EAST HELENA — On Wednesday, August 23, at East Helena High School the 10th annual EdCamp West was held which offers a chance for teachers to share ideas and prepare for the coming school year.
“It’s a good way for us to pick up our energy before the school year starts,” a Science teacher at East Helena High School, Christa Schoenfeld said.
Before the halls are full of students and the lockers are filled with books, over 70 teachers gathered to facilitate and participate in educational conversations that mattered to them.
“Learning from teachers, by teachers and being able to collaborate with each other to better serve the children we teach,” Tricia Haines, a 5th grade teacher in the East Helena School District said.
Montana EdCamp West is a free professional development opportunity that allows educators to learn from each other.
The attendees introduce the conversations they want to have and the conversations they feel comfortable facilitating.
“Ed camp is amazing cause it is different every time you come, and it is what you put into it,” said Schoenfeld.
Teachers learned about digital tools that are available to them now.
“Just learning some of these new apps and electronic things are available to us is really helpful to me as I navigate my classroom,” Amy Allen, a Special Education teacher in the Helena School District said.
“I facilitated so gamification type of session where we talked about different platforms and tools that are available to teachers for review, for assessment,” said Schoenfeld.
They also talked about digital tools that could appear in the future.
“AI tools for teachers and what are students might be using AI for in the classroom to recognize that that is coming and something that we need to embrace and figure out how to use in a good way,” Schoenfeld said.
These lessons will continue to help teachers throughout the year and help them start their classrooms off on the right foot.
“Because their voice was heard and what kind of professional development that they need they’re able to take what they learn from their session and implement it on day one,” said Haines.