If you’re like most school leaders, you have sat through countless hours of presentations and videos—some compulsory, some of your own choosing—that bear the broad label professional development. Typically, you’re talked at, given a few minutes to discuss, then talked at some more. This still-pervasive model reinforces a few damaging assumptions about professional learning. The first is the assumption that your professional learning is a passive activity—something that happens to you, not something you control and direct. The second is that professional learning is an information dump—the transfer of knowledge from an illuminated sage to, well, the rest of us.

Edcamps were created to challenge these very assumptions. During these free events, attendees themselves select the topics, then move to small groups to share their collective knowledge and experience. The result is consistently the most powerful professional learning experience an educator can have.

NASSP Edcamp 2015

Principals participated in an Edcamp event during NASSP’s Ignite ’15 conference.

NASSP believes so deeply in the Edcamp model that in 2015, we became the first national organization to incorporate an Edcamp into our national conference.

That commitment continues with NASSP’s sponsorship of the 2016 Edcamp Leadership. On July 11, multiple sites in all 50 states and several Latin American countries will convene Edcamps for school leaders—principals, assistant principals, and aspiring school leaders—in cooperation with our friends at the University of Pennsylvania’s Mid-Career Doctoral program in Educational Leadership. Edcamp Leadership has a solid foundation of success, as described in a blog post by principal Larry Rother, who co-conducted the Phoenix site for Edcamp Leadership last year:

“Because the conversations are so rich and take place in the most informal ways, the whole day lends itself to networking. Perhaps due to the collaborative nature of an Edcamp, there seemed to be a more congenial spirit in the room and I found myself laughing and learning with colleagues who I had just met.”

You can also get a sense of the event by viewing a video recap of Edcamp Leadership Illinois last summer.

Perhaps you are among the fortunate few who can already apply this description to your professional development events. But if that’s not the case, we encourage you to mark July 11 on your calendar and register to attend an Edcamp Leadership in your area.

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