Professional Learning should be an experience and a meeting of the minds. My role as Professional Learning Facilitator (PLF) at Oakley Elementary School, in Fulton County, GA is one that allows me to design and implement innovative ways to deliver high quality professional learning. In my quest to look for something different, a unique way to offer teachers input on self-identified professional learning and needs led me to the Edcamp format. I’ve heard of Edcamps and have even been invited to a few, but had never thought about how this experience could be impactful on a smaller scale at my school. After further research and approval, #EdcampOES was designed with teachers in mind, to deliver professional learning with a purpose!

The field of education is ever changing and finding new and exciting ways for teachers to stay current on trends and best practices is and can be a daunting task. This is even more evident when teachers don’t get to have a say in what they want or need. Students are often given choice and voice in the classroom, but this best practice is not often transferred outside of the classroom with professional learning. Why is this? Why can’t professional learning be differentiated, purposeful, and personalized as well? Well at Oakley, we are daring to do things differently in hopes to get better buy-in and to create opportunities for colleagues to have a safe space to learn and lead each other.

Our first mini Edcamp was kicked off on October 9, 2018. During grade level meetings, I met with teachers to introduce the concept and virtual session board (www.bit.ly/EdcampOES) to gather their interests and expertise. The virtual session board serves as a central hub for resources that will continue to build as sessions are presented. Once input was added to the session board, I started the vetting process to see which sessions could be created. I also searched for teacher-facilitators in the building that would not mind sharing with their fellow colleagues. Four sessions were created, two workshop sessions (Google Classroom and Tech Integration in the Classroom) and two collaborative conversation sessions (Differentiated Instruction & Classroom Management). During the workshop sessions, teachers came ready to dive in with the implementation of a learning management system and tech tools that they could easily access to introduce, deliver, or assess content. During the collaborative conversation sessions, teachers from various grade levels shared best practices in their classrooms along with a few common misconceptions and pitfalls to be mindful of during implementation.

At the end of the sessions, teachers completed a survey to give feedback, glows, and grows that will be used to tailor future Edcamps. Our mini Edcamps are offered monthly and serve as an opportunity for vertical teaming, planning, and implementation of what matters most to the people on the front line because WE ARE ON THE RISE! We are looking forward to growing and sharing as we use this platform to deliver professional learning with a purpose!

Nefertiti Singleton, Ed.S. is a Project Based Learning Lab Teacher (K-5) and Professional Learning Facilitator in the Fulton County School District in Union City, Georgia.