Edcamp Sharjah

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Edcamps are free, organic, participant-driven, un-conferences that empower educators to maximize professional learning experiences and peer networks. It’s not just for one day it’s a professional development program and a movement. Edcamp Sharjah was held during November 2017 in the United Arab Emirates. The lead organizer was Dima Yousef. KDSL Global asked Dima about the recent Edcamp Sharjah.

 

What are sample topics that educators discussed at Edcamp Sharjah? 

Edcamp is an open, participant-driven unconference. The content is proposed and provided by the participants, and is often determined on the day of the event.

Some of the topics that were suggested and discussed were Innovation in the Classroom, Classroom Management, Gifted Students, College & Career Readiness, Student & Teacher relationships, Building a Fun Classroom, Project Based Learning, Assessment, Moral Education, and Student Centered Learning.

 

What were the outcomes of the day? 

Teachers, even student volunteers, were so engaged and excited about sharing ideas, tools and best practices. Because of Edcamp Sharjah, some participants asked me if we could have more Edcamps organized at their schools. The energy and the enthusiasm to learn and share knowledge is exactly why I am passionate about organizing professional development opportunities such as Edcamp.

 

How is Edcamp making a difference in educator’s lives?

The unique structure of an Edcamp gives teachers and participants a voice and a choice. It allows them to share their experiences and knowledge in a friendly relaxed environment.  Edcamps, unlike traditional conferences, are about having conversations, sharing ideas, asking questions, and, most importantly, making connections.

 

To learn more about Edcamp visit https://www.edcamp.org/ and Edcamp Sharjah go to https://edcamp.wikispaces.com/edcamp+Sharjah

 

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Encouraging students to consider a career in teaching STEM*

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Profile on Julio Mendez: Science teacher, lifelong learner, and founder of the STEM Education Introductory Program

As well as being a busy Physics and Chemistry teacher in Chicago, Julio Mendez has founded the innovative STEM Education Introductory Program – it gives high school students the opportunity to earn college credit through a series of lectures and hands on teaching practice at a local middle school. We ask him all about the project, and how it came about.


You are a science teacher – where do you teach, and what led you down the path of both STEM and teaching?
 

I teach Physics, Chemistry and the Education 101 class at Perspectives Charter School – Joslin Campus, in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. I also teach Engineering courses (Project Lead The Way curriculum on Saturdays) through Project SYNCERE. This is a non-profit in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood.

Teaching is a second career which found me more due to circumstance than through any active effort. I had returned to school for a Physics degree and was looking for a part time job when my wife suggested I look into Project SYNCERE. I decide to go interview and try it, and the rest is history, as they say. I fell in love with the kids’ ability to look past all the crap they are dealt and still seek knowledge. Having been raised on Chicago’s south side and dealing with a lot of the social issues they are living with made me relatable and my natural sarcastic demeanor and ability to look past slights allowed me to create good relationships with the students. I saw at once that this is where I needed to be and then I just found ways to keep pushing myself to learn, grow and sharpen my craft.

The STEM part is easier to explain: I’m a nerd. I love science and all that it tells us about the universe, I always have. I also understand the need for our communities to be better represented within these fields. We have been neglected for a long time and those who looked away are now realizing that they will need us in order for the world to continue its progress.

 

What inspired you to set up this program encouraging high school students to consider a career as science teachers?

When I was considering become even just a part time teacher, I started looking into the profession and the history of teaching and learning. I came to the realization that education is one of the oldest forms of community building that there is. Until recent human history, we have learned everything from the previous generations in our communities. From hunting and gathering, to planting and growing and so on, we learned it all from our elders, who did it before us and learned it from their elders.

When the opportunity with the Shell Oil Company and the Smithsonian Science Education Center and their call for applications came to my attention I knew the solution had to come from within the community, to create a new lineage of education. There is also a long tradition of finding “fixes” for our communities from outside, as if we hadn’t the talent or abilities to be the solutions ourselves. I have seen our children do some incredible things and come up with some huge ideas that would amaze the greatest thinkers, but because they don’t show high scores or even high rates of high school graduation, their ideas and grand thinking and potentials aren’t acknowledged.  Given all this I knew that the solution to a lack of science teachers of color had to come from our own ranks, the students of color. It was just a matter of convincing the kids they could be the solution and that being a teacher is a viable career (harder than it seems) and convince all the powers that be, this is a viable solution (harder than it should be).

 

Could you describe your aim in setting up the Education 101 program? Who is it designed for and what will they learn?

The biggest aim for the program is to give students of color the opportunity to see themselves as STEM subject teachers. Let them see a side of teaching that they don’t get to see; mostly because they have a very different experience with the teaching profession. They do not have the opportunity to see a lot of themselves in these roles, so they can’t identify with the profession. They just need to see they can and some might.

The students in the class are exposed to the history of education in the country, including the injustices our communities have gone through, the  definition of what a STEM teacher needs to be, exposure to informal science education, observing teachers, the complexity of the classroom, the preparation for lessons, reading and writing college level papers. This will be set around Socratic discussions and group projects that will be catered to the students’ abilities and raising expectations at every turn.

Was the creation of your program partly in response to the lack of diversity found in the teaching profession?

The creation of the program most definitely has to do with the lack of diversity in teaching. It is very difficult to be a teacher of color within a system which serves mostly students of color and yet we are an overwhelming numerical minority, especially in the STEM subjects.

 

A Student’s Perspective: Here’s what one of the course participants, Jada Woodard, has to say about the Program

Why did you apply?

I applied to the Education 101 course because I am thinking about being an educator. I thought it would give me the upper hand when I do attend college to study education. In addition, I wanted to find out if it was really something that I wanted to do.

What’s the best thing about the course?
The best thing about the course is that I am able to learn about the previous educational system, the current educational system, and the future of the educational system. I love that I am able to give my perspective as a student while learning the perspective of a teacher. We are able to talk about topics within the educational system that others aren’t willing to talk about, students of colors and teachers.

What’s the hardest part of the course?
The hardest thing about the course is actually putting yourself in the shoes of an educator. My student mindset slightly limits my ability to think like an educator. It is something that we as a class are working on to do.

What are you learning right now?
At the moment, we are learning how to effectively make lesson plans. In a month or sooner, we will able to teach this lesson plan/activity to a middle school class using the five aspects of an effective classroom that we have learned.
I think the reason there are not many STEM teachers of color is because of the lack of knowledge and resources. I think that in some schools STEM is a luxury. Although we do get taught science and math, it’s not taught or introduced in a way that makes it relevant to engineering and technology.

 

To learn more about the STEM Education Introductory Program contact Julio Mendez at jmendez@pcsedu.org.

 

*STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

iMentor Chicago

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iMentor builds mentoring relationships that empower first-generation students from low-income communities to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions.

iMentor matches every student in our partner high schools with their own mentor  — a personal champion to guide them on their college journey.  It takes hundreds of mentors to serve each school. KDSL Global Founder Kevin Simpson currently serves as a mentor to an 11th grade student in Chicago.

To learn more about iMentor Chicago visit https://imentor.org/where-we-work/chicago.

 

KDSL Global Education Branding Project

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Are you interested in becoming an education consultant? Starting up a new education company? Scaling up your education business?

Then join KDSL Global during  14-21 January 2018 for the Education Branding Project. This week long online journey will provide you with daily tasks leading to a toolkit.

For more information email Kevin Simpson @ kevin@kdslglobal.com.

 

Testimonials from Education Entrepreneurs

“Thank you, Kevin, for being an invaluable resource! As you know, I am new to the world of education consulting and you are the ONLY resource I have found to answer my questions related to building the business. You not only provided timely responses to all of my questions, but also you have made me feel comfortable about asking those sensitive kinds of questions, like pricing, that I cannot answer on my own. You are a wealth of information, and I appreciate your willingness to share your expertise individually and through the upcoming workshop.”

“Kevin Simpson has a talent for a conveying in simple steps something daunting like starting a consult ing business. During the week-long gig Kevin guides you with practical information and motivation to keep you going to achieve your goals. It’s a great way to connect with others and start to build your ED network.”

“My work with Kevin Simpson through his ED Branding program has been an incredible resource for me as I establish my consulting business. Not only did I learn a lot during the initial sessions, Kevin’s continued support and referrals have been invaluable to me.”

KDSL Global Virtual Book 2017-2018

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Dear educators and colleagues,

It is our pleasure to publish our first KDSL Global Virtual Book. This resource allows you to learn more about education organizations and individuals we collaborate with around the world. KDSL Global is a USA and UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally. One big area of focus for us is on collaboration. This book allows readers to find out more about some of our thought partners.

We sincerely say thank you for viewing this book and if you see an organization you would like to connect with and learn more about we highly encourage you to reach out to them.

A link to the book is found here:
http://kdslglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/KDSL-Global-VirtualBook-1.pdf

 

 

Kevin Simpson
KDSL Global
www.kdslglobal.com

 

Teaching and Learning in Ghana

Teaching can be an international career – and even if you’re not ready to relocate permanently, there are plenty of ways to test the water with short term partnerships. UK-trained teacher Heather French tells us about her experience teaching in Ghana for just a few days.

 

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Heather French has worked as both a primary and secondary (high school) teacher, and has over 25 years of experience teaching in schools around the world. During the past three years, Heather has worked as a teacher trainer both in the UAE and internationally. Her key area of interest is literacy and she is an avid believer in the importance of a systematic approach to phonics in the early years’ classroom – a message she is delivering to schools around the world.

KDSL Global’s Kevin Simpson put Heather in touch with the International Community School in Ghana, a school which follows the British curriculum and which has been pioneering and committed to academic excellence ever since opening in 2000. The school offered Heather a position with them and did everything to help facilitate the journey to Kumasi in Ghana: from arranging visas to meeting her at the airport. Heather’s role at the school was to train over 100 members of staff on matters relating to teaching reading and writing skills, balanced literacy approaches, and strategies for assessments. On top of this, Heather was also teaching pupils at all levels of the school, from nursery to high school.

Heather says, “There was a wonderful atmosphere at the school. The staff were friendly and eager to learn, and hugely committed. They were willing to travel long distances during their holidays in order to attend training courses. The owners are passionate about education and it was a real privilege to be involved and to help the school achieve their vision of being a leading school in Africa.”

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The beautiful campus of the ICS.

 

About ICS-K

The mission of International Community School (ICS-K) is to create an educational centre of the highest quality that meets international standards through a holistic integration of academic, social, physical, spiritual and moral training. They aim to raise a new generation of leaders who are productive members of their communities and have a broader vision for the world.

About KDSL Global

KDSL Global is a leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally.