Saturday, April 14, 2012

Summer Camp for Teachers!
I attended the Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute in San Diego, California in July, 2011.  It was the most inspiring, motivating, and enriching professional learning experience I have ever had as an educator.  I tried to break it down and figure out why it worked so well for me.  I have been in so many professional learning situations, both as an instructor and a student in my 23 years in education, that I am a pretty tough customer.
I think the top three reasons it worked for me are:
1- It was highly selective- the attendees had to apply and have a common outlook on education and somewhat common knowledge base.  This kept the sessions from being uninteresting or repetitive.
2- It allowed numerous opportunities for networking in unstructured environments.  If you are reading this blog you are networking and learning from me.  Those personal connections are what benefit me at my job day after day during the year.
3- It was a perfect combination innovative and creative and traditional.  Some elements of typical summer camp were involved (leaving home behind in order to focus on learning, meeting your new suite mates, meal times together, planning projects together, etc.)  But there were also some unexpected elements such as surprise field trips, awesome visiting speakers, and a brisk, rich schedule.
If you haven't attended a summer Ed Camp- I highly recommend it.  Get a sitter for the kids and pack your bag- you won't regret it!