February 10, 2022 | By Allison Modica
The Edcamp Community by Digital Promise recognized that teachers needed a unique platform to help them share new insights and practices for teaching remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Enhancing its well-established, participant-driven model for teachers by teachers, the Edcamp team partnered with Transcend and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to develop a series of online Edcamps, infusing insights from research with the Edcamp model and learning sciences principles centered on Transcend’s Designing for Learning framework to help educators better understand how learning happens and how to apply this knowledge to learning design.
Educators were invited into the co-design process to create spaces to learn relevant, immediate, and essential skills while connecting with one another to surface challenges and share insights into what is working for their learners.
Over the course of the series, three main findings emerged in the data, which we’ve compiled in a new report:
This research-in-practice Edcamp series was an exciting opportunity for the Edcamp Community to center conversations around the learning sciences topics of individual variability, identity, motivation, and cognition. While each session focused on a single topic, educator responses through open-ended survey questions demonstrate that the entire series centered on educators’ learning to better support students.
Conversations focused on learning science topics and offered educators volunteer opportunities to participate in panel discussions and/or moderate breakout discussions. Selected panelists and moderators were invited to a pre-Edcamp background building session to dive deeper into the topic of discussion, suggest content for Edcamp breakout discussions, and review resources to share with other educators. This iteration of the Edcamp model provided educators with new strategies, a deeper understanding, and, in many cases, a newfound commitment to creating intentionally designed spaces for each learner to thrive and succeed.
I think it will foster more participation from students, and it will give me an opportunity as an educator to build a relationship and make a connection with them. I will be able to use some of their interests to foster a connection with learning new material.
– Educator Participant
Overall, this series was an experiment to learn whether the concept of merging learning sciences with educator-driven professional development was possible. The Edcamp Design for Learning Series successfully built engaging opportunities for educators to learn about research-based approaches to thinking and teaching, and for educators to walk away with relevant, practical strategies that can be applied right away. Educators shared enthusiasm about the experience throughout their surveys and, in some instances, called for more sessions that followed this format.
We will continue to provide opportunities for educators to co-create their learning and demonstrate leadership through the model and core tenets of Edcamp. Through our ongoing outreach and support, we will encourage educators to share their learning using this format to organize and host Edcamps for their communities of practice in their schools, districts, and regions.
If you are interested in organizing an Edcamp, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.