Something to teach, something to learn: why #educampakl still rocks!

Low-fi signage by author
Low-fi signage by author

A bit late in posting this but as always, better late than never.

I’ve lost count of the number of educamps I’ve been to since @fionagrant gave me a lift up to Educamp Tai Tokerau 2 years ago.  But suffice to say it’s been a few. The beauty of educamps is that each one is always different from the last and even old hats like me get something out of it.

The problem with educamp is that it has forever ruined the traditional ‘sit and get’ model of Professional Development. As a learner I have a very low tolerance for any PD  I feel isn’t meeting my needs.

My takeaways from #educampakl:

I’m moving away from the technology. The more educamps I attend,  the less I find myself less interested in what the technology does but more how technology is being used to transform learning. As I mentioned in the think slam something that has been bugging me of late is this idea of ‘oh hey we used to do something this way but now we do it on a computer.’ What’s your purpose? What’s the effect of this effect of this on student learning? How are you changing learning culture in your class or even your school by using this technology? I suppose this is a natural progression for me as a learner.

20%Time via @traintheteacher
Image by @fionagrant

Innovators in schools can feel incredibly isolated.  Outside the pockets of awesomeness,  I suspect there’s a few educamp attendees that are likely viewed as one of the ‘crazy ones‘ in their school.  Educamps are a way to connect with like-minded educators and pick the brains of others who share a similar passion. Innovators thrive on collaboration. This is why educamp participants will sometimes travel 100s of kilometers on their own coin to attend these events.

Wise school leaders support and encourage innovative teachers to do their thing.

The chocolate fish is finally mine!
The chocolate fish is finally mine!

Our faculties of education are not preparing their students to be 21st century teachers. Much as I loathe the term ’21st century learning’ it’s an ongoing issue and not one that there has been a great deal of change since I was student two years ago.  The result being that our beginning teachers are falling back to how they were taught. This isn’t good enough.

Teachers need to stop assuming that our students are going to be the ones that will force our institutions to change. There’s a lot of racial and socio-economic privilege wrapped up in the idea that our students are going to be the ones that force a change in the status quo. It assumes that not only that all kids and their families are able to challenge our institutions to do better but more importantly feel they have the right to. Put simply the standard we teachers walk by, is the standard we accept.

Student-driven learning = lots of teacher scaffolds. Daily 5, 20% time/passion projects etc. Kids need scaffolds to channel their energy into the tasks at hand. Making links back to the NZC and making effective use of time is something I’m working on at the moment with my kids. I’ve been impressed with my students’ engagement but know we can do better.

Being an awesome teacher is a journey not a destination. As always I’m amazed at how many educators willingly give up a morning to come together to learn. It was fantastic to renew old connections and make new ones.

Onwards to EducampPalmy…

4 thoughts on “Something to teach, something to learn: why #educampakl still rocks!

Add yours

  1. I totally agree with what you say about technology – it is only valuable when the students are engaged and benefiting from it… I love technology in the classroom (and I work outside of the U.S., so we rely heavily on technology for resources, connections, etc.), but encourage the teachers I work with/train to focus on quality over quantity. I’m not concerned about how many technological resources they use, but on how they use them and how the students actually benefit from them…


  2. I was saying “yes” a lot during your post. ICT does need to be all about improving learning and making more learning possible. It’s not about bring clever or showing off. It is about having fun and being engaged. My son and I made an animated video on the weekend demonstrating the difference between a protagonist and antagonist. The learning that went on there was gold AND it is now learning that can be shared. That’s the beauty of technology for teaching and learning.


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