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Saturday, 7 June 2014

unconference, Twitter and the power of serendipitous learning


What motivates kiwi educators to spend 4-5 hours together, sometimes more when they travel, and on a Saturday?

Maybe the opportunity to share with like minded learners, mixed in with a bit of geeky stuff and a whole lot of networking and fun…essentials of an EduCampNZ event!


EduCamp in Auckland originated in 2008 as an unconference. Educators already connecting and sharing through blogs and Twitter, decided some kanohi ki te kanohi would definitely add value to their existing learning and sharing online.


The unconference model was a no-brainer as it seemed to reflect the serendipitous-ness of social networking. In comparison to traditional conferences, unconference is participant driven (whoever comes is the right people), sessions are scheduled on the day and the event itself is free.


In hindsight the strength of the online networking was also pivotal to initially spreading the word and continues to be a force in and around all EduCampNZ events.


While most EduCampNZ events include a focus on digital learning the programme is developed on the day by whoever is there. Sessions range from demos and hands on to lively conversations as well as an active backchannel sharing on Twitter and collaborative docs. Many events will also include participants contributing from a distance … you don’t have to be there, to be there.

As attendance is free, EduCampAKL events have been hosted through the generosity of local schools providing breakout spaces and wifi. All participants are encouraged to bring a digital device and be prepared to go with the flow! (unconference.net)

This year EducampAKL will be on Saturday 26th  July, thanks to the team at Western Heights School in Henderson and  principal +Ash Maindonald . Everyone is welcome and encouraged to connect now through the wiki and online.


In the past year over a dozen events have been organised locally and supported nationally around New Zealand. No two events are the same as they are inspired and realised through a desire of participants to share and learn in an open environment. 

If you are keen to attend or organise an event check out the EduCampNZ wiki and participation ideas. All content is available under Creative Commons

Plus some tips here for organising an unconference (via +Fiona Grant &  +Anne Kenneally

+Caroline Bush

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