Walled Lake Consolidated Schools’ “Spice it Up!” Technology Conference was a smashing success! The day began with a bit of stress when Bruce Umpstead, our keynote speaker, was stuck in a one-hour traffic jam on I-96. He arrived about 20 min late, and handled it like a pro. His message was clear and it aligns with Walled Lake’s philosophy – you cannot just throw technology at students and hope it makes a difference in student achievement. Instead, teaching must change to allow the positive changes to occur. Students must collaborate, investigate, create, and think – adding technology makes it easier to provide learning experiences that are differentiated and meaningful.Over 30 Walled Lake teachers, stepped up to share their knowledge and experiences as presenters. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. I wish I had offered more Office 2007 and Schoolworld web sites sessions, these were packed! Teachers learned to podcast, create video, make websites, use web 2.0 applications, use MOODLE, among MANY other things.
Mike Bryant, regional manager for the Discovery Educator Network, traveled all the way from Illinois to present three sessions showing teachers how to incorporate DiscoveryStreaming video, audio, images, and more into any curriculum.
Lunchtime was also a time for learning! Mrs. Beverwyck, our Asst Superintendent of Curriculum, shared her thoughts about technology use. Next, we saw the video “A Vision of K-12 Students Today” to prompt our thinking, and finally asked questions of a student panel, five high school students who shared their experiences and ideas regarding using technology at school and at home. One student stated, “One of my teachers recorded podcasts to help us review for tests, which was helpful. However, if we could have created our own podcasts, we could have learned even better, because if you are teaching others, you learn the material better.”
Mark Hess facilitated a half-day administrative session. I was able to sit in for about 20 minutes, and was very impressed with what he shared. He spoke about how he became interested in technology without ever having taken a computer class. He talked about vision, setting goals, and how to create an environment where technology use is a part of everyday school life.