A maker-space, ‘app smashing’ and … no PowerPoint!
When is a conference not a conference? That’s a question LEARN Quebec hopes to answer when it brings educators together to remix their experience and expertise on Saturday, November 26.
Dubbed an “unconference,” the event is free and open to teachers, pre-service teachers, administrators, education professionals and anyone who is interested in the field. It is being held in partnership with Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and Science and Department of Education.
LEARN is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving minority communities in Quebec’s education sector, from Anglophone and Indigenous language groups to those working in both youth and adult education.
The group first put the unconference concept into practice last year, when they organized an edcamp at McGill University with some of its local partners.
Welcome to the unconference!
The basic idea of an edcamp is straightforward: no pre-organized sessions, no keynotes, no agenda, no pre-determined topics or themes. Participants will build the agenda on the morning of the event. In essence, the day is designed by the educators attending.
It’s the first time LEARN will host an edcamp at Concordia — a collaboration made possible through the support of André Roy, dean of Arts and Science; Richard Schmid, chair of the Education Department; and his departmental colleagues Giuliana Cucinelli and Ann-Louise Davidson.
The magic of an unconference lies in its simplicity. Attendees are asked to follow just two rules: be selfish and don’t break out that PowerPoint!
If a session is not giving you what you need, organizers recommend you get up and find one that does. Even better, post a session topic that you’re interested in discussing on the communal agenda.
Because the intent is to be unstructured, letting ideas flow freely through engaging conversation, being shackled to your favourite PowerPoint presentation as you stand at the front of the room is discouraged.
An emphasis on accessibility
ReMixEd Camp MTL 2016 will offer some traditional edcamp sessions, but as the title implies, they also plan to shake things up. This year will include an all-day maker space as well as something called an “app smash.” Participants will be invited to show a crowd in 60 seconds how they use a given app in their classroom.
And of course, there will be prizes! Educational products including apps, iPad cases, document cameras, stickers, posters and tablets are all up for grabs.
In keeping with the event’s mandate of accessibility, attendees will also be able to visit the “energy table” for snacks and drinks and free child care is offered.
Above all else, organizers aim to make the day welcoming to all — whether you’re already an educator or are soon to be one.
Chris Colley is a pedagogical consultant, LEARN member and ReMixEd Camp MTL co-organizer.
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