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DCSD teachers expand technology skills at Geek Camp 2013

PARKER – “Speaking geek” was the theme as teachers from the Douglas County School District (DCSD) gathered at the Challenge to Excellence Charter School in Parker for the 2013 Geek Week.
This event was created by DCSD in an effort to help teachers understand the latest technology tools, so they can utilize them in motivating students’ 21st century learning.
“If you give teachers the time to learn and adapt, instead of just giving them the tools, they’ll actually take them back and be able to integrate them into how they work,” says Geek Camp facilitator Beth Mossholder.
“We want to be able to teach these concepts the quickest, most thorough, most motivational way that we can,” Soaring Hawk Elementary Teacher Sue McTigue added. “That’s what technology can help us do.”
Geek Camp provides a place and time to receive and share knowledge with direct, collaboration and ‘unconference’ sessions at no cost to attendees, which include not only DCSD teachers—but also their colleagues from across the metro area.  Course subjects combine themes with tools, including but not limited to communication & collaborating using Advanced Google Apps, Constructivism:  Inquiry methods in project based learning, and giving learners a voice using info-graphics and QR codes.  
"I have learned so much during the classes and don't feel completely lost when the instructors speak 'geek,'” said Maureen Fesker.  “I would have to say that my geekiest moment this week was when my mom called me to ask me computer questions.  She thought I would know the answer since I was going to Geek Camp. And yes, I answered the question correctly!”
For teachers that live in an ever, changing world of educational models, most agree that technology is a tool that help’s them motivate students in the 4 C’s approach.
“I think the 4 Cs are all about technology integration. Communication, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity; these are all things we’re looking for in students and some of the most creative and innovative ways to get the out of students is using digital tools to help them,” concluded facilitator Beth Mossholder.
By all accounts geek camp was a big success. At the end of the week of events, several teachers left comments about how beneficial the professional training opportunity was.
Bev Tash
“What am I not learning??? I have created my Web Page, my ePortfolio, learned how to utilize Google Docs, created a Padlet & a Symbaloo.  [I] explored global resources and have PLAYED, EXPLORED, and REFLECTED  and COLLABORATED EVERYDAY! I LOVE GEEK CAMP!”
Carla Odle
“What an experience, I learned how to utilize Google Docs,created a Diigo account that I will use in augmenting my student's high school math experience. I learned that info-graphics could be a great way for stats students to convey their understanding of the data.”
Kathy Carter
“I am learning so much about how to create kindergarten ePortfolios in a manageable way (last year I did it without expert support and made so many time-consuming errors). A huge take away is how to have the students be responsible for their ePortfolios. I hadn't thought it possible and have totally changed my mind! After attending Debbie Blair's iPad session and Rebecca Salverson's ePortfolio session I experienced how "flat" our ePortfolios were last year. They were substitutions for physical portfolios. The possibilities are so exciting!”
Nancy Geilen
“I am learning about all things Google this week. Each session has been a great experience! My geekiest moment happens after camp ends and I go home and continue being geeky for 4-5 more hours. Geek Camp makes you realize that what you think you know is really just the tip of the iceberg.”
Read more of the teachers’ comments at
July 15, 2013 | By Anonymous | Category: Professional Development, Educational Technology

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