This past summer, I knew I wanted to attend a conference for educators, but I wanted it to be different. More meaningful.

Enter EdCamp. Other educators in my professional learning network on Twitter regularly posted promos to get other teachers and administrators excited about it. The Portland-area event, EdCampPDX, is an unconventional conference because it does not have a keynote speaker. Volunteers organize the camp, and it is mostly focused on discussion, sharing with each other, and it is driven by those in attendance.

What I loved most when first arriving was that it felt great to meet with other educators early on a sunny Saturday morning. They could have done many other things with their free time during the summer, but they chose to talk about how to improve their ability to educate kids.

Anyone in the room can suggest a topic to discuss during the breakout sessions. At the beginning of the day, everyone signs their name under the topics they are interested in discussing. The organizers decide which topics are most popular, then create breakout sessions on the spot. It's awesome.

After an enjoyable get-to-know-you activity, we jump right in. Breakout session locations are announced and everyone is free to go wherever they want. Examples of sessions included Flipping the Classroom, Race and Identity, Chromebook 101, The Paperless Classroom, Genius Hour, Learning Management Systems, and many more.

The sessions I attended were pretty much just in-depth, intentional conversations with other educators about the topics. We shared resources, ideas, strategies, and experiences that can benefit those in the room. There was no agenda. The conversation flowed based on the questions and thoughts brought into the room.

Attending EdCampPDX has given me a broader excitement for the future of professional development, the educational community, and the unified goal we all have to do our best to educate our students by sharing experiences. Thankfully EdCampPDX is not just once a year! The next event will take place in November, and I'm definitely going to bring a WHCS buddy with me next time!

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