Manager of Programs Jaclyn Carmichael writes about participating in the annual Mozilla Festival in London.

When I starting working at Project Exploration in 2014, traveling to another country to present on the work of this amazing organization was nothing I ever expected to do. So, when I was asked to attend Mozilla Festival, aka “MozFest,” in London, I was a little shocked – but also excited! On November 7-8 I joined Julie Koslowsky from YOUmedia at Chicago Public Library, to represent our respective organizations, as well as Hive Chicago, at this amazing technology-based conference. Specifically, we were there to present about our work with a Teacher Professional Development Calendar website.IMG_4452

MozFest is an annual event that gathers a diverse group of people to work on ways to use the Internet to improve peoples’ lives, including tools for learning.

This was an opportunity to not only visit a new place, but also to hear from professionals around the world on topics ranging from open-sourcing initiatives, educational platforms, and online resources that could help further our education work in Chicago. The layout of the conference, though lightly structured, created an environment of collaboration and open discussion between people from all backgrounds. In the two days of the conference, I had the chance to hear from science educators about their work to incorporate mobile research applications to track different ecology systems around Chicago and even discuss ideas on how to appropriately encourage youth leadership in programs.

IMG_4396As far as our session, Julie and I planned a discussion about “Open-Sourcing Collaborative Education Projects,” using the Teacher Professional Development Calendar (TPDC) as an example. The TPDC has been developed by several organizations, through a grant given by Hive Chicago and the Chicago Community Trust, to encourage Chicago Public School teachers to join professional development opportunities at organizations around Chicago. We were excited to have a varied group of participants join us, and the discussion became a great exchange of resources, possible collaborations, and diving into the possibilities of implementing a similar project at their organizations.

Although we accomplished a lot of work and made some great connections, we also had some time to IMG_4490explore the exciting city of London. Mozilla was kind enough to provide dinner for us one night, so we had a chance to talk with and get to know members of the Mozilla Corporation and other Hive Learning Networks from other cities. We also had a chance to see some sites – Tower of London, Tower Bridge, London Eye, Shakespeare’s Globe, Piccadilly Circus, and of course, Buckingham Palace!

Such an amazing experience! London really is an exciting city, and we took in a solid mix of the historic sites and modern-day technology initiatives – all adding up to a memorable weekend!

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