Not surprisingly, summer is prime travel time for teachers. But it’s also the best opportunity for meaningful professional development. Which option should the professional educator choose? How about both!
There are plenty of ways for teachers to scratch the travel itch and become better educators at the same time. Some of them are even free!
Summer is the major time for educational conferences. Some of the biggest gatherings of educators nationwide take place in the summer months, all seeking to bring teachers together to share and learn (and score some giveaways from the exhibit halls!). The biggies are listed below, but there are many smaller ones available if you look hard enough. It might not be too late to get your district to foot the bill—it never hurts to try, right?
- ISTE – The largest edtech conference in the country: June 28–July 1 in Philadelphia
- Serious Play – For educators who embrace the idea that games can aid in learning: July 21–23 in Pittsburgh
- FlipCon – Centered on flipped learning, presented by the people who started the trend: July 13–15 in East Lansing, Michigan
For those interested in longer engagements, fellowships and workshops can be a great way to see the world, usually on the dime of the U.S. government or a foundation. It’s probably too late to apply for this summer, but keep these programs in mind for next year:
- Peace Corps Response – Short-term Peace Corps assignments, suited for teachers
- Fulbright Programs – Many different learning opportunities, including teacher exchanges
- National Endowment for the Humanities – Programs including summer seminars and institutes
- Toyota International Teacher Program – Short-term study tours abroad
If you have a specific travel opportunity in mind, try writing a grant to get it funded! The most important thing to remember for writing a successful grant is to thoroughly explain how the trip would benefit students upon your return. Check out these organizations that work with teachers to make their educational travel dreams happen:
- Fund for Teachers – Support for teachers pursuing opportunities around the globe
- DonorsChoose.org – Funds classroom project requests
- GEEO.org – a nonprofit travel agency that organizes teacher travel
The bottom line is that there are plenty of ways for teachers to have an incredible summer of learning and expansion. There are even quite a few groups that would like to help educators make it happen. All one has to do is come up with a great idea, do some research, and take the necessary time to apply. You’ll come away with a great experience that will also benefit your future students.
Is ISTE 2015 a part of your summer travel and professional development plans? If so, come visit us at Booth #2406! Get the details here.