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BCSD EdCamps reflect commitment of teachers

Published Thursday, October 4, 2018

While educators teach, they also never stop learning. Those professional development opportunities often come after hours and in some cases may not cover what our teachers feel like they really need.

That’s why educators in Berkeley County say they’ve jumped to the front of the EdCamp movement.

EdCamps are described as “unconferences” during which sessions are led by teachers on topics decided by the participants.

A few weekends ago, Berkeley Middle School hosted what was the second BCSD EdCamp, and it attracted teachers from all over the Lowcountry and beyond.

“We actually had teachers from three other school districts,” Berkeley Middle teacher Kim Dunbar said.

Mrs. Dunbar was one of the BCSD educators behind the planning, which mostly involves making sure space is available and participating teachers are treated well.

“Part of the reason we're doing this is to give back to teachers, who give so much,” she said.

Dunbar said teachers arrive with ideas, share insight and techniques on established topics and leave with a “swag bag.”

“You are getting away from that sage on a stage thing and having more of a collaborative environment,” she said.

Most of all, Dunbar said what’s learned is extremely valuable.

“It’s put together by your peers, based on what your peers are saying is important,” she said.

Teachers packed areas of BMS on Saturday September 22 for about five hours – discussing everything from the role of music and social media in classrooms to creative approaches to classroom activity. Though not planned, every session focused on the Four Cs of 21st Century learning (critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity).

In the end, Dunbar said EdCamps reflect the dedication of teachers.

“You are giving up a Saturday to work on your craft,” she said. “…Public education isn’t dead. I hope people can look at this and say, ‘look at these people and what they are doing to meet my child’s needs.’”

BCSD educators are planning to host another EdCamp, and information will be released once the date, time and location are finalized.

Brian Troutman