Today in class we watched a short film introducing us to EdCamp, or Unconference, which is an event in which educators come together to talk about collective interests and passions. After watching the short film we tried it in class. It begins by a few ideas being posted onto a bulletin board, or in our case a whiteboard, and then having people put a mark by the ones that they would be interested in further discussing. From there, the topics with the most dots are selected groups are formed around these topics. We were given the option to join one of the groups and move to a space that would allow open and uninterrupted discussion.
At first, (even though we are all adults who have been in classes together for a while) it seemed a little bit tricky trying to start it off. But once we got going, the conversation flowed easily. I found it to be a really positive way to interact with my classmates. Although I know I have nothing to fear when it comes to speaking up, I often second guess myself and hesitate and am left with nervousness rather than the clear thought that I had started with. I felt after a few of us had shared our thoughts, it was getting easier for me and for others to share theirs as well. With an unstructured conversation about one structured topic, more ideas and experiences seemed to come forth that I may not have had the pleasure to hear in a more structured setting.
I noticed that there was a scene in the movie that we watched in class a few weeks ago, where one teacher had his class work on talking to each other in this way. He told them that it would be hard now, but that they would have to get used to it because they will need to become comfortable having an open discussion with each other, as he will not always be there to lead the conversation. I find it interesting, and amazing, that these high school students were learning something that even I still struggle with as an adult. This style of sharing ideas is definitely something I will be using in my future classroom!