As with many success stories, it all started over coffee. I remember that morning in May 2016, sitting in the cafeteria of a high school in Quebec. It was an educational day animated by the Edcamp atmosphere, piloted by the leadership of Audrey Miller. While the hundreds of participants, from a multitude of schools in the region, distributed to the identified premises to share on the proposed topics, I went to the organizing committee table to get a coffee cup. official event.
Pouring myself a coffee, I throw my appreciation to Audrey, who did the same by catching his breath after the launch of the activities.
- It's a really good concept, the Edcamps. It is fun to see the commitment of the participants.
- Put some on! she replies. Some people just need to break the ice to suggest topics in the first time block. After that, the machine is gone for the day.
I take a sip and think aloud.
- Imagine if, instead of just discussing a subject, we could really get into action. When a facilitator in a room knows their topic well and shares resources and tips, everyone starts wanting to give it a try right away.
- It's true that these are the most interesting rooms when someone shares something concrete, she answers. And it encourages other participants to share too. And to help each other. It's less formal than in a workshop at a big convention.
I did not go to join a room at this first block of hours after all that morning. Coffee in hand, Audrey and I naturally embarked on a storm of ideas around a hybrid concept, combining the organic spirit of the Edcamp formula with the framework of a more structured training event.
The heart of this new concept was already taking shape: to offer participants an initiation into a subject and time to experiment straight away, with the help of a resource person with expertise in the subject.
The first objective also emerged, that is to set out again in its middle at the end of the day not only with the head full of ideas, but with a concrete experience, traces, a beginning of project to be refined to experiment it. as quickly as possible with his students. That the creative process is already in action.
Just before the participants come back to the cafeteria for the break, Audrey gives me “a real crea-camp in the background! "
This is how the basics of CréaCamp were deposited for a coffee.
The idea remained alive and the following fall, we slowly but surely embarked on the planning of a first event for the following spring. Together with my colleagues Sarah Shallow-Tardif and Pierre-Olivier Cloutier, we have determined a few key themes to address. While we took care of the logistics of the host school, Audrey used her contacts to find the best facilitators to support the participants. The École branchée would take care of publicizing the event and collecting registrations. At Audrey's request, I scribbled a visual signature CréaCamp on my tablet to help give the concept an identity (note that it is this “beta work” that has remained ever since!).
Thus on May 17, 2017, at the invitation of École branchée, around sixty participants gathered at Mont-Saint-Sacrement high school to experience this new kind of day. In a relaxed atmosphere, four themes were presented to them in the form of a pitch motivator. According to their interests, the participants were divided into the workshops to experience active and creative support.
This first edition was a success and even before the end of the school year, the École branchée announced the holding of CréaCamp days in other schools in the province in the fall.
Since then, the CréaCamp offer has multiplied, in a multitude of regions, sometimes with disciplinary themes, including two editions for school administrators. The École branchée was recognized in 2018 by the Quebec Ministry of Education as an official partner in the training offer to implement the Digital Action Plan, in particular with the CréaCamp days.
The team was able to adapt the CréaCamp formula to the needs of the environments, with shorter editions, or even co-developed directly with a school team. And when the pandemic forced us all to switch to virtual mode, the team rolled up its sleeves to transform its face-to-face offer to remote. Although the challenge was great, it is clear that the CréaCamps have never been as alive as they have been in the last year.
The École branchée can count on a solid network of collaborators and partners to bring this concrete continuing education experience to life, even remotely.
I therefore greet all these teachers, these CPs, these facilitators who have been involved since 2017 in doing CréaCamps an opportunity for professional development that reflects educational ideals that are increasingly highlighted: flexibility, sharing, differentiation, creativity and, at the heart of it all, human relationships.
The story of CréaCamp is a good example of the strength of the networking that exists between the actors in the field and the organizations on the periphery that want to support them. The École branchée team continues to inspire and help bring out the best in education.
I take this 25th anniversary to raise my cup to Audrey who was able to put into action an idea born around a spring coffee. I look forward to our next coffee in attendance, who knows what will emerge this time ... 🙂