PBS Edcamps are bringing PK-3 teachers together in the spirit of collaboration and meaningful conversations around educating early learners. Our Edcamp in Billings, MT hosted 43 teachers from early childhood and primary classrooms. For many of these teachers it was their first Edcamp experience as well as the first time they had attended an event with one another. Bringing Pre-K educators and after school program facilitators to the conversation with K-3 teachers proved to be a rich learning experience for all! In an effort to help these two groups find and connect with one another we set up a “Bling Your Badge” station near our registration area. We wanted Edcampers to start the day by finding one another quickly. We had them add name badge ribbons to their name tags that identified them as Pre-K teachers, Kindergarten teachers or Specialists. We tapped into the natural creativity of this unique group of educators and gave them the opportunity to add color and stickers to their name tags as well. As the day unfolded participants used the name badges to start conversations with one another and start conversations about important topics relating to early childhood education. “Blinging Badges” turned out to be a great connecting activity for our Edcamp and is something we encourage other facilitators to include in their event as well. Learn more about how to set up for “Bling Your Badge Station” here!
Nikki Vradenburg is from the great state of Montana and is proud to be raising her two children, Jessica, 8 and Riley, 3 there! Nikki is the Teacher Ambassador and Technology Integration Specialist for MontanaPBS. She works with teachers in rural schools to successfully integrate technology in their classrooms. An educator since 2001, Nikki has taught K-5 students in a rural school for most of her classroom teaching career. Her favorite moments in the classroom involved lessons where students used technology to create and share about their learning. Nikki is a National Board-Certified teacher with a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership. She is a 2014 PBS Digital Innovator, a BrainPOP Certified Educator, holds Level 1 Google Certification and is a Microsoft Innovative Educator. She is honored to have been a finalist for Montana Teacher of the Year in 2017. Nikki happily delivers professional development to teachers all over the state of Montana and has presented at many national conferences as well. Nikki is also currently working on her Ed.D in Curriculum and Instruction at Montana State University.