, as well as a past organizer for Edcamp Leadership (2012 and 2013 editions).
Whether you attend an unconference, an Edcamp, or a TeachMeet (or all three), I highly recommend you go to at least one (barring unforeseen circumstances, I’ll be at Techstock and Edcamp Leadership). Whether you lead a session or not, all five events promise to be highly participatory, and it’s as true for us as it is for our students – these types of events tend to be far more valuable for our thinking and learning than the traditional “sit & git” model.
Hope to see you this summer!