A combination of "More Voice and Choice" and "Make it Playful and Inspiring"

Creating a summer camp for teachers where we 'awaken' and change teachers' perspectives on PD/PL.

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This image describes the beginnings of our ideation phase from our Design Thinking workshop in DC.  We talked about how we might approach re-thinking how we introduce PD/PL to our campers and how we would organize for opportunities that might change the way they view it.  We talked about our own experiences about in becoming connected educators and though we didn't finish, we thought that was an important piece towards finding an opportunity for the larger teacher community!

//Edited 12/16

//re-edit 1/12  - updated with bullet points to help illustrate and highlight the goals 

I think the goals of some type of camp like this would be to have

  • build community and a support structure for faculty
    • often times when we go through periods of transition or go through any type of change, we don't have support structures in place to help us when the going gets tough.  For example, having another teacher who is in your grade level/subject area teaching the same course is very helpful - likewise, when we try to do PD, we should be making sure that our faculty feel that same level of security when they are trying to learn something new or even in the implementation.  So it is important we get a good number of faculty involved so there can be support structures and a sense of community.
  • helping re-frame teaching and learning and being empathetic
    • technology is playing such a large role in education today and it is changing the way we take in information, process information, and even transmit information.  I think it is important for teachers to see how curricular goals, their pedagogical approaches, and general classroom approaches might change to better reflect the world that students are growing up in.  However, there will also be a sense of loss (a loss of the way they've done things previously and of what they've aggregated over the years of teaching) which is something we as PD providers and as fellow faculty need to be aware of.  How can we make that transition less harsh and what can they take from those experiences to apply to new approaches?
  • introducing teachers to learning something again for the first time
    • I remember watching this great talk about how teachers are like Bach or Mozart, who can hear the music in their heads.  However, teaching is not just about hearing the music, but also about transmitting it to someone else.  I think that by engaging teachers in activities that require them to learn again, it might also help teachers to empathize with what students are going through and to see how technology (like flipped lessons) might be able to better help them learn (which hopefully translates over to their work with students).  Teachers who are able to experience well designed flipped lessons rather than just a video will understand how important design is in creating blended learning solutions.
  • have teachers lose their preconceived notions of what PD used to be and to change the paradigm and have them starting to imagine what it could be
    • A lot of teachers who I've met over the years from various schools always complain about the same issues of bad PD.  "They were not relevant to me", "I can't use that", "That was so boring and I don't get how that applies to my teaching", etc.    
      • We want to change that.  I think starting PD in sessions where teachers are engaged, learning something they want to, and being inspired will help to prime them for the professional learning that will ensue in the latter part of this camp.  It will also help to foster conversations between the participants which will hopefully help for some cross pollination between faculty in different divisions, grades, and subject areas in the parts of the sessions when we are talking about the tools and the transformative aspects of tech or teaching approaches.  

Step 1:  Use MIB style mind eraser (Glenn R's idea!) to expunge all preconceived notions of PD as they were and to come in with an open mind!  We thought that for a while, teachers have been given PD that wasn't personalized, that wasn't meaningful, and lacked the substance that gives teachers their purpose.  When we polled ourselves, we wanted PD where we were inspired, got motivated, asked meaningful questions, gave thoughtful responses, and let us take away valuable information to take back to our schools/classrooms.  

Step 2:  Re-immerse teachers in activities that get them to bond and take out 'academic' out of the picture for a moment.  It helps to build relationships with others while being able to take a break from talking 'shop'.  We thought cooking, outdoor activities like archery or something new and unusual would be fun.  The hope would be to get them to learn something new with someone else and experience again what it is like to learn something for the first time.  

Step 3:  TMZ it up!  Just like in the show, we would have a round table of teachers talking about all the great things they were doing and possibly relating it to their activities they did in step 2.  The hopes would be for them to draw parallels from success stories and from failures and to help find those underlying principles that guided great learning/teaching experiences.

Step 4:  This is where we are challenged in re-imagining the opportunities that are out there to help change teacher perspectives on PD/PL.  A couple ideas that popped up included doing internships at other schools, getting support from the communities, and having our goals make sure that it was about the students.  We'd hope that the goal from this experiences leave teachers refreshed, motivated, inspired, and give teachers a new look into what meaningful, effective PD/PL looks like.  

  • I think that we'd want to cover a range of different topics in this section.  In the next 10-20 years, we will be experiencing a lot changes in technology and I'd want to be able to help teachers revisit what their teaching goals would be and how technology can enhance their practice.  We'd introduce a couple examples like Zaption or EdPuzzle to demonstrate how designing lessons with tools like these can increase student attention and grades significantly.  
  • Hopefully there would be options for faculty so they could choose different levels of difficulty and types of tools/approaches so that everyone has something that they want to do.  

Step 5:  Party on a boat!  or something cool to celebrate teachers and everything we do for our kids!  

Other members of our group: Sarah T., Glenn R., and Michael (missing last name)


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TMZ it up!

This post is soooo much fun.
thanks for the update Richard Rho !!!

Everything you describe about this camp makes me want to attend.
And the lessons that I think would be learned could have a deep and tremendous impact on the attendees.

Probably much more so than most PD experiences. and So I am sure a lot of this would stick with teachers and influence their classroom.

I wonder however if there could be some tool that the teachers could take with them that might either be a reminder of the mindset this conference allowed them to adopt - or some other practical device that allows this learning to influence their work far beyond the end of the conference.

Any ideas what that might be?

In the spirit of the "MIB mind eraser" I started thinking about some kind of Harry Potter inspired magical idea keeper that allows the teacher to go back and relive their PD Summer Camp experience and think of ways to adapt it in their classroom on a weekly basis. 


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