Given the success of last year’s Learning InnovatEd Pre-Conference, CEESA is bringing back the opportunity for another year. A large part of this success is due to the conference format as an unConference - where participants set the agenda at the beginning of the day and explore topics that are highly relevant and important to them in an extremely collaborative and participatory environment. (Coincidentally, one of the major topics/themes that came out of last year’s unConference was that of Individualized/Personalized Learning - a major theme for this year’s main CEESA Conference).
While there are no “typical” unConferences, there are few things that lend structure to this highly flexible format. First, everyone attending comes with the idea of sharing in mind (i.e. an issue you’re struggling with, a teaching technique/strategy, etc.) in a short “mini-workshop” setting. Second, that everyone attending is responsible for their own experience - if you feel you are in the wrong “mini-workshop” you can go to another one that you thought you might be interested in (this is known in unConferences as the “law of 2 feet”). And finally, that breaking off from the agenda set at the beginning to pursue an interesting idea/thought with another participant or on your own is encouraged.
This last piece is by far the most rewarding part of the unConference. Indeed, the very notion behind unConferences was that the most stimulating conversations generally take place over coffee breaks when participants can interact with each other and discuss various topics, including their own professional interests. As one unConference attendee/organizer puts it: “So much of life and work is overly structured that it doesn’t give us, or our ideas, the room to run and grow freely. By contrast, the unstructured, high-energy environment of the unConference amplifies ideas.”
For more information on the specifics about the unConference format, please go to our Learning InnovatEd Pre-Conference site.
Joseph Barder is the ICT Coordinator at the International School of Helsinki.
Joseph Barder is the current ICT Coordinator at the International School of Helsinki where he is engaged in both the technical and educational sides of implementing technology in a variety ways at school. While he is considered “the tech guy” by many at the school, he maintains that he is as much a fan of whiteboards.