Gates Foundation invests $2M in Edcamp
- On Monday, the Gates Foundation announced it would give the Edcamp Foundation $2 million to continue developing its informal gatherings of educators.
- The meetings, known as “unconferences,” bring together educators, tech experts, entrepreneurs, and others to develop new ideas and collaborate.
- The money will help pay for the foundation’s ongoing work, as well as new tools for Edcamp organizers to use.
Edcamps have taken off in the education world as a way to free teachers and their collaborators from the ordinary strictures of professional development. The meetings have no set agenda and require little overhead to put on. Prior to the Gates Foundation grant, most of the organizers were volunteers.
But the grant also lets the Edcamp Foundation release more tools to make it more manageable for administrators to organizer and for districts to try out. One of these is the “Edcamp-in-a-box” kit, which gives administrators everything they’d need to put on one of the unconferences.
The money will also allow the foundation to help teachers take a step beyond brainstorming. The Edcamp Foundation will start funding “discovery” grants to help finance the development of ideas sparked at the day-long seminars. The new money will also help pay for data collection on the program’s impacts so schools can assess whether the unconferences are worth the time and money.