Over 200 elementary and secondary educators swapped stories, gained inspiration, and heard from innovative students, fellow teachers, and administrators about new projects and practices involving technology in the classroom; at today’s 3rd annual Technology in Education (TiE 2105) Conference.
The conference took place at Holyoke Community College in Holyoke, MA; and was coordinated by the Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) in Northampton.
This year’s conference theme was the Power of Students; but for keynote speaker Rafranz Davis, the connecting thread was wonder. “Never underestimate the power of a kid driven by his passion to create,” said Davis. In a world where students increasingly use YouTube in their out-of-school hours to learn how to do new things, it’s possible that this and future generations of kids “will never understand the words ‘I don’t know’, or ‘I can’t.’”
Davis is a math educator, author, and advocate who believes in the power of digital learning opportunities for all learners, and works directly with other educators as an instructional technology specialist to support them in the use of best practices. A self-described “blogger and habitual connector”; Rafranz asked the audience “how many of you are taking the time to learn from your kids?” citing practices such as creating dedicated “genius hour” time in school for students to wonder, learn, and explore their own interests and passion supported by technology.
Educator- and student-led sessions throughout the day reinforced the message, presenting projects and generating discussion around how to involve young people in the creation of learning about technology.
Said Angela Burke, Director of Technology for CES, ‘Students may often be the earliest adopters of new technologies, and have valuable things to say about how the technologies they use outside of school can also be applied to learning in the classroom. This year’s TiE Conference has been a great opportunity for students as well as their educators to share knowledge and excitement.”