Facilitating 101

At edcamp, the sessions are determined on the day of by the people in the room. They might revolve around a particular topic or concept you’re interested in, a question you’d like answered, or even a lesson, project, or idea you’d like help with.

Each session also needs a facilitator, and any participant is able to do that! Not sure you want to do one on your own? Consider co-facilitating!

Our goal at edcamp is not just to have inspiring conversations, but to really dig deeper and see real change and action happen. In order to do this, we want to provide some tips and tools for those of you who are thinking about facilitating a session.

Start with a general, but thought-provoking question or two
Get the ball rolling with a question that can go in many different directions. Keeping this first question open-ended will help to stimulate further conversation, but make sure you also have a bit of an angle so the discussion doesn’t veer off into space.

Ask probing questions
Go further than surface-level discussion by delving into participant’s answers. Just like you would in a classroom, extend the thinking! Here’s a little document that gives some more information about probing questions.

Mix it up! Interact!
The beauty of unconferences is that there is no script. Facilitators are not meant to be presenters, and it’s not a requirement for the entire session to be spent just talking. Itching to get ideas down on paper or start collaborating on something? Feel free to do that. We will have materials available if the mood strikes.

Share your learning
We have created a google slideshow for the day’s event, which we will make public the morning of. We’d love for someone in the session (it doesn’t have to be the facilitator) to document the learning that’s happening in the room on a slide. It would be great to have a snapshot of all the ideas from the day that everyone can refer back to and use for future collaboration.

Think of it as hosting
Being friendly and relaxed will go a long way to setting a comfortable tone in the room. Just like you would at a party, start up conversations and let them run their course. Help people make connections with one another and remember that each person is different and brings their own unique experiences to the table.

So those are just a few ideas – feel free to add your own tips in the comments!


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