An array of inspirational talks, workshops and networking opportunities provided local school district leaders and instructional technology professionals who attended the LHRIC’s Tech Summit earlier this month with much to discuss.
The annual event, which was held at the Edith Macy Conference Center in Briarcliff Manor, is designed to highlight the outstanding technology vendors who work with the RIC throughout the year as well as focusing on the various products and services that are transforming learning.
|Dr. Maria Langworthy delivers the keynote presentation.|
Dr. Maria Langworthy, founder and principal of Langworthy Research, kicked off the day with a keynote presentation on the emerging new trends in education that are bringing teachers and students into a partnership that fosters deep learning and leverages the digital technology tools that many schools are currently using.
Dr. Langworthy, who has co-authored a new book with Dr. Michael Fullan called, “A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning,” said young people are becoming increasingly disengaged as standardized testing and other pressures take their toll.
“Outside of the classroom there are tremendous opportunities and tools for students to use, which creates this kind of push and pull on their minds,” said Dr. Langworthy.
But purchasing more tech gadgets is not the answer to this challenge, she noted. “No device will fix the problem; something much deeper, much broader needs to happen.”
Through their research in classrooms across the globe, Doctors Langworthy and Fullan discovered that schools were lacking in certain areas, including a shortfall in adequate professional development for teachers, an insufficient teacher performance strategy and the outdated practice of layering technology on top of traditional teaching practices.
In an effort to address such issues, Dr. Langworthy said the research team decided to “go beyond the numbers and dig down to see what was happening.” Their efforts were focused on what new pedagogies look like in practice and how a system of deep learning could be implemented in a school system-wide.
“We saw many examples all over the world of how this concept was starting to explode,” Dr. Langworthy noted. One example was an entrepreneurial project that involved a group of middle school students in Michigan. The initiative, explained Dr. Langworthy, not only taught them about fundraising for a good cause but how to develop a sustainable relationship with groups on the other side of the world.
Dr. Langworthy suggested that to create that type of learning in schools, students must have mastery in a topic as well as the ability to handle projects on their own with little guidance from teachers.
“It really boils down to a somewhat different model of leadership,” she added, with principals and others willing to learn alongside students and teachers and to share a common vision with other members of the school community.
“Our argument, and lots of research supports this, is that technology won’t solve the problems we see in schools today,” stressed Dr. Langworthy. “But what we have found is that when pedagogy shifts, there is a transformation in student engagement.”
The day’s other keynote presentations included “Creating Your Google Apps Classroom” and “Moving Forward in the Face of Change,” both from Catlin Tucker, a Google certified teacher and English Language Arts instructor based in California.
For over an hour, Ms. Tucker described the tools she uses in her classroom, including Google Plus communities, Google Hangouts, Google’s Blogger, Google Maps, Google Docs, Google Search, Google Drive and much more.
Paige Johnson, an education strategist at Intel, led the day’s other spotlight presentation. In “Leading Edge: Key Traits of Ed-Tech Visionaries,” she talked about the leadership qualities that are needed to successfully provide students with a 21st century education.
A number of breakout sessions were also held throughout the day on a variety of topics, including data analytics solutions for schools, installing the proper surveillance systems, evaluating technology use and success with the software program Clarity, as well as information on the Smart Schools Bond Act and more.
Vendors who participated in the Tech Summit included A+ Technology & Security, Achieve3000, Aerohive Networks, Annese, Aruba Networks, Atlantic, Castle Learning Online, CDWG, Centris Group, Custom Computer Specialists, Inc., Day Automation, Dell, Edgenuity, Forecast5 Analytics, HP, K12alerts, Infinite Campus, Pearson Education, Renaissance Learning, Stratagem Security, Sungard, TTM (Think Through Math) and Vandis.