Tomorrow, our school district will host its’ second annual Edcamp. The event has given our teachers the opportunity to infuse their own voice and choice, while allowing us to focus on district professional learning goals.
While our event is not structured as most traditional edcamp events, it gives us the chance to allow teachers to choose topics that are relevant and meaningful to their daily roles. For most edcamps that occur on weekends, the attendees choose to attend, sometimes driving several hours to join other willing educators. When planning our event last year, we carefully considered this fact. Having 200 educators who choose to attend an edcamp on a Saturday is very different from requiring 300 staff members to attend on a Professional Learning day.
Required attendance could have limited the positive impact of the edcamp experience. However, several factors allowed our event to be a success. The first key decision was made to remove any uncertainty from the event. Many of our staff members had never attended an edcamp before. We decided to create a schedule before the day of the event to make our teachers more comfortable, and encouraged staff members to share their expertise with colleagues on topics tied to district goals.
This year, more than 40 different sessions will be offered to staff members. Some teachers will use the time to explore and learn more about technology initiatives like Google Drive or Google Classroom. Many teachers will take part in discussions about behavioral practices in both the regular education and special education classrooms. This topic is a carryover from last year’s event, proving to be one of our most popular and requested sessions for this year.
We are also offering a staple of traditional edcamp events. While many sessions are already scheduled, we will also leave several rooms and timeslots available for teachers to decide on sessions on the morning of the event. After gaining an understanding of the purpose of the edcamp in year one, we are ready to spread our wings in year two. Teachers will have more sessions to choose from, more available times to attend, and the freedom to create their own sessions.
Our teachers are looking forward to the event, being given the opportunity to personalize their professional learning experience, while focusing on relevant topics and content. The day will give our district the chance to continue to make Professional Learning more meaningful for staff members.
So, on this Night before Edcamp, we prepare to celebrate the opportunity to implement professional learning that puts our teachers at the heart of learning!