In a few short weeks I will be joining around 200 of North Carolina’s education thought leaders at Edcamp Leadership in Raleigh.  On July 10, 2015, learners from all sectors of education will unite for a unique “unconference” experience. EdCamp is not a traditional sit-and-get conference, but rather a union of like-minded folks joining together for a day filled with organic conversation and connections on those topics for which they are deeply passionate.

This event has me filled with anticipation and excitement because not only will I be in the company of many of the people with whom I have ongoing, critical conversations about topics such as What should we blow up in education? and What does it mean to build a culture of learning? but also because EdCamp Leadership is a nationwide event that will connect me and my colleagues with hundreds of folks equally as dedicated and passionate about education.

There are three primary thoughts I would offer to anyone considering attending this event as reasons to join us:

Listen:  During EdCamp, I most enjoy being an active listener.  There are so many people with incredible dedication, innovative thoughts, and engaging rhetoric that I often find myself just absorbing from those around me.  And, the enviroment is one of mutual respect so when I do decide to share, others provide a safe and trusting space in which to do so.

Learn:  At traditional conferences there are sessions that may sound amazing, cause you to raise an eyebrow of interest, and have you sitting in the front row waiting for it to begin.  However, those sessions don’t always meet your expectations. By the time the session is in progress, it is too late to exit with grace and you are stuck for the better part of an hour wondering what you are missing elsewhere.  At Edcamp, there is no excuse for not learning.  The “rule of two feet” is an understood and accepted norm; that is, if you don’t like what you are hearing, use your two feet to get up and leave to find another space in which you can engage.  There are NO wasted hours.

Lead:  At EdCamp, everyone checks their title at the door.  The teacher, the director, the superintendent all engage as equals. Anyone can lead a conversation and everyone has the opportunity to participate in discussions that will challenge the status-quo and may be their catalyst to enact change.

The summer is a time when we all need to refresh and renew for the upcoming year.  What better opportunity to do so is on YOUR horizion????