Riverview IU 6: Conference Brings Education Technology to Teachers

It’s one thing to read about new technology. It’s another to see it in action and learn how to use it for improving effectiveness in the workplace.

That’s why Riverview IU 6 created the annual Education Leadership Conference, held every June at Clarion University of PA. School districts needed technology-focused professional development that didn’t require extensive travel, so the conference acquaints local educators with the world of technology that’s revolutionizing education, particularly in the STEAM areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.

“This is a chance for educators to see the things they’ve heard about and read about but didn’t have the opportunity to implement in the classroom,” says RIU6 Director of Technology and Facilities Kevin Watkins. “They learn strategies and see how real-life teachers are putting them into play, instead of just reading an article.”

Breakout sessions at the 2017 conference were crafted to meet the needs of educators inside and outside the classroom. Teachers played a game on incorporating experiential learning into their lessons. Education technology professionals discovered resources for teaching digital citizenship. Administrators learned to craft distance learning curriculum.

Teachers in the workshop on 3-D printing in the elementary classroom absorbed practical tips for learning that is hands-on, peer-led, and problem-based. They saw examples of projects made by students on the MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental 3D Printer, such as computer stands and mini basketball backboards. Said one teacher awed by the demonstration, “The only thing I’ve ever seen a 3-D printer do is print a sample of 3-D printing.”

Keynote speaker Carl Hooker, director of innovation and digital learning at Eanes Independent School District, Austin, TX, encouraged attendees to pair the right technologies with the right strategies, for personalized learning that promotes critical thinking and creativity.

“We can learn a lot from the kids themselves, because they’re more daring than some of us are,” Watkins said Hooker told the crowd. “Sometimes, we hold them back, but if we give them the resources and the space to do it, they can create some wonderful things.”

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