The Positive Power of #Edcamp Hits The US Department of Education

6/10/2014 12:00:00 AM
photo via Joe Mazza
It was an honor to be involved in the first #edcampusa today held at the United States Department of Education in Washington, D.C.  Despite the relatively small size of the #edcamp, with only 75 in attendance, I believe that this was a big deal.  It showed the willingness of the staff at our nation's department of education to go outside of their comfort zone and welcome a large group of visitors to their space for the day. I think it's awesome that our Secretary of Education and his staff were intrigued and wanted a first hand view of what this whole #edcamp movement is about.

As is usually the case with #edcamps, those in attendance created an amazing agenda and left all of those in attendance with plenty of meaningful ideas to share with all of the learners they connect with.

The tweet below from Tom Murray, @all4ed's State & District Digital Learning Director, does a wonderful job summing my the feelings from the day.
My Take Aways of #edcampusa: The value of leadership, the need for high quality PD, and all we do is about relationships. @usedgov
— Tom Murray (@thomascmurray) June 6, 2014
Breaking down the tweet a bit, I am optimistic about the fact that the folks who set the national education agenda in Washington opened the door for a group of passionate educators to share that passion. The Department of Ed. staff who spent the day in sessions saw the power of teacher-led professional development and the importance of learners taking control of their own learning. Lastly and most importantly, relationships were made and/or extended that will lead to more conversations.

Let's face it, this #edcamp thing is no longer a secret with well over 400 #edcamps having been held since the initial #edcamp back in 2010. Whether today's event leads to great changes at the federal level or not, the #edcamp movement will continue to grow.
The Vision and Mission of the Edcamp Foundation are below:
Vision - We are all self-directed learners, developing and sharing our expertise with the world. 
Mission - We build and support a community of empowered learners.
Today Edcampers did what they do, sharing their expertise and building their community!  The only people who will really decide where this goes next are #edcampers. I am hopeful our friends in Washington liked what they saw and will join us on this fun ride!

cross-posted at

Patrick Larkin is the Assistant Superintendent for Learning of Burlington Public Schools in Burlington, MA and the former principal of Burlington High. He blogs about education at

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