Sunday, April 29, 2018

After The Workshop: PD Comes to Life at PS 176

Innovative Educators understand the value of high-quality professional learning opportunities. They take what they learn and put it into practice in their schools and classrooms. I had the opportunity to connect with innovative educators who did just that during the annual Maker Faire at The Ovington Tinkering School in Brooklyn. At this school their motto is “Tinkers are Thinkers.” This Faire was conducted to showcase the work of all the tinkers who make up the school.  

But if it hadn’t been for the technology professional learning opportunities they attended, students never would have had the opportunity to dream big and engage in work that is worthy of the world.

From Summit & Workshops to Implementation

Principal Elizabeth Culkin explains the idea for this work came after she brought a team of teachers to the annual #NYCSchoolsTech Summit the year Dale Daugherty spoke.  She realized then that it was the work of her students that made up what Dale refers to as “The Greatest Show AND TELL On Earth.”

From there Culkin and her staff attended more tech summits, faires, workshops, camps, and certification programs to hone their craft and bring their learning to life in their school. The school's Tech Specialist, Stephen Amachee explained that one of the reasons he finds these workshops so valuable is that all material is available to participants digitally. Presentation materials, handouts, etc. That makes teaching the workshop back at their school to even more teachers possible.

Social Online Learning Provides Ongoing Support

In between these learning opportunities, the staff also turns to the power of their district’s online learning community #NYCSchoolsTech which connects tech learners and lovers (and those who support them) across New York City schools. There they receive ideas for inspiration and instant feedback for any questions or concerns that may arise when bringing what they learned back to their work.  

As a Teachers College Reading and Writing Project school, the staff teaches students that their work and voice can have a positive impact on the world.  The MakerFaire embraces that idea and highlights the school’s four core areas of focus where students aim to positively impact the world: Sustainability, engineering, robotics, and coding.

You can take a look at the innovative projects the students created in the photos below.

Your Turn

What do you think? How have you been inspired to bring back to your work, what you have learned during professional development opportunities?

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