This summer, over 140 teaching and support staff attended the district’s Norski Camps to learn more about integrating technology and STEM tools in meaningful ways for student learning.
According to Christine Rybak, the district’s Technology Coach and co-organizer of the Camp, “Norski Camp combines the best concepts of professional learning and the structure of EdCamps into an event of summer learning and leading at DASD.” This was the third year of the multi-day camp that began in 2013 as a new approach to professional learning in the district. An additional day in June was added for classroom support staff geared toward their learning needs.
Instructional staff attended Norski Camp August 4-6 at the middle school. Sessions were offered at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, and were designed to improve instructional strategies and professional workflow, and learn additional tools to improve literacy.
A new addition this year was the Maker Studio. Spearheaded by Learning Information Systems Coordinator, Kimberly Bannigan, a temporary maker space was created where staff could experience and tinker with STEM activities. During the three days, staff tried their hands at controlling robots, creating circuits, programming, assembling a Raspberry Pi computer, 3D printing, and other STEM activities. Several staff members from the DeForest Public Library attended the Maker Studio sessions. “As we begin to implement Project Lead the Way programs and build new spaces, it’s important for staff to be well-versed in maker technologies and the opportunities they offer all learners,” said Bannigan.
The June 15 camp for classroom support staff included learning more about Google tools, iPads, classroom technologies, Microsoft Office programs, Skyward, and other technologies. Sessions were organized around their work, needs, and common questions. Library media specialists and library assistants helped plan and deliver sessions for this new event.
The district’s Technology Integration Leadership Team, made up of staff throughout the district, meets continually plan professional development opportunities and provide leadership for activities such as these. According to Rybak, who leads the team, they have five guiding principles as they are developing Norski Camp:
- Provide relevant and initiative-inspired learning opportunities that are facilitated by our peers and colleagues.
- Connect learning targets to ISTE Standards for Teachers, district areas of focus, and individual curriculum. Start with the Why.
- Schedule enough time per session to dive deep, personalize, and make meaning.
- Incorporate choice and flexibility wherever possible.
- Teach and learn together in a comfortable and casual setting.
More information and photos are available on the Norski Camp website.