Participant driven learning? Teachers facilitating conversations in areas of interest to them? Count us in! After following the EdCamp movement for some time and attending a few EdCamps ourselves, we knew this was an event we had to host in Los Altos for local educators.
Three years ago our district set off on a journey to revolutionize learning for all students and a big part of our journey has been empowering and supporting teachers. We have rethought how we approach professional learning opportunities for teachers striving to provide differentiated levels of support and choice. Teachers in LASD have access to customized support from three instructional coaches, weekly after school classes in the iLearn Studio and job embedded PD on designated days. Our hope is that all teachers are actively engaged as a learners and are surrounded with learning opportunities of interest to them. Hosting an EdCamp was one more way of engaging teachers as learners.
For our first time, we decided to host a half-day Edcamp. We had about 75 teachers register to attend, and then about 50 teachers actually attended. (We understand how challenging it can be when that Saturday alarm goes off!) It was a smaller group than we had anticipated, but the conversations were very rich and everyone was able to participate. In the morning, participants generated session ideas and a schedule was created that met the needs of the group. We ended up having three one hour sessions, with three choices of conversations to join. Each group was encouraged to collaboratively take notes to be able to share more broadly. The session topics ranged from Design Thinking to Performance Based Assessments. All of information can be found on the EdCamp Los Altos website.
Overall, the day was a success! We sent a follow up survey to all participants and the feedback from was overwhelming positive. Here are a few of the comments shared:
- I liked that teachers took the discussion in the direction they wanted. A lot of information was gained using this format!
- Really enjoyed my conversations with people from Los Altos and those that were from other school districts. It was very validating and empowering.
- Amazing to connect with other passionate like minded educators!
For another perspective on EdCamp Los Altos, you can read a reflective blog from Christina Nosek, a Palo Alto Teacher and EdCamp participant.
A huge thank you to all of our sponsors that helped make EdCamp Los Altos a success! Thank you Khan Academy, Livebinder, Nearpod and Seventh Generation Games.
We look forward to hosting EdCamp Los Altos again next fall! We hope you’ll join us.