Putting Teachers In the Driver’s Seat

Putting Teachers In the Driver’s Seat


Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance has rich vision of how to advance students’ readiness for global competition, support personalized learning, and connect them to current knowledge, ideas, teachers and fellow learners around the world. Teachers, he notes, are at the core.

“This shift, in conjunction with movement toward more inquiry-based learning, both reaffirms and redefines the role of the teacher in the classroom, placing emphasis on their ability to inspire, guide and coach students and to nurture students’ abilities to research, analyze, integrate and employ information,” he says.

And at the Baltimore Technology for Schools Summit, we aim to put teachers in command of the technologies available to construct this education future--and ensure that their voice is heard by the innovators building these tools.

“This will be the first time that companies, teachers, and districts will be in the same space to talk about how we can make purposeful decisions about what the best edtech companies have to offer our instruction and learning for our kids,” says Jenna Shaw, middle school teacher at Patterson Park Public Charter School in Baltimore City.

“We can be hands-on, ask the questions that really matter, and make decisions around innovative instruction and curriculum development,” she adds. “These conversations often happen in silos, and the Summit allows a space for everyone dedicated to making education better to dream big about the future.”

Three months ago in Silicon Valley, west coast teachers had a chance to meet with entrepreneurs at the EdSurge Summit in Silicon Valley.

“I have been teaching for 24 years and it was the first conference I have gone to that I really felt the spirit of collaboration between the companies and the teachers,” shared Eileen Craviotto, an elementary teacher from Peabody Charter School, who traveled from Santa Barbara to Mountain View to attend the Edsurge Summit last November.

Science teacher Pavel Lieb was determined not to miss the event, either. When the LAX airport closed, Lieb jumped in a rental car and drove almost five hours to participate. “I wanted to see in action what educational innovation could look like from an entrepreneurial perspective without sacrificing caring for our students,” he said.  

East coast educators are just as passionate about this learning opportunity. We’ve received RSVPs from teachers from New York, Virginia, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, and of course all over Maryland.

Allison Hutcheons, a 5th grade teacher from Fairfax County was so delighted that an Edsurge Summit was coming to Baltimore that she recruited one of her teaching partners to drive up from Virginia to Baltimore to attend with her. “I’m excited for the opportunity to see the latest from edtech companies,” shares Hutcheons, “and to work with those techies to understand how I can incorporate their innovative products into our daily routines at Colvin Run Elementary.”  

Educators from the sponsoring districts are equally thrilled that this event is literally in their backyard.

“This summit is an opportunity to play with new technologies that might not yet be available to schools,” adds Melanie Coates, who chairs the English department at Catonsville High School and who has rallied many colleagues to register. “Edtech is constantly changing and evolving. In order to keep up, teachers and educational leaders need to attend events like EdSurge in order to stay cutting edge and to be a part of this evolution.”

“The Edsurge Summit is a great opportunity for teachers and educators across Baltimore to discover innovation and technologies that improve access and experiences for their students,” says Courtney Cass, executive director of TFA Baltimore, who is encouraging her teachers and alums to participate. “It’s a unique chance to come together to create solutions and effect positive change.”

More than 500 teachers registered, over one hundred administrators and over 75 tech coordinators already have their tickets to join us at the Four Seasons to meet up with the entrepreneurs from more than 30 attending companies. Hope to see you there! 

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