January 23 — 7:57 pm, 2012

EduCon 2.4 panel with the Notebook

Samuel Reed and I are convening a conversation entitled "Teachers as innovators and social entrepreneurs" Sunday afternoon at EduCon 2.4.

EduCon is a conference that brings innovative educators from across the country to Philadelphia to learn from leaders at Science Leadership Academy, and from each other. Instead of conference sessions, attendees participate in engaging conversations. In addition to the two of us, our panel will include:

  • Anissa Weinraub, high school teacher and member of the Teacher Action Group,

  • Michele Mckeone, an autistic support educator and social entrepreneur of the startup Autism Expressed, and

  • Rashaun Williams, student at Science Leadership Academy and co-founder of the nonprofit Phresh Philadelphia.

It will be moderated by Notebook Web Editor Erika Owens and Swarthmore College Professor Cheryl Walker.

During the discussion, we will look at how in school districts across the country, innovation or changes to curriculum and pedagogy are being dictated from the top down. Often innovation comes in the form of a pre-packaged scripts developed by large educational companies.

We already started a conversation about teacher innovation and social entrepreneurship through a series of blog posts. The posts centered around exploring ways innovation and social entrepreneurial principles could improve teaching and learning in our struggling schools. We would like to extend this conversation to EduCon participants and beyond.

The purpose of this conversation is for educators to think about, and act upon, the conditions necessary for bottom up, educator-lead innovation. The goals for this discussion include:

  1. Crowdsourcing what places exist for teachers to meet and develop innovative curriculum and pedagogy.

  2. Answering the question "what makes these places successful?"

  3. Identifying capacities in each participant’s area to start up such a place.

  4. Matching capacities to resources, who can help us, do we know what kind of help we need?

  5. Creating a virtual space that participants can access after the conference to share successes and find help with their endeavors.

While joining the discourse about those goals the audience will consider some of the following questions:

  • Who are the people in your professional posse who can help you support your innovative ideas?
  • How can you collaborate with others both face-to-face and online?

  • What are the challenges of promoting teacher innovation for school reform?

  • How do online networks promote or complicate teacher innovation ?

This conversation will be a kick off event for a planned Philly Teacher Innovation Meetup group that will provide a place for teachers to network, share ideas, and present innovative projects that could benefit a larger education community.

Please join us Sunday, 12:30-2 p.m. in Room 304. If you cannot be there in person or online, please leave your feedback below for us to consider in the discussion.

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