As schools and districts across the country transition to distance learning, educators are seeking new ways to engage their students in powerful learning experiences at home. In this post we highlight the power of Edcamps to support educators to learn from each other, and invite educators to participate in Edcamp: Powerful Learning at Home, an online professional learning event hosted by Digital Promise and Edcamp Foundation.
When third grade teacher Ashly Jones reflected on what kind of professional learning experience would be beneficial while educators and students stay home, she immediately thought of Edcamp. Typically hosted in-person, Edcamps provide educators the space to learn with and from each other in a collaborative format that elevates the experiences and expertise of all participants. “Whether the educator is new or well-versed in the session’s topic, they typically walk away with new ideas, collaboration, and co-educators’ contact information to further discuss this topic well after the EdCamp has concluded,” Ashly said.
In light of the challenges teachers face in the transition to distance learning, Ashly organized her her first virtual Edcamp, which converted the interactive, collaborative nature of the in-person Edcamp to an online format. The virtual Edcamp covered discussion topics such as online learning, how to conduct formative assessments while students and teachers are at home, and mental health of students and teachers, among others. “Conversations quickly turned into how we are overcoming the hurdles and what more we can do to make the most of this situation for our children. That feeling of community was something I will never forget in my lifetime,” Ashly said.
Similarly, Ariel Jankord, a first grade teacher at Olathe School District USD 233 in Kansas, organized a virtual Edcamp for districts within her county in response to the shift to teaching and learning from home. “After completing our first successful [in-person] Edcamp, we were pumped to head into our second Edcamp with new ideas and a clear picture of how it would be run,” said Ariel. “When everything began to cancel we were devastated. We just couldn’t let go of the Edcamp, which led us to the idea of going virtual.” They offered educators Zoom rooms where they could lead and participate in discussions of their choosing and incorporated attendees’ suggestions on the event format. “We were amazed at the ownership that our attendees took and that’s what’s so special about Edcamps,” Ariel said.
To support educators of all grades and subjects who are adjusting to distance learning, Digital Promise is hosting Edcamp: Powerful Learning at Home on Thursday, April 30. This event builds upon our partnership with the Edcamp Foundation to support Edcamps around the country.
Edcamp: Powerful Learning at Home is a free, unconference-style professional learning event where educators will create the agenda, lead session topics, and learn from each others’ experiences and expertise. In line with the Edcamp tenet that emphasizes experiences and conversations instead of planned, expert-led presentations, Edcamp: Powerful Learning at Home will provide a space for educators to engage in discussions of their choice and network with their peers across the country. “Edcamp is more than just a sit-and-get experience,” Ashly said. “Not only are we advancing our skills and depths of knowledge, but we are connecting, collaborating, inspiring, and experiencing topics that are very important to each and every one of us.”
If you are an educator seeking support from other educators on the transition to teaching and learning from home, register for Edcamp: Powerful Learning at Home. Upon registration, you can propose session topics and indicate if you would like to moderate a discussion. The agenda for the Edcamp will be emailed to participants on April 27.
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