August 2nd-4th, I had the privilege of attending Rock Star Teacher Summer Tech Camp. What an amazing 3 days filled with lots of learning and fun. I had planned on attending this camp when it was scheduled to be held in Calabasas and really struggled with the decision of attending up in O’Neals. I am so glad that I made the choice to go!
What This Was Not
This was so not your standard run-of-the-mill professional development.
There were no back-to-back 45 minute-60 minute sessions crammed into a huge room without any hands on time. Sessions and lunch breaks were deliberately longer than is the norm. The number of registrants was kept small on purpose. This allowed for really getting in and playing with the ideas and tools being presented and down time to absorb what you’d heard and to socialize with other attendees.
There were no presenters who read from their presentations or who fumbled with the tools they were presenting. These presenters were all (or almost all) Google Certified Teachers and/or Apple Distinguished Educators and they really knew their stuff and were inspiring just to watch for how they presented as much as what they presented!
What This Was
This was an opportunity to hear about the sessions from the presenters themselves every morning during the Shred Sessions. What a great way to help attendees learn more about what their choices were each day. The biggest problem that I had was deciding which sessions to attend each day since they all sounded so good!
This was a chance for me to visit Yosemite for the very first time on a Photo Safari with Ken Shelton. An amazing experience and my only regret is that we didn’t have more time there.
This was a chance for me to take away real, practical things that I can and will use at my school with my students or with my fellow teachers.
- Inspired by Dave Childers, I am going move our school calendars into Google Apps for Education and get our staff on board with using at least this tool.
- Inspired by Diane Main, there will be more Google Map & Google Earth activities in the lab this year. Last year, my 4th graders created a California Missions Google Map. That will definitely be happening again but I am also planning some ideas for my Middle School students too.
- Inspired by Ken Shelton, I am going to build a photo library for use by my students. Now, I need to find the money to buy Lightroom!
- Inspired by Jim Sill & Kyle Brumbaugh, my students are going to start telling stories with movies. First up, Google Search Stories with my Middle School students.
- Inspired by Jon Corippo, my students will be leading their own learning more. I see Google Presentation Karaoke in their future!
- Inspired by Gini Pierce-Cummings, I plan to try Collaborize Classroom with my 6th or 7th graders. I think this might be a better fit with one of the classroom teachers rather than in the Computer Lab but I see some great online discussions happening as we try this out this year.
Perfect PD, right? Well, of course not – nothing’s perfect. If I were I a Rock Star, here are a few things I might change:
- I’d add a beginner’s strand. I traveled to Rock Star Camp with a beginner and she was pretty lost during much of the 3 days.
- I’d make the Yosemite Photo Safari at least a 1/2 day thing with sessions only in the afternoon. Or, make it an all day Outdoor Ed opportunity and hold hands-on sessions at Yosemite on photography, geocaching, live blogging a field trip and more!
- I’d move it closer to me! 🙂
Thanks to everyone at Rock Star Teacher Summer Tech Camp. I hope I’m able to do it again next year!