How the edcamp-lite model worked out
This past summer I put together a professional learning day at my school using a hybrid edcamp and traditional conference model as a guide. Modifications were necessary due to size, late planning, and nerves. In the end, though, things turned out well for the twenty or so participants who came from my school (DeMatha) and the three county private schools we also invited.
Planning for a limited number of attendees (under 50), I was worried that there might not be enough variety to go completely edcamp. Quite frankly, I also wasn't looking forward to the blank stares I was going to get when I replied "I don't know" to their "What are the session topics?" Therefore, I set up the day for one track and a total of five sessions, each lasting approximately 50 minutes. There would not be presenters (the edcamp influence) but each session would have a topic (my nerves influence): Communication, Assessment and Feedback, Online Classroom, Professional Development, and Study and Learning Tools. All topics focused on the use of tech-related tools in and out of the classroom.
My fears that each session may only last 10 minutes because no one had anything to contribute were assuaged early when the first session went over an hour before we purposefully switched gears to the second topic. Each person in attendance had something to contribute at some point in the day and those with more experience in an area helped lead things along. The conversation was lively and the show and tell of tools and ideas continued throughout.
The feedback was positive and the experience was quite successful thanks for several factors. DeMatha's administration was very supportive throughout and even provided a free lunch for the entire group. The attendees varied in experience (some even admitted that they planned to just lurk the entire day) but everyone was very enthusiastic. As a matter of fact, my principal has already asked that we hold it again next year and will give it his full support.