MACUL (Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning) and CUE (California’s MACUL counterpart) came together to bring an amazing Professional Development opportunity for educators from 5 states. Andy Losik, from MI, and Jon Corippo, CUE RockStar Baby Daddy, have been talking about bringing the wildly popular RockStar Camp to Michigan for a while now. Finally the stars and planets aligned, and over 100 educators gathered in Saugatuck, MI for three outstanding days of learning, connecting, and fun.
For those not familiar with RockStar Camps, it’s three days of hands-on learning and creating, with a TWO hour lunch. Yes, you read that right, teachers actually get a TWO hour lunch – with ice cream! Each day participants learn and create in small learning groups (10 people or less), and really dig into concepts and tools for 2 hours. There are only 2 sessions in a day.
This Professional Development is like no other. It is/has:
- Affordable – ridiculously so
- Has catered TWO hour lunches
- Small group instruction
- All hands-on, and creation based
- Outstanding faculty and participants
- Unique ‘After Party’ activities
- Connections, connections, connections
The three days in Saugatuck were jam packed with joking, laughs, learning, and connecting. Drew Minock showed off the awesomeness of Augment Reality, Tammy Lind showed off the capabilities of Google Maps, and Jon Corippo, well he just brought it! To see all the sessions and notes, check out CUE RockStar Saugatuck.
The Connections Continue:
After days 1 and 2, Andy planned some unique experiences for everyone. Day 1 included Dune Rides. The Dunes in Saugatuck aren’t like the dunes you are used to. They are unique in that they were brought about by cutting down trees long ago. As a result, the top soil eroded leaving the sand, found underneath the top soil, exposed. When the winds kick in, sand gathers around trees and buildings. There is an actual town that was buried as a result. The views are breathtaking. At the highest point, you stand 300 feet above sea level and are surrounded by trees (actually it’s just the tops of 3 trees), grass, and sand.
The west coast of Michigan has wineries – who knew? We were able to get a tour of Fenn Valley Winery in Fennville, MI. The evening was perfect. Not too hot, not too cool, and low humidity with a slight breeze. We were taken out to the vineyard where we sampled white wines and learned about the types of grapes that grew well in the area. For tasting reds, we went into the barrel room. We were truly treated like Rock Stars!
In The End
It is safe to say that everyone who was in attendance, learned a few things, made lasting connections, and had a great time. I truly hope that these RockStar Camps continue to grow in popularity throughout the country. They are just the jumpstart that I, and others, need to rethink, redesign, and challenge us as educators. As a teacher – and a RockStar Faculty Member – I crave this type of PD. Without this type of PD, I would very easily slip into being a complacent teacher: one that is never challenged. It has been through discussions with other educators at these events, that has helped to transform my teaching and educational philosophy.
NOTE: The first picture is that of a screen cleaner made by Andy Losik’s daughter. She is raising money in order to buy a dirt bike. And yes, that is the one I bought.