#CampEd14

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I am pleased and proud. I’ve helped make a thing that is good, a thing that people like, a thing that is useful and that makes the world better. What we’ve made is an event that brings together friends, strangers and their families and mixes them together in a different kind of way. And it works.

For those that weren’t there, #CampEd14 was an educational event which took place over a long weekend spent at a residential education centre (Cliffe House) in Yorkshire. Attendees were, on the whole, educators and their families. People mainly camped and many volunteered to run ‘sessions’ as diverse as extracting DNA from bananas to orienteering.

I know that other people are already taking care of the details of the event. I would like to reflect for a moment on what I think makes it a bit different and very special:

  • The ‘gaps’: I have always said that whenever you go on a course, some training or a conference, it is the gaps in between where some of the best stuff happens; the coffee breaks, over lunch, in the bar. CampEd significantly widens those gaps. For me, this is exemplified by (amongst other things) the traditional CampEd walk. The walk lowers the pace yet further and gently moves people into meandering conversation to accompany their steps.
  • The venue: I remember the moment when I realised Cliffe House was tailor made for CampEd. It was as if (as Will Ryan would say) a dam burst in my head. Each time I thought of something CampEdish, Cliffe House had the answer.
  • The activities: What does an outstanding lesson look like? More’s the point, what does it ‘feel’ like? How many of us educators can say that we have been in an outstanding lesson as a learner recently? Anyone at #CampEd14 can truly say that they have.
  • The people: Here we had a ‘conference’, a learning event that catered for attendees aged from a matter of months up to… well, quite a bit older… We also mixed a crowd of teachers/educators with their children and (in many cases) non-educator partners.  ‘Exit interviews’ with these non-educators suggest that the event had certainly passed the ‘spousal’ test (as Bill Lord coined it) in that they would all recommend CampEd and attend again in future.Finally, special thanks to a couple of people: Bill, who has picked me up when I’ve been flagging and who will forever be my Twitter confidante and Tony Parkin who quietly but significantly supports in so many ways – although I would have preferred him to have chosen a time other than 7.00am for his philanthropic road-building efforts in the camp-site.
    Mr Parkin in his tireless pursuit of Cliffe House Wifi

    Mr Parkin in his tireless pursuit of Cliffe House Wifi

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    Mr Lord in his wheel-free Bath chair

 

11 thoughts on “#CampEd14

  1. Delighted to have been part of a wonderful effort. Met so many great people and am sure friendships were established that will last a very long time. Thank you so much Dughall for your efforts in organising. Will definitely be staying for the whole weekend next time and will be looking to bring others from the North East with me too.

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  2. Thank you, and yes it did pass the ‘spousal test’, where many other events haven’t quite done that in the past! A major factor for us was the relaxed nature and the fact that we could come and go and join in as we chose. Both the older children needed that choice, to enable them to take ownership of the whole weekend. If we’d attended some kind of ‘summer school’ scenario where it all cost a fortune, then there would have been nothing but conflict I think. As it was, we had a LOVELY weekend!

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