On Friday, August 10, 2018, the Pre-K 4 SA Professional Learning Department sponsored Back to School Edcamp San Antonio. Over 75 early childhood educators from across the city of San Antonio, from pre-k through third grade, were in attendance.
You may be wondering,"What is an edcamp?" An edcamp is an organic, participant-driven professional learning experience like no other. First of all, there are no presenters. That’s right, there are no presenters! As a matter of fact, there are no planned presentations! All the sessions of the day are created the morning of edcamp by ideas collected on sticky notes from each attendee.
Once all the ideas are sorted and categorized, edcamp facilitators group and name the sessions that will be available that day. Once the session board goes up, participants plan which session they will attend and then they are off.
The purpose of an edcamp is to connect educators and get them talking about what matters to them, sharing ideas and resources beyond the walls of their schools and districts.
Edcamp facilitators serve as conversation simulators during each session, but it doesn't take long before teachers engage and lead conversations as they help each other answer questions and provide ideas for common classroom issues.
One amazing consequence of edcamp conversations is how teachers quickly find common ground, regardless of what school or district they are from, and share their experience, insights and resources with one another.
Lori Rodriguez, a kindergarten teacher at Bob Hope Elementary in the Southwest Independent School District shared,
"I really loved the collaboration among other educators because we were able to share ideas and tips to help with the upcoming school year."
Another unique tenet of an edcamp is that teachers have voice and choice. Teachers participate and share in conversations about topics that are of particular interest to them. However, if teachers find that a session is not enriching them or their perspective, or if they feel a participant is dominating the conversation, they can use the "Rule of Two Feet", that is they can leave to find another session that better suits their needs. Edcamp facilitators provide extra spaces to encourage ongoing conversations and opportunities for educators to collaborate with one another.
This year, the Edcamp Foundation provided a circuit board makerspace box to give teachers an opportunity to "learn by doing", which was included as a session option during Back to School Edcamp San Antonio. Teachers who participated in this session explored a variety of circuit activities. It was fun watching the teachers successfully create motors and light circuits from a few simple materials. The smiles on their faces say it all...
Thanks to all the wonderful teachers who came out and particiapted. Hope to see you at our next Edcamp San Antonio!