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EdCamp Gorge, an education ‘unconference,’ set for March 9

EdCamp Gorge, a free conference for teachers, administrators and anyone involved in education, comes to Wy’east Middle School March 9.

The structure of the conference will be informal, with attendees signing up to run sessions in the morning.

The conference will be free from corporate vendors and booths, with the focus being solely on conversations about education.

EdCamp Gorge is free, with all refreshments and other amenities provided solely through sponsorship.

Organizers are Adam Howell, a PE teacher at Wy’east Middle School, and Sean Williams, an instructional technologist at Northwest Regional ESD in Hillsboro.

“We want people to sign up as soon as possible,” Howell said. “People can also come on the day of, but we are really encouraging pre-registration.”

To register and gain more information visit bit.ly/EdCampGorge.

Attendees will come from all over the state and will range from classroom teachers to administrators to coaches. There will be time for attendees to gather informally to share ideas as well as a variety of sessions for them to attend, run by their colleagues and fellow educators.

This event is based on the barcamp model, also known as an unconference (http://barcamp.org). An unconference is:

n an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment; and

n a conversational event featuring discussions, demos and interactions between participants, rather than a group of people listening to a particular speaker.

After the inaugural edcamp event in May 2010, the edcamp movement has spread across the nation, and even worldwide, according to Howell.

With the possibility of up to 100 attendees, the organizers are looking for local businesses who may be interested in being featured in the conference literature. Those interested in being a sponsor can make donations and/or contact the organizers on the website at bit.ly/EdcampGorge.

The website explains what participants might expect:

“Arrive with an idea for a session that you would like to lead or with the anticipation of a full day of learning. A session might explore a technology tool, a discussion about best practices, or a collaborative presentation with multiple facilitators.

“During the first hour (8-9 a.m.) you will have time to meet other teachers over coffee. There will be an empty session board where you and all attendees can post session titles. Sessions begin at 9 a.m.

“Over the course of the day, you will have the opportunity to attend up to four sessions. The rule of the unconference is to “vote with your feet.”

“If a session doesn’t meet your needs, simply get up and move on to another room.”

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