It is my goal for Spring semester 2013 to each weekend write a small post on what I have been doing here in Philadelphia as part of the International Educational Development program at the University of Pennsylvania. There are many motivating factors for adding this extra bit of writing to my graduate school workload. The first being that I want to document interesting interactions, lectures, bits of knowledge, aspirations, or inspirations that I may forget in a few years thanks to my horrible memory. The second being that I want to communicate with family and friends what international educational development is, exactly, and why I’ve made the choice to study it.
This week class started on Wednesday, and I’ve been going through the usual first-week routine: ice-breakers, and getting-to-know-you’s, and freaking out at the semester’s workload after reviewing course syllabi. It is easier this semester than last, though, because I have managed to make some friends and we’ve commiserated over dim sum. This semester I am excited about every one of my classes:
1. International Fieldwork Course: this class is with my entire cohort of about 28 and is taught by my favorite professor (very smart, engaging and encouraging) in preparation for the required summer internship. She’s helping me get a placement in North Africa or the Middle East (I’m hoping for Jordan).
2. Information and Communication Technology for Development: I’ll learn about technology’s role in education in developing countries, from computers to cell phones to online learning. This is what my Fulbright project was on in Morocco, and I’m ready to learn about the advances technology is (or isn’t) making in the field of education.
3. Policy Planning in International Educational Development: taught by a World Bank employee who has experience all over the world, I’ll learn more about who makes education policy in developing nations and what it means to be in policy development. There is a practical aspect of the class that involves analyzing existing policies that I am looking forward to.
Monday is the first session of my two other courses, Participatory Educational Research Global Perspectives and Curriculum & Pedagogy in International Contexts. I will write up what that all means next weekend!