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Using barcamp for in-school PD

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Started by Karen Spencer 04 May 2012 11:33am () Replies (1)


I saw Mark Osborne's tweet (@mosborne01) recently on how he and his staff were managing their professional learning and asked him to tell us more.

He has kindly shared this example of how they are using a barcamp/unconference format as part of their school's approach to professonal learning:

Barcamp schedule

"At Albany Senior High School, one of the cornerstones of our teacher professional learning is teaching as inquiry. It's empowering and enabling to give teachers time to inquire into what their students need, find strategies to meet those needs and evaluate the improvement made in student outcomes. It's so important to being a teacher at ASHS that we give all of our teachers an hour a week (in lieu of 'staff meeting') to do this. They work in teams and coach and mentor each other through the process, with every member of the team bringing their strengths to the task. 

At the end of an inquiry sequence we share the lessons we've all learned so that our colleagues can benefit from our inquiries. In the past we've used strategies like 'speed dating' to enable staff to tell their story to as many of their colleagues as they can, but this term we decided to use an 'unconference'.

So how does it work?

Anyone who has a good idea to share is welcome to convene a session. If teachers have been developing good strategies for promoting reading, they write up the title of the session and anyone interested attends. It's a great way to share teacher knowledge while empowering staff to help each other make change.

If you're interested in learning more, a group of us (including Tim Kong and Tara Taylor-Jorgensen) have set up a site called 'Run your own barcamp' for schools and teachers interested in doing something similar. The link's here: http://wikieducator.org/Run_Your_Own_Barcamp_Kit"

What do you think of this idea? Could it work in your school?

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