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K-12 Teacher "Unconference" for Global Education

Thursday, August 6, 2015
Claudia Cohen Hall, Terrace Room
Williams Hall, 2nd Floor
Twitter: #edcampDVIS (for more pictures)

On Thursday, August 6, 2015, over 60 educators from across the Delaware Valley and Philadelphia area convened on Penn campus for a day-long EdCamp program, an “unconference” for K-12 teachers and administrators. EdCamp Delaware Valley Independent Schools (DVIS) was generously sponsored by Edu-Tech Academic Solutions of Malvern, PA, and co-sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies, South Asia Center, Middle East Center, and American Center for Mongolian Studies, at Penn.

EdCamps are teacher gatherings, or "un-conferences," that facilitate personalized professional development through voluntary, participant-driven sessions. Unlike traditional conferences which have schedules set months in advance by the conference organizers, the agenda is created by the teacher participants at the start of the program. The EdCamp model of “unconference” began in Philadelphia in 2010, more than 700 Edcamps have been held internationally, in 25 different countries and 140 cities.

On August 17, 2015, the EdCamp Foundation announced that they are the recipients of a $2 million dollar grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This will provide EdCamp with a path to take EdCamp to greater heights, offering opportunities for EdCamp to develop “EdCamp in A Box,” “Discovery Grants,” and Regional Organizer Summits.

Teachers who attended the EdCamp on August 6th presented on session topics including: Using the City as your Classroom, Shakespeare, Tech, and Students, Teaching Cultural Bias and Social Justice in Primary Grades, and Global Ed Resources in Philadelphia. The full schedule, along with public notes, can be found here.

Attendees showed visible excitement and energy throughout the day and post-event evaluations also demonstrated the success of the program. Of survey respondents, 76% said that they agree that EdCamp helped grow their professional learning network, 76% reported that they will implement a new idea from EdCamp into their classroom for this upcoming year, and 95% agreed that EdCamps are a great way to deliver professional development.

The Centers at Penn also believe that the EdCamp model is a strong and desirable method of professional development for K-12 teachers and administrators, and look forward to sponsoring future EdCamps for our teacher constituents.