Melissa Techman and I hereby invite you to the new, ongoing #nerdcamp!
After a successful proof-of-concept camp during Spring Break, Melissa and I felt that it was important to continue with camp. We believe in participatory professional development, we believe in teachers as learners, and we believe we have a lot to learn about the media, competencies, and opportunities available to our students in new learning spaces. We want to co-learn with other teachers and from student mentors. We want to unpack the power of play to transform professional practice. We want to provide a continuity of experience that allows us to make deep dives into new media so we can discover and imagine a bigger picture of all that is possible for our kids.
You are totally welcome to join us. We won’t learn all we can without you.
The new, ongoing #nerdcamp will run every Friday afternoon in April (starting on the twelfth) from 1:30 to 4:30 PM in room 105 of the Community Public Charter School (co-located downstairs at Burley). Our emergent focus is physical computing – finding ways to create meaning and new products from content (like, the world), stuff (like cardboard), and coding. However, the #nerdcamp tent is a huge one. If you are more passionate about making than coding, or if you would rather talk pedagogy than pinModes, #nerdcamp is still definitely the place for you. Keyword: participatory learning.
We will continue on into May, but depending on testing schedules, we may need to pick and choose some Fridays. We will share out a schedule for May later this month.
The overriding purpose of #nerdcamp is to help us adults partner with our kids in creating learning spaces that champion meaning, making, and play.
Our intended audience includes local educators and administrators (from all sorts of learning spaces), as well as parents and visiting educators. We run a Google Hangout during camp so educators can drop in from afar to observe, ask questions, and offer help. Attendees should also always feel free to bring things that they want to learn to use or share with others as peer mentors.
Because we think it’s important for schools to make participatory professional development in the classroom a routine and vital part of their work, we are thrilled to be open during school hours so that some of our students can serve as mentors for adult participants. As Melissa says, “a key feature of any makerspace is that there are helpful people available. Students must see the possibility of them being in that role. We have to have a clear path for students to step into that role of expert.” We think we can best get at that vision while students are at school; we think that schools can best prepare kids to be experts and mentors by making those roles available during the school day.
However, given our schedule, we know that regular attendance can be tricky. Here are some possible ways to participate:
- Talk with your administrator about professional leave for you or a team to attend a few times a month or in a rotation. Invite your administrator along to see how important this work is for us to unpack as learners.
- If your school day ends before 3:00 PM, come by for the second half of camp each week.
- If you work close-by, visit camp during lunch or an afternoon planning period.
- Join the Google Hangout each week – perhaps during an afternoon planning period or right after school. You can DM me for an invite each week.
- Road trip! Drive in from anywhere in the region. You can visit Melissa or me in the morning and join camp in the afternoon.
- Attend at least one session and bring the gist of #nerdcamp back to your own space with a schedule better suited to hyper-local needs.
Okay. What else? Details.
- Please sign up each week. We can gather materials or recruit special guests for our hangouts if we know what folks are most interested in each week.
- Please sign-in upstairs at the Burley office when you arrive at camp. #nerdcamp is a safe camp.
- Please share #nerdcamp with colleagues and parents who are curious or passionate about participatory learning in new kinds of learning spaces. Ultimately, we want #nerdcamp to be just another node in a robust, rhizomatic network of new learning spaces; we don’t want camp to end up being a hub or “center.”
Here is the sign up. Please note that you can add a row and yourself to any session that seems filled.
Here is a flier to post and share.
As participants complete specific tasks using specific skills, I plan to make online badges for those skills/competencies/accomplishments. The badges are tokens of the gift community we’re building for ourselves and our kids at #nerdcamp. Participants should feel free to make and share their own, as well.
Please join us and enjoy the discovery and delight of learning about new media, pedagogy, and spaces in community. Let me know how I can help you attend. Six seasons and a movie!