← Conversations

Teachers as innovators and social entrepreneurs

Session 5
Sam Reed, Timothy Boyle, Anissa Weinraub, Michele Mckeone, Rashaun Williams — The Philadelphia Public School Notebook, Expressworks, Teacher Action Group

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.

The Philadelphia Notebook started a conversation about teacher innovation and social entrepreneurship through a series of blog posts authored by Samuel Reed, III and Timothy Boyle. The conversations 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 particpants 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 first goal of this discussion is to crowd-source what places exist for teachers to meet and develop innovative curriculum and pedagogy. The second goal is to answer the question "what makes these places successful?" The third goal is to identify capacities in each participant's area to start up such a place. The fourth goal is matching capacities to resources, who can help us, do we know what kind of help we need? The fifth goal is create a virtual space that participants can access after the conference to share successes and find help with their endeavors.

The panel will be moderated by the Erika Owens, the web editor of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Cheryl Walker of Swathmore College. The moderators will serve as the discussants and facilitate the discourse about the importance of teacher innovation.

Conversational Practice

The moderator will provide specific context for the panels platform with brief remarks regarding the theme of the conversation and format of the facilitated discussion. (3-5 minutes)

The moderator will call upon each panelist (3-5 minutes) for opening remarks. Opening remarks will provide examples of teacher innovation and describe how teacher networks develop innovative practices (15- 20 minutes)

Next, the moderator will lead panelists in a facilitated discourse intended to uncover strategies that leverage teachers social capital (human resources, online resources, teacher networks) for supporting teacher innovation. The moderator will add to or enhance the discussion stems. (15-20 minutes)

The moderator will lead the audience in a facilitated conversation about their own innovative projects or ideas. Through this focused conversation the audience will reflect upon their own narratives and map their own networks.

While joining the discourse the audience will consider some the following questions:

     Who are the people in your professional posse who can help you support your innovative   

    How can you collaborate with others both face-to-face and online and ?

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

    How do online networks promote or complicate teacher innovation ?

The end of the session will allow for questions and answers (10-15 minutes)

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Presenter Profiles

Timothy Boyle
Timothy Boyle
Science Leadership Academy Middle School


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