A group of local teachers sacrificed their Saturday mornings last month to attend the Los Altos School District’s Edcamp, a gathering of Bay Area teachers designed to share practices and ideas for professional development.
Approximately 50 teachers participated in the camp, half from schools in the Los Altos School District. The conference was participant-driven, with no predetermined agenda, according to Alyssa Gallagher, the district’s director of strategic initiatives and community partnerships.
Teachers listed on a whiteboard the topics they were interested in and those they wouldn’t mind facilitating. The list of topics resulted in nine different sessions, including Khan Academy, Design Thinking/Class Redesign, Global Read Aloud, Genius Hour, Inquiry-Based Learning/Performance-Based Assessment, Online Tools, iPad Management, Robotics/Game Design and Graphic Organizers.
Teachers took notes in the different sessions and posted the information online for anyone, especially elementary school teachers, to reference.
“Everyone left on a high,” Gallagher said. “People asked when we would host the next one.”
Blach Intermediate School instructor Jason Dewberry said he enjoyed the experience.
“I met teachers, parents and educational entrepreneurs from around the Bay Area,” Dewberry wrote in an email to the Town Crier. “It was fun to be a part of the process as it organically unfolded. Pretty inspiring.”
Dewberry said a session on flipping the classroom (or reverse instruction) was particularly motivating. The technique includes using the Internet to access video lectures before class, then doing what used to be the homework in class with the teacher’s guidance, instruction and discussions.
“There were newbies and experts sharing ideas, advice and examples,” he said. “Honestly, I have been hesitant to begin the process, but I walked away ready to take on the challenge.”
Gallagher said she thinks the district will host the Edcamp on an annual basis and plans to use the same format at an internal staff development day.
For more information, visit sites.google.com/a/lasdk8.org/edcamplosaltos.