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Not your typical conference

KentISD hosts free EdCampGR for educators

Kent ISD — For the first time in eight years, Kent ISD will host EdCampGR, a free collaborative opportunity for educators to share what they are doing in the classroom. 

The event is set from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m Tuesday, Aug. 15 on the Kent ISD campus at the Educational Service Center, 2930 Knapp St. NE.

Often described as an “unconference,” Kent ISD educational technology consultant Ron Houtman said an EdCamp is an informal program organized and run by educators. Houtman hosted his first EdCamp in 2014. Kent ISD last hosted one in 2016.

Houtman and fellow Kent ISD educational technology consultants Sarah Wood and Keith Tramper decided it was a good time to bring the event back to facilitate conversations in education and to show that EdCamps are a great tool for educators. 

Different from traditional professional development, an EdCamp has no predetermined schedule or set agenda. Participants determine topics by suggesting them at the beginning of the event. Sessions are usually discussion-based with the participant who suggested serving as a facilitator. There are no formal presentations and EdCampGR will be vendor free.

It sounds a little chaotic, Houtman said, but the topics spark interesting discussions on how to present materials, engage students and current education topics, such as ChatGPT.   

Teachers have commented that the last time they visited another teacher’s classroom was in college for observations, Houtman said. “They talk about how they never have time to do this (amount of collaborating) in their school or interact with people from other schools.”

TheEdCampGR will include lunch and some giveaways. To register, visit edcampgr.org

Read more from Kent ISD:
Play, laugh, learn
‘Let’s bring them in!’

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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


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