@MCDPEL Innovations Lab

Sustainable Networks Through #EdCamp, #EdSims & #FutureReady Summits

Posted by Joe Mazza

6/12/15 4:50 PM

Education leaders attending non-traditional conferences in growing numbers

On July 13, 2015, EdCamp Leadership events will take place in 17 different locations around the United States—as well as one location in South America. The movement, which was started by a group of Philadelphia educators in 2009, brings together educators for professional learning in an unconference format, with participants crafting the day’s agenda as the event begins. All EdCamps are FREE, so register soon before your event location fills to capacity.

Read more about the EdCamp movement.

The Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Ed Leadership (@MCDPEL) has been a partner of the EdCamp Foundation for the past several years, serving as host of this free annual summer event for school leaders in Philadelphia. During last year’s August 4th event, more than 250 educational leaders from nine states were in attendance, sparking a conversation on expanding the event across the country in order to provide more local opportunities for state departments of education, local associations, and those with limited resources and unable to travel.

According to Hadley Ferguson (@hadleyjf), Executive Director of the EdCamp Foundation, there have been over 700 EdCamps around the world since the movement launched in 2009. The non-profit is growing based on interest and funding support internationally, and she serves as the go-to supporter for EdCamp organizers everywhere.

On May 29th, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) hosted its second EdCamp in the last two years. The day brought together educators, leaders, parents and policymakers from around the country to engage in participant-driven, relationship-based professional development.


Richard Culatta snaps an end of day selfie with @MCDPEL’s new selfie stick at the U.S. Department of Education’s EdCampUSA.


A few highlights from 2015 EdCamps thus far…

    • National Association of Secondary School Principals (@NASSP) became the first professional organization to experience EdCamp firsthand. NASSP kicked off their annual conference by bringing leaders and board members together for a session.
    • The New York City Department of Education Principal Preparation Division hosted two highly attended EdCamps, further embedding these unconference-style adult learning events into their repertoire. Both the Thursday evening and Saturday morning EdCamps were highly attended by NYC education leaders and DOE staff. More on that experience including feedback from participants here.
    • At the National Association of Elementary Principals’ (@NAESP) National Conference this summer, there will be EdCamp express sessions built into the centrally located Innovations Lab schedule. Follow #NAESP15 for details. Check out this month’s Principal Magazine centered on Networks for School Leaders.

Is higher education preparing teachers and leaders for new trends in professional development?

What are teacher and leadership programs doing with students, staff and alumni to model unconference formats for teaching, learning and leadership? During the #EdCampUSA held last month at USDOE, Secretary of 

Education Arne Duncan (@ArneDuncan) was asked about the role of higher education in modeling unconference formats. Duncan cited the work of Richard Culatta, Director of the Office of Educational Technology at USDOE (@rec54), who recently claimed that “I’m Not That Tech-Savvy” is no longer an acceptable phrase for educational leaders.

Culatta also co-facilitates Future Ready Summits across the country. His team, along with the Alliance for Excellent Education (@All4Ed), has partnered to create a Framework for Educational Leaders.


A team from the Office of Ed Tech will be at Penn GSE to discuss what "Future Ready" teacher and leadership preparation programs might look like at MCDPEL’s ‘Twas the Night Before #ISTE15 Reception on June 27th. If you would like to attend this interactive session, please RSVP here


#EdSims recording taken in the @MCDPEL Innovation Lab. Pictured: Ryan Monaghan (Principal/MCDPEL alum)

Bringing leadership simulations online

MCDPEL has worked with the National Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) on multiple Future Ready summits this year, and has worked with Ken Spero of Penn Ed Leadership Simulation (PELS) to evolve the Community Partnership scenario for superintendents and principals into a LIVE, synchronous simulation to be used by leaders around the country working together to meet their own unique needs. The first demo of this SIM took place in Denver. To experience one of these educational leadership sim (#edsims), visit this PELS sim on dress codes.

@FUTUREREADY Presentation 1: Community Partnerships Gear

@MCDPEL Presentation 2: What MIGHT Future Ready Professional Learning Look Like?

More on the Future Ready Schools here

Upcoming learning opportunities

Topics: EdCamp, Leadership Simulations, edtech, PELS, futureready, edsims, edcamp leadership