As with any dynamic duo, there’s beauty in the balance. This year, two previous technology facilitators are prepping to prove the third summer’s a charm.
It will be lights, camera, action from June 10-14, when Joel Wisser and Michael Bailey co-star as facilitators for the Making Media strand at Camp Plug and Play 14.0. Once again, the pair from Saddle Mountain Unified School District will bring their yin and yang to take campers from novice filmmakers to creative extraordinaires.
Behind the scenes, the two haven’t always had leading roles. For years, Wisser and Bailey were event attendees. It wasn’t long before their expertise was brought to the attention of the Arizona K12 Center staff.
“Mike and I have worked very closely together since 2013. I like working with him because we have a similar sense of humor. I feel each of our strengths complement each other nicely. With the daily deadlines and stressors that come with our jobs, it is really nice to have an extra set of eyes and ears to catch possible problems and bounce ideas off each other,” Wisser says.
Come June, they will pack up their high-tech gear and matching outfits to drive from Tonopah to Tucson. For five days, they will impart their wisdom and knowledge on about 25 campers, all registered to learn how to make media—think photos, videos, movies, and more.
In the peak of summer, you might wonder why 10 facilitators want to spend their vacation time teaching 125 of their peers. As previous campers, Wisser and Bailey have a unique perspective and can’t help but preach the benefits.
“We feel that the skills and tools we share with campers are easily integrated into any classroom, which increases student engagement and comprehension,” Wisser says.
Bailey agrees, adding, “Camp Plug and Play is what I call ‘just in time’ professional development because you don’t have to wait months to implement what you’ve learned into your curriculum. You can begin utilizing the tools you’ve learned at camp immediately in the planning of next year’s curriculum.”
Wisser’s 12 years in education have been spent in elementary grades 2, 5, 6, and K-8 teaching technology education. Combine that with Bailey’s high school teaching experience, and therein lies their recipe for teamwork. The duo can differentiate content to ensure all participants can engage, and their combined sense of curiosity keeps them learning how to amp up strand content year after year.
“I’ve been a ‘geek’ for years. I was privileged to have technology in my home as an early teen. That driving curiosity has continued into adulthood,” Bailey says. “I have been fortunate to learn a great deal from Joel. I have also had the opportunity to attend previous Camp Plug and Play trainings, ISTE, and Arizona Google Summits, as well as professional developments events that my district offers.”
In his mind, once a learner, always a learner. Fortunately, his friend and colleague Wisser feels the same way.
“For as long as I can remember, I have loved learning about how things worked. We didn’t get a computer at home until I was a senior in high school. In college, I began working at Best Buy, and that is when I really got into computers. Most of my expertise with technology is self-taught. with the exception of some of the basic computer courses I had to take in school.”
Whether your story is similar to Wisser’s or Bailey’s, now is the time to register for Camp Plug and Play 14.0. And, if Making Media isn’t up your alley, have no fear! Read the descriptions for the other four strands, which include Personalize with Google, Coding for Kids, Making Websites, and Making HyperDocs.
Need a further push to register? Here’s what longtime tech guru and midweek keynote, Tony Vincent, has to say about the upcoming event.
“I’m excited to see the familiar and the new faces at Camp Plug and Play. I love to be around all of the energy and excitement that comes from eager educators learning new skills,” he says. “There are so many great ideas shared that I leave with pages of notes of things to try myself.”
Each year, the event sells out quickly — request a purchase order or lock down a method of payment now. We hope to see you at Camp Plug and Play 14.0.