Edcamp Around the World – Ukraine

UntitledOn June 23-24, 2015, there will be the first ever Edcamp in Ukraine. Passionate educators who “care about the future of our children,” as Oleksandr Elkin, a lead organizer put it, have worked tirelessly to bring the Edcamp model of professional learning to their country. The goal is to “make the voice of every teacher heard,” (Maryna Pashchenko, lead organizer) all 150 of the educators who are coming from all around the country, including those who live in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea and Donbass region, to participate in these days of learning. They are coming from large cities and from small towns, with a wide range of educational experience to share with one another. The two days will include some more standard professional development, but then will host an Edcamp to provide a space for collaboration and learning together.

The initial idea for holding an Edcamp in Ukraine came from Oleksandr Elkin and Maryna Pashchenko of the Educational Producers. They reached out to the Edcamp Foundation and were given support as they developed their plans for the Edcamp portion of the day. They then successfully found support from a wide variety of sources, including Maryna Poroshenko, the First Lady of Ukraine. They also received a letter of support the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, signed by the deputy minister responsible for school education. They also gained support from the Embassy of the United States in Ukraine, from the Global Shapers Community, which is an initiative of the World Economic Forum, as well as from Microsoft, Google and Intel in Ukraine.

Listen to the goals of some of the organizers in Ukraine:

  • Olena Malakhova, Сoordination of volunteers, “We understand that stay put is a step backward”
  • Kateryna Roshchyna, Fundraising genius, “We want to restore the prestige of the teacher profession.”
  • Alina Opanasenko, Powerful PR and promotion, “We are convinced that the teachers are the best agents to promote changes in schools”

Good luck in hosting an incredible Edcamp! We look forward to following this new Edcamp, as it brings new empowerment and community to the teachers in Ukraine.

Edcamp Organizers – Join Us at ISTE in Philly – Tuesday Night!

The Edcamp Foundation is hosting a Philly-style dinner for Edcamp organizers who will be at ISTE. Come and join us! Share your stories! Make connections with others who love Edcamp!

We are incredibly grateful to PAECT for sponsoring this event! They are a fabulous supporter of all things Edcamp. Check out their website to learn more about their wonderful work in Pennsylvania. We also want to thank String Theory Schools for use of their facility!

Tuesday, 6/30, 7:00 – 8:15pm
String Theory School
1600 Vine Street, Philadelphia.
It is less than a 10 minute walk from the Convention Center.

If you plan on coming, please complete this form to let us know!

We hope to see you there! It will be great!

Copy of paect_logo_newscript

Announcing Edcamp USDOED 2015!

The second annual Edcamp United States Department of Education will be on May 29, 2015. The Edcamp Foundation is delighted to be partnering with the DOED again this year in Washington. We hope that this year’s event will build on the conversations and ideas that were started last year, especially the ones about teacher empowerment and teacher voice.

As space is limited, we’ll be running a lottery again this year. The lottery is free and anyone is eligible to enter. You can learn more about that at the event’s website here.

Please note: the lottery is now closed.

So What Do I Have to Do to Get my Edcamp-in-a-Box?

It is an easy process to become part of this fabulous program! The Foundation’s goal is to support Edcamp organizers as much as possible.

For new Edcamp organizers, the first step is to get connected with a member of the Foundation Partnership Program.  You do that here. After talking with the Foundation Partner, you will need to work with your team of organizers to identify a location and date for your Edcamp.

The available items for the box are:

  •      Gift cards for breakfast – coffee, bagels, etc.
  •      Poster paper for signs
  •      Flashdrive with logos, posters, rules
  •      Nametags
  •      Markers
  •      Post-Its for the session board
  •      Edcamp stickers
  •      Copy of The Edcamp Model
  •      Photos of other Edcamps

Your team will then discuss what supplies you would like from the Foundation and will fill out the form.

If this is not the first year for the Edcamp, the organizers will fill out this form, providing information about their last event and requesting support for this year’s.

There will be four times a year when applications may be submitted to the Foundation:  March 1-15, June 1-15, September 1-15 and December 1-15. The Edcamp-in-a-Box will then be sent at the end of each quarter. The Executive Director is responsible for making the decision about who will receive a Box, after evaluating the Edcamps with the greatest need and the resources that are available at the Foundation.

How do we pay for this great program? Great question!

In response to requests from many of our faithful EdTech companies, the Foundation has created a single channel for them to give to Edcamps across the country. Instead of responding, as many of them do, to dozens of requests for cash and swag, they can make a donation of $250.00/Box to the Edcamp Foundation. They can then send us their products, gift cards, etc., and we will add that to the Boxes as they sent out to Edcamps across the country.

Edcamp Essentials at your Door – Edcamp in a Box is born!

edcamp-in-a-boxImagine hosting an Edcamp without any of the hassle of finding sponsors to help pay for coffee in the morning and Post-It notes for the Session Board. What if all of that simply appeared! Imagine that the Edcamp Foundation effectively provides the basics of what you need, making hosting an Edcamp that much easier for the volunteers who organize each and every Edcamp.

Many organizers have told us that the hardest part about hosting an Edcamp is raising the necessary funds to pay for the necessary incidentals: breakfast, coffee, supplies. For some well-established Edcamps, this isn’t an issue. They have sponsors who willingly step forward year after year, but for many others, this is the most exhausting and draining part of the work. So the Foundation decided to take this burden away! The Foundation believes firmly that Edcamp organizers are awesome and deserve all the support and help that we can give them!

So Edcamp-in-a-Box was born!

Edcamp-in-a-Box will provide the essentials for hosting an Edcamp painlessly. Organizers will identify what they need and then apply to receive a Box. This list includes:

  • Gift cards for breakfast – coffee, bagels, etc.
  • Poster paper for signs
  • Flash drive with logos, posters, rules
  • Nametags
  • Markers
  • Post-Its for the session board
  • Edcamp stickers
  • Copy of The Edcamp Model
  • Photos of other Edcamps

More about how to become part of the awesome program in the next blog post, tomorrow!

It All Started with a Tweet

Edcamp Philly Meetup at Educon 2010

Image credit: Rob Rowe

I was an early adopter of Twitter as a means of connecting with other educators, thanks in large part to Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. Little did I know how much it would change my life! I loved the energy and collaboration that was happening there, as educators around the world found each other and built a network. Back in 2009, there were relatively few of us making these connections, and friendships quickly developed. For the most part, I had no idea where people lived; I just knew that they were all passionate about the work that they were doing for kids. The conversations and sharing was addictive!

One night, while I was following my Twitter feed, I saw that a number of people that I knew of Twitter were actually together at a coffeehouse in downtown Philadelphia. They had all just been to BarCamp, an unconference for computer programmers and were thinking about creating one for educators. Thanks to the Twitter world, I jumped right in and have never looked back. One moment, following Twitter changed my life!

Edcamp Philly Wraps Up

Image credit: A kind Edcamp Philly attendee using Kevin Jarrett’s camera

We held the first Edcamp in Philadelphia in May, 2010. We used social media to send out the word. Then, as is still true, Twitter fueled the start of and growth of this movement. People signed up and even more amazingly, people came from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, fascinated by the idea of free professional development that is driven by the teachers who show up. The educators who had connected through social media now had a chance to meet face-to-face and enhance the relationships that they had already started.

Image credit: Kevin Jarrett

Image credit: Kevin Jarrett

That first morning, we set up the empty session board and wondered what would happen. Would people really come? It was a beautiful May morning. Staying home and enjoying the sunshine rather than making the trip into the city seemed like a real possibility. The questions kept flying between us as we set up the Sign-In table and wrote with chalk on the sidewalk to direct people to the entrance. Who would come? Would anyone want to hold a discussion or pose a question for consideration? What if nothing happened?

Kim Sivick & Haldey Ferguson

Image credit: Kevin Jarrett

And what happened was magic! Educators are truly amazing people, people who care so much and work so hard for the students that they teach. They came and began the conversations, sharing with strangers their ideas and their questions. The session board filled up, and the collaboration began. People tweeted about it and around the country and the world, people began to follow #edcamp! The energy in that place gave birth to a movement that has grown in under five years from a single, initial Edcamp to over 600 events around the world.

Edcamps became so powerful because they recognize and honor the expertise of teachers. Each Edcamp is organized by educators, for educators. They aren’t professional development based on what someone else says that you need to learn or know and are truly participant-driven. The sessions continue to be developed on the day of the event, based on the interests and questions of the people who give up their time to learn from and with other educators. There are no Outside Experts; the teachers who show up, working together, are the experts.

The passion of the teachers who come is electric and empowering for all who are there. They are people who believe in doing whatever it takes to make their work in the classroom the best that it can be, bringing the best to their students. They want to grow and believe that they can, that the system and the challenges that they face are not bigger than the power of committed educators working together. While sometimes the conversation is about edtech and new tools that support student learning, in the end it is really about the students. Edcamp educators just care about the kids who show up in their classrooms every day. Taking a Saturday to learn and share is just a piece of what they give every day to make their practice the best that it can be.

The Edcamp Foundation was formed to support and enhance the work of the organizers and participants of the Edcamp movement. In October, 2014, NewSchools Seed Fund gave the Foundation a grant so that we could hire an Executive Director. The Foundation Board asked me to take on the challenge. After decades in the classroom, I decided to go for it. It was an amazing opportunity to support something that I believed in passionately.

It was also slightly terrifying! It meant leaving a job that I understood to take on a whole new identity. While there are many skills that were transferrable, many have been brand new to me. Truly, being an Edcamp person saved me. The fact that I am part of a movement that so passionately believes in learning and change means that I approach each day with the mindset, straight from Carol Dweck, that believes in growth. I will slowly master all of the skills that I need. Until then, people have been amazingly generous with their time and expertise, helping me master what I need to know.

My days vary wildly, to an almost amusing degree. Because it is just me, building this Foundation and its programs from the ground up, I go from times of writing a Strategic Plan and Employee Handbook to answering tweets and explaining what Edcamp is to people who have never heard of it, from giving interviews and talking to major funders to designing a business card and reading blogs on nonprofits. Each day is a new challenge, as I make decisions about what needs to be done and then figure out how to do it.

Hadley Fergsuson, Executive Director, The Edcamp Foundation

Hadley Fergsuson, Executive Director, The Edcamp Foundation

There is never a moment, however, when I am not acutely aware that none of this would be possible without all of the dedication and hard work of every single one of the organizers and participants of each Edcamp around the world. I am simply lucky enough to now be the face of their hard work. I truly stand on their shoulders! Without their volunteer work, hours and hours of time, there would be no Edcamp movement. They are making it possible for me to talk to major funders about giving support to enhance this form of professional development. I am incredibly humbled each day by what they have made possible, and I am committed each day to give my very best to this Foundation and the people that it represents.


The 12 Days of Edcamp!

present-150291_640Give the gift of Edcamp using the #edcampgift hashtag over the next 10 days!

This December, get in the giving spirit with Edcamp. The Edcamp Foundation knows that each and every Edcamper is generous with their leading, learning, and sharing. So, have some fun this holiday season giving to other Edcampers around the globe! Whatever you celebrate, please join in the fun! It’s as simple as Tweeting, Instagraming, or Facebooking with the #edcampgift hashtag! Each day, we’ll be choosing one tweet. That tweeter will get to give a 100 dollar donation from Remind to the Edcamp event of their choice!

For more information, visit: https://www.smore.com/tkgnp

Welcome to Veteran Educator Hadley Ferguson, New Executive Director of The Edcamp Foundation!

Today we are pleased to announce that Edcamp Founding Board Member Hadley Ferguson has been named Executive Director. The current Board – Kevin Jarrett, Kristen Swanson, and Mary Beth Hertz – have charged Hadley with overseeing many new initiatives that will enhance the growth of the Edcamp movement. Hadley expects to be focusing on support for Edcamps nationally, fundraising, and collecting data on the impact of the movement.

Hadley Fergsuson, Executive Director, The Edcamp Foundation

Hadley Ferguson, Executive Director, The Edcamp Foundation

Hadley is leaving her position at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she has taught Middle School history since the fall of 2001. In 2011, the Library of Congress announced that Hadley had been selected as a member of the Teaching with Primary Sources Mentor Advisory Group, serving with 19 other master educators to assist the Library in supporting teachers in their use of digitized primary sources through a Teachers Network. In 2013, the National Association of Independent Schools named her a “Teacher of the Future.” An accomplished writer, she has published articles for the International Society for Technology in Education’s Leading and Learning and co-authored a book with me, Unleashing Student Superpowers: Practical Teaching Strategies for 21st Century Students.

Hadley was instrumental during the founding of the Edcamp Foundation, an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to supporting and nurturing the growth of participant-directed professional development for K-12 educators nationwide. The Foundation was created in response to the demand that followed the original Edcamp Philly, an event made possible by Hadley and ten other visionary Philadelphia area educators who came together to provide teachers with a more informal and organic means of improving their professional practice. Rather than following the model of traditional professional development featuring lecture-based instruction, Edcamp Philly offered a schedule of sessions – discussions, not presentations – suggested and led by the participants at the event. Inspired by Open Space Technology and the principles of connected & participatory professional learning, including user-driven events that preceded it like EduConEduBloggerCon, Barcamp, and even TeachMeet, Edcamp Philly brought educators together to talk about student learning, classroom pedagogy, curricula, innovative educational technologies, and more.

Since that first event in Philadelphia, there have been hundreds of Edcamps worldwide organized by passionate educators who believe in the movement. More recently, growth in Edcamps internationally has been dramatically accelerated by generous support from members of the Foundation Partnership Program, who have answered hundreds of questions from educators around the world from people committed to bringing an Edcamp to their area. It has been an incredible five years! We want to take this opportunity to thank the worldwide Edcamp community for helping to empower teachers as they take ownership of their professional learning. We look forward to this exciting new chapter with Hadley on board as Executive Director!

Kristen Swanson