Friday, August 7, 2015

For the Love of Learning at Edcamp Grand Forks

With a limited number of days of summer break left for most educators, about 80 educators chose to attend Edcamp Grand Forks on August 6th for the love of learning.

About a year ago, Grand Forks Public Schools Curriculum Technology Partners discussed the possibility of holding an Edcamp.  August 6th was set as the date and plans were in motion.
August 6th - Edcamp Day!
There was definitely a buzz in the commons at Community High School as the educators enjoyed breakfast and visited.  

I provided some brief opening remarks as a way to set the tone for the day. Edcamps are designed to learn from each other.
I also highlighted a recent blog post by Pernille Ripp (As We Start Another School Year) with the thought: “A single decision made by a teacher can change a child’s path forever.” So I posed the question for the educators to ponder, "Is attending Edcamp Grand Forks one of those decisions?" I then provided an overview of what to expect from an Edcamp experience and explained the “rules."
  • Built on principles of connected and participatory learning, Edcamp strives to bring teachers together to talk about the things that matter most to them: their interests, passions, and questions.
  • Teachers who attend Edcamp can choose to lead sessions on those things that matter, with an expectation that the people in the room will work together to build understanding by sharing their own knowledge and questions.
  • “Go where you grow.” (i.e. “law of 2 feet”)
Carla Haaven made a few opening remarks and we were off and running to create the session board based on the interests of the attendees. Check out the SESSION BOARD to view the session topics and session resources and notes.

Throughout the day, there was a noticeable "buzz" of collaboration and learning at Community High School.  

At the end of Edcamp Grand Forks, the attendees completed a survey. I’ll let the comments from the participants speak for themselves:

  • All of the sessions were useful. I cannot believe how much I learned, especially the applications I can use in my classroom.
  • Learning alongside colleagues from a variety of disciplines, schools, etc.
  • It was a great 1st experience at Edcamp and am glad I got to partake in it.
  • The highlight was being able to collaborate with a team of teachers from my school about things we chose to learn about! Yay!
  • Connecting with other teachers and sharing ideas.
  • Really enjoyed connecting with and learning from other educators. We are a great resource and need opportunities like this more often.
  • I love how we decided what we wanted to learn and everything was very laid back.
  • I like the choice involved in learning options.
  • I love watching people learn new things! It is great to be surrounded by same minded people who are positive learners!
  • The buzz in the room of teachers excited to learn was great!!
  • Meeting educators from around the region!
  • This edcamp was very organized and it look everyones unique ideas so we could share with each other to make our classrooms different. I feel this has been very beneficial versus our PD days.
  • Please do this again next August before school starts so I can take this again! I will be spreading the word!
  • Collaborating and networking with other districts.
  • I liked the style of learning. It was not intense or shoved down your throat. It was comfortable and enjoyable.
  • Everyone that is here today, is here because they want to be here. I am impressed by the turnout!
  • I loved hearing teachers from another town talk about how jealous they are that we get to do things like this!!!! We are so fortunate and more people need to get involved.
  • Interacting with people from all over who have different ideas.
  • Met a UND professor and GF Schools parent who asked if he could come and talk to my class about STEM.
  • I just liked the whole day. Very informative.
  • This was my first and I LOVED it!
  • More time (maybe over a period of a couple days)
  • Several throughout the year...nice format.
  • Love the format and appreciate everyone sharing and asking questions.
  • It was more and better than I could have imagined.
  • It was great! I wish I could have attended more sessions!

At the conclusion of the event, I talked with several educators who indicated the need to incorporate Edcamp into some of our professional development/learning time.  It highlights the fact that TEACHERS want choice based on their interest because it will lead to a higher level of engagement and learning.  Hmmm, let me try that sentence again by changing one word; It highlights the fact that STUDENTS want choice based on their interest because it will lead to a higher level of engagement and learning.  We are all learners, so the question is, how can the Edcamp format be incorporated into future school and district level professional development/learning as many suggested in the survey and through conversations?

As I reflected on Edcamp Grand Forks, I reminded myself; “No one was required to attend, but they still came to learn.”  My colleagues in education continue to inspire me by their willingness to learn and strive to be better for their students. Thank you to everyone involved in the planning and organization to make Edcamp Grand Forks an awesome learning opportunity.

No comments:

Post a Comment