#Unconference: Journal Club

Journal Club Article: Carpenter, J. P., & Linton, J. N. (2018). Educators’ perspectives on the impact of Edcamp unconference professional learningTeaching and Teacher Education73, 56-69.

The Unconference or Edcamp

“Similar to other unconferences, Edcamps reject many traditional conference elements such as advance agendas and pre-planned presentations in order to avoid limiting participants’ creativity, collaboration, and engagement.”
Educator Professional Learning Development
“Many educators, scholars, and policy makers concur that educator professional learning is key to the improvement of teaching and student learning.”
Research Aims
1. What were participants’ perceptions regarding the impact of Edcamps on their educational practice?
2. What were participants’ perceptions regarding the impact of Edcamps on their students’ learning?
3. What factors did the participants identify as hindering and supporting their use of what they learned at Edcamps?
Participants
Survey sent 4-8 months post participation in an Edcamp.
  • Survey participating educators (N= 105), of which 88% were female.
  • Interview and focus group participants (N= 18), of which 55.6% were female.

The female ratio was consistent with the US education workforce.

Results

  • n=96 (91.4%) of respondents indicated that they had changed their practices as result of their Edcamp participation. Most commonly described changes were use of technology and use of new instructional strategies.
  • Perceived that those changes had some kind of positive impact on student learning, although this impact was not always quantifiable in terms of traditional measures of student achievement such as test scores.
  •  Teacher collaboration increased following Edcamp participation, particularly collaboration facilitated through technology among members of a professional learning network (PLN).
  • Participation provided new experiences for students and enabled students to gain new skills.
  • n=65 (61.9%) of participants reported that they encountered some type(s) of obstacles, barriers, or challenges as they tried to use what they learned via their Edcamp experience.

Limitations

Self reporting method, also the fact the educators participated in the Edcamp may indicate a motivated sample of educators.

Conclusions

“Participants overwhelmingly asserted that they had changed their practices as a result of their participation in Edcamps.

The Edcamp model appeared to positively affect teaching and learning while respecting the participants’ motivations, autonomy, experiences, and ultimately their professionalism and capacity to engage in complex intellectual work.

Those who organize and facilitate education conferences could apply our findings to identify new possibilities for conference structure and format.”

Reference

Carpenter, J. P., & Linton, J. N. (2018). Educators’ perspectives on the impact of Edcamp unconference professional learningTeaching and Teacher Education73, 56-69.

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