Edcamp: Participant-Driven Professional Learning

Education Technology Specialist, Portland Public Schools

In 2011, a team of colleagues and I organized the first EdcampPDX, a grassroots movement and model of learning where educators come together to collaborate, share and solve problems. This past weekend we held our sixteenth event and continue to welcome those that are attending an edcamp for the first time.

Edcamp Essentials

What is edcamp? It’s a free, non-commercial learning event open to everyone. The sessions are generated organically in response to the needs of those in attendance and the session schedule is determined that day by participants. Anyone can facilitate a conversation on any topic of interest and the “rule of two feet” empowers everyone to find the session that best meets their needs. Examples of sessions during the last couple meet-ups of EdcampPDX included:

  • Student Engagement with Technology
  • Visual Thinking and Sketchnotes in the Classroom
  • Social Deduction Games
  • Creating Future Ready School Libraries
  • Teaching with Equity in Mind
  • Using Narrative and Story in Tinkering and Making
  • Mindfulness in Education
  • Accreditation for Well-Being
  • Stump the Geek
  • Exploring Race Through #Educolor


Benefits for Educators

Edcamp provides a safe environment for educators to have voice and choice in what they’re learning, as well as make connections with local colleagues. This more sustainable model of professional learning recognizes that each individual has expertise to contribute, resources and strategies to share and room to explore and grow. The relationships I have developed and strengthened as a result of EdcampPDX have been extremely valuable to my personal and professional growth and have made my learning network much richer.

For more information and resources for organizing an edcamp, check out the Edcamp Foundation and this post on Edutopia. 

Melissa Lim began her career in education as an elementary classroom teacher almost 20 years ago. Melissa is an education technology specialist for Portland Public Schools in Portland, OR and has been with the district for 16 years. In her current role, she provides professional learning opportunities for district staff and teachers and supports educational technology needs. Melissa Lim can be found also at @actionhero Google+ about.me.

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