Ed Tech Innovator Conference
More than 150 district employees attended Red Clay’s 3rdAnnual Ed Tech Innovator Conference at Thomas McKean High School on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The conference provides current staff with technology-based lessons and activities that they can use with their students. Teachers are able to connect with other teachers around the district and get advice and resources about how to effectively implement technology into their lessons. The continuous advancement in technology has forced educators to be lifelong learners themselves and the conference created an environment where educators can learn from one another.
Keynote speaker Kellie Ady, the Director of Instructional Strategy at Schoology, talked about personalized learning. Ady referenced the model championed by noted educator Carol Ann Tomlinson which focuses on differentiation in education. Teachers can differentiate: Content, Process, and Product. This allows for flexible classroom and learning models tailored towards the needs of the students.
Schoology places its efforts in assisting educators in creating “the best education experience possible” for their students. Its mission is: Advance What’s Possible in Education. Other platforms on display were Newsela and SMART Learning Suite Online. The SMART platform gives students access to lessons outside of the classroom and provides students with the ability to learn at a pace that is conducive for them. Newsela is an instructional content platform. Using the cross-curricular content, teachers can create independent activities and instructions while presenting articles to students in a manner appropriate to their current reading level.
In previous conferences, attendees have shown an eagerness to attend more breakout sessions and to engage with their colleagues. Organizers Karen Ammann and Courtney Kalbach added shorter table talk lessons to facilitate this request. In addition to the longer classroom sessions, attendees could also attend 13-minute table talks that were led by fellow Red Clay teachers. Red Clay teachers presented on topics including, Breakout EDU, Nearpod lessons, Spherobots, and blended learning best practices. The positive response was immediately seen during the workshop portion of the conference.
"Red Clay's 3rd annual Ed Tech Innovator conference was a success on all fronts. However, the highlight of the evening from my perspective was the table sessions lead by Red Clay teacher and para-educator leaders,” stated Director of Curriculum and Instruction Harold Shaw, “I believe this is a model that we can incorporate into future professional learning opportunities."