An unconference is an opportunity for you to take charge of the learning. In a traditional conference setting, the session topics are decided in advance by the conference committee and you, the participant, need to choose the workshop that is the best fit.
In an unconference, all of the sessions are proposed while the conference is happening! If you’ve just been introduced to a topic or tool and want to explore it further, propose it as an unconference session. If there is an idea that you have that you’d like to bounce off of other people, propose it as an unconference session. If you’d like to get some classroom partners at other schools to work with you on an upcoming unit, propose it as an unconference session. These are just some ideas. Anything can be proposed as an unconference session. You, the participants, are in total control of your learning.
As unconference sessions are being proposed, other participants will vote on the ones that sound interesting to them. You can vote for as many sessions as you like. If it is something that you would like to attend, walk by and put a tick on the proposal sheet. The proposals that receive the most votes will be given a time and place, and anybody who is interested in discussing that topic can attend. If the unconference workshop that you were hoping to go to doesn’t get enough interest, maybe you can find at least one other person to chat with about it and you can make your own unconference session!
Once the session gets going, it is up to the participants to drive the conversation and learning forward. There may or may not be an ‘expert’ in the room. Unconferencing is about exploring and being an active learner and about everybody helping the other participants in their session.