KILGORE, TX—Technology is transforming the way in which the modern teacher and student teach and learn, and Region 7’s Education Technology Department is ensuring teachers have access to innovative tools and ideas by hosting the Extreme Makeover Technology Edition Conference November 5 from 9 am to 4 pm at the Education Service Center located at 1909 N. Longview Street in Kilgore.
While today’s classrooms are infused with various technologies such as SmartBoards and iPads, it’s the way in which they are integrated into learning that is key to maximizing on the benefits they provide to both students and teachers. Mary Smith, Region 7’s Assistant Director for Education Technology, said this conference will provide teachers with the innovative strategies they need to do exactly that.
“This conference is being led by area teachers and leaders in the field who are successfully incorporating various forms of technology into the classroom through innovative approaches,” she said. “By bringing these teachers and leaders together at this conference, we are able to offer cost-effective training that allows our regional teachers to have hands-on access to ideas and strategies that are proven successful for students in our area.”
In addition to providing teachers with new ideas, Smith said professional development for education technology plays a direct role in ensuring student success.
“The successful use of technology in the classroom increases student engagement, and research shows that this, in turn, improves student achievement,” she said. “Our goal is to provide our teachers with opportunities to learn and share so they have what they need to continue to foster that increased engagement and achievement for our students.”
- more -
The conference will feature a keynote speaker and 24 breakout sessions with a variety of topics for attendees to choose from including creating iBooks, various uses of Symbaloo, using QR codes in the classroom and with LiveBinders, fusing technology with Project Based Learning, digital portfolios, and cyberspace safety.
One concept growing in popularity among teachers is the “Flipped Classroom,” which uses educational technology to provide opportunities for learning through activity, and Region 7’s Education Technology Coordinator Donna Stanley said there will be several sessions at the conference to support the flipped classroom model.
“More and more teachers are experimenting with the idea of a flipped classroom, and we have teachers right here in Region 7 who have successfully flipped their own classrooms and can share their experiences with others,” said Stanley. “The flipped classroom concept allows students to engage in learning outside the classroom and allows teachers to reinforce that outside engagement through guided practice and more individualized time in the classroom. Conference attendees will be able to interact with our flipped classroom session leaders to learn more.”
Holly Curry, a chemistry, physics and IPC teacher at Overton High School, decided to flip her classroom when she realized her students were struggling with math in both her chemistry and physics classes. Since attending a workshop last year, Curry said she’s been making videos and steadily implementing the flipped ideals into her classroom.
“When I realized the basic concept of a flipped classroom is to utilize video technology to create lectures that students can use outside of the classroom, as well as in the classroom, I thought it would go over well with my students,” she said. “And it did.”
Curry said she is excited to present at the conference so she can share with her peers.
“Students today are technology-driven, and I want to help teachers have a better understanding of technology and the innovative ways it can be used in the classroom,” she said. “We all need to learn new ways to reach our students, and those who attend my session can expect to leave with new ideas and tips on what has worked and what hasn’t worked for me in my classroom.”
Stanley said she encourages interested teachers to register to attend the conference.
“From those who are less experienced to those who we could call mad scientists of education technology, there is something for everyone at this conference,” said Stanley. “We are looking forward to hosting it and learning more about the interests and needs of our teachers.”