Teacherpreneur Communities

One of the best aspects of building TeacherSquare over the past year has been meeting dynamic educators and school leaders from teacherpreneur communities across the country. I’ve created this list to highlight the ones that I have been inspired by and have connected with directly. I’ve also included Twitter handles and hashtags so you can join the conversation and connect with them yourself.

  • Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ): A research-based advocacy group that seeks to further the role and impact of teacherpreneurs. CTQ Collaboratory is an incubator for teachers’ bold ideas and innovative solutions and they also welcome all who value teachers as leaders in the classroom and beyond. Anyone can sign up (check out my profile) and begin virtually collaborating with teacherpreneurs around the world. (@TeachingQuality)

  • EdUnderground: Bringing together education technology pioneers and early adopters from various districts across the state of Rhode Island in partnership with the Business Innovation Factory (BIF) to explore technology models, approaches and solutions to enhance student achievement. Lead by Shawn Rubin, Director of Tech at Highlander Institute and founder of MyMetryx, their group conducts regular Meetups and Twitter chats (#EdUnderground and #EdchatRI.)

  • 4.0 Schools: Matt Candler and team are building a community of curious people committed to unprecedented innovation in education and are at the heart of the education ecosystem in New Orleans. 4.0 engages a diverse group of innovators through variety of program offerings- Essentials (one-day/weekend workshops) as well as a virtual and in-house accelerator programs.  (@4pt0Schools)

  • Stanford d.school K12 Lab: This group recently relaunched with some exciting on and offline efforts to support teacherpreneurs in the Bay Area and beyond. They just closed their application process for the fellowship program they will be hosting this upcoming school year (AY 13-14) and are launching 2.0 versions of @projectbreaker and @sparktruck experiences in June. (@K12Lab)
  • Digital Harbor Foundation: Fosters innovation, tech advancement, and entrepreneurship through educational initiatives in their hometown of Baltimore and beyond, with a focus on digital literacy, maker activities, and tech workforce development. Director Andrew Coy also supports the regular Baltimore EdTech Meetup events to connect with local educators and technologists. (@DHFBaltimore.) An Estuary is a newly developed (for-profit) spin-off from the DHF focused on “leveraging mobile-first tech, data and collaboration to improve professional development.”

  • LearnLaunch: Seeks to expand the education ecosystem in the New England area. They offer classes, peer group learning, conferences, networking opportunities and other educational services to individuals and organizations seeking to work with educators, students and families to enable the growth and success of the learning ecosystem. Their first accelerator class, LearnLaunchX, will begin in June 2013. (@LearnLaunch)

  • EdSeeds: An educator-focused incubator program that is designed to encourage innovation in Colorado’s K-12 schools by providing a platform to help educators solve specific classroom challenges in novel ways. (@EdSeeds)
  • EdLab: research, design, and development unit at Teachers College, Columbia University that hosts a variety of seminars and seeks to connect the education, technology and research communities. Their publication, the New Learning Times (NLT), provides daily coverage of the transformation of learning opportunities in the information age for those shaping the future of education, including profiles of various education leaders. (@EdLabTC)
  • Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF)- leads the Integrated STEM Teacher Corps, a cadre of teachers working together to overcome challenges in implementing a transdisciplinary approach to STEM education. Meetings are monthly at Silicon Valley Education Foundation.  The meeting format is a combination of guest speakers with an exciting tool, project, or idea to share and time spent sharing challenges in teaching STEM and collaborating with peers on solutions for an integrated approach to teaching STEM.  For more information, contact Amy Wong at amy@svefoundation.org. (@SVEFoundation)
  • CityBridge Education Innovation Fellowship: In partnership with New Schools Venture Fund, CityBridge launched a year-long fellowship from Jan – Dec 2013 for ~12 educators in the Washington DC area. This program includes local and national school visits, speakers, technology demonstrations and discussions.  In addition, Fellows will design and lead blended learning pilot programs during the summer of 2013 and the 2013-2014 school year.  The Fellowship is an intentional investment in teachers—the classroom leaders who can spark instructional innovation through breakthrough uses of digital content and tools.

I’d love to see this list grow, so leave a comment and let me know if there is anyone I missed. As this ecosystem develops, ideally we will create an easy way for educators across these groups to connect (a network of networks) and share what’s happening in their local school communities.

Teacherpreneur Spotlight: Celebrating Innovative Educators

(This is the first post in a Teacherpreneur Spotlight series I’m writing for EdSurge.)

Lynbrook Tech Menu Day

Tech Menu Day at Lynbrook High School

How do you spot a teacherpreneur? They are the secret force that will lead to true educational reform, yet very little attention is paid to these important agents of change.

As we rethink the future of education much of the buzz, especially in edtech, is focused on the technology and tools. Very little of the conversation is about the individuals using these tech tools to transform this complex system. However, as we all make big bets on what is going to improve teaching and learning for all students, a significant factor will be how the role of educators will evolve and adapt to match the energy of new learning environments and methodologies.

So who are we talking about, exactly? The teachers on the front lines in the classroom who are looking for online tools to help with their math lessons? Or the tech coordinators and specialists who help decide which ones to use? Or those who, after many frustrating years in the classroom, decide to take it upon themselves to build the tools that they wish existed? And what about the librarian?

MindShift’s Tina Barseghian wrote a great post back in 2011 asking the very same question: “What the Heck is a Teacherpreneur?” Barnett Berry, who founded the Center for Teaching Quality and was one of the first to use the term “teacherpreneur,” has a book out later this summer,Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead But Don’t Leave, that focuses specifically on identifying these talented educators and empowering them with opportunities to be entrepreneurial while maintaining a strong role in the classroom.

And over the past few years I’ve met some incredibly inspiring ones myself. This was one of the reasons that I launched TeacherSquare, to support entrepreneurial educators and improve the resources available for them to pursue innovative approaches while working within the confines of the K-12 system. There are other similar teacherpreneur communities popping up around the country–some of which you may have heard about already on EdSurge, such as the Digital Harbor Foundation in Baltimore and EdUnderground in Rhode Island (which I covered in my previous post.)

Too often the conversation around education reform focuses on all that is “broken.” But I hope to shift that conversation by celebrating positive change that local educators are cultivating in their own communities. In this series, we’ll explore profiles of teacherpreneurs who are actively taking matters into their own hands, and showcase their talents and energy to encourage others to join the mix.

Keep an eye out for our first profile in the coming weeks and maybe you’ll discover the teacherpreneur in you!