Breakout EDU: How to escape the monotony of Professional Development
Day 3 of my ISTE experience began the best possible way, experiencing Breakout EDU for the first time. If you have no idea what Breakout EDU is, check out this article USA Today wrote about the new method that is transforming what learning looks like.
Essentially, it is similar to the escape room idea: hints and clues are provided while the team uses their knowledge (phones allowed) to get inside of a box with more clues, and/or the final lock to break out of the room.
The great part is the puzzle or mystery can be about anything- different content topics, professional development strategies, anything! The learning occurs in a naturally collaborative experience that makes participants excited about learning.
The topic my team got was 8th grade Science. Eek, I'm an English teacher! Luckily, the clues were not nearly as content heavy as I thought, and really stretched everyone's ability to synthesize information. It also helped to have a few team members who experienced the game before and helped lead us. Otherwise, it may have been difficult since some of the clues can be tricky- sneaky game makers.
The best part? Since 20 minutes is given to break out, I felt an adrenaline rush the whole time while actually learning about science. I didn't know most of the people on my team, but I wanted everyone to win. It was great to see the team dynamic and almost seamless division of tasks. More than an exercise in learning, it was a great social experiment to watch.
ISTE TEN Playground: Focused Professional Development in your PLN
Another highlight of Day 3 was getting to volunteer to help spread the word of using Twitter for professional development. Thanks to the ISTE Teacher Education Network, I got to spend about two hours answering teachers' questions about Twitter. From starting an account, to how do I gain followers, all different levels of users came. This was one of the best moments out of my whole trip because I got exactly what I wanted out of ISTE: a chance to connect with other educators.
At times ISTE can be overwhelming, so many people, always a crowd. It's a little intimidating for introverts like me. Volunteering at a playground to share about a topic I'm passionate about was incredible. I felt it fulfilled the one-on-one connection I so desired, while exposing people to a powerful social media tool. Check out what people tweeted about the stations at the playground here or browse the full Resources page.
If you're planning on attending ISTE 2017 in San Antonio, consider volunteering. It truly provides a unique experience.
Michelle Moore is a public education advocate who strives to empower schools and teachers to positively impact student success.
Disclaimer: This blog is a representation of my views alone and do not represent in any way the views of the school districts, organizations, or persons that I collaborate with.