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Ed Camp Atl: When Teachers Lead Professional Development

Organizers Wanda McClure and Nikki Robertson take a break for the cameras.
Organizers Wanda McClure and Nikki Robertson take a break for the cameras.

I went to Ed Camp Atlanta over the weekend. What did I think of the event? This is what teacher professional development should look like! Teachers from five states ran the show so to speak - deciding what workshops should be presented on the spot and by whom.

After lunch, every attendee had a chance to present their ideas in two minutes in a session called “Smackdown.” In case you missed it, here in brief is what I learned from it. By the way congratulations to the Ed Camp Atlanta organizers and attendees as the hashtag #edcampatl was trending on twitter because so many people were tweeting about it!

What Topics Teachers Voted on:

Some of the topics included: The Evolving Job of the Media Specialist, Emergent Topics in Education: From Gamification to Mobile Communications.

@MissMac100 Blogging Workshop

Her real name is Carol McLaughlin and she gave a wonderful session on how to introduce blogging to young students. Her idea came from @mcteach who developed the paperblogs concept. Through paperblogs, students write their blog post on paper and others commented on the blog using sticky notes. The student blogger is required to keep up with the comments and reply by sticky notes too.

McLaughlin employed paperblogs to teach digital citizenship - and the dos and don’ts of commenting. Then she created a real classroom blog using the kidsblog application. This tool allows teachers to create a group blog where all students get a username and password in order to contribute. The teacher retains editorial control on which comments to approve.

McLaughlin has used the blog in multiple ways. For example. she has created posts asking students to submit “Short A Words.” Through this exercise, she was able to gauge the critical thinking and reading level of her students.” In another post, she took a a photo of an insect and asked students to tell her what insect it was. (Not an easy feat given how the photo was taken!).