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Keynote Speaker
Wes FryerWESLEY FRYER, Executive Director, StoryChasers.org

Wesley Fryer is an international learning consultant, author, digital storyteller, educator and change agent who describes himself as a "catalyst for creative engagement and collaborative learning." He is the executive director of the nonprofit Story Chasers Inc., the lead partner in the Celebrate Oklahoma Voices and Celebrate Kansas Voices digital storytelling projects. His blog, "Moving at the Speed of Creativity" (www.speedofcreativity.org) is utilized regularly by thousands of educators worldwide. He teaches technology integration courses for pre-service teachers as an adjunct instructor at the University of Central Oklahoma, and has served as a co-convener for the annual K-12 Online Conference since it began in 2006. Fryer became a Google Certified Teacher in 2009, was named an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2005, and is an active member of the education committee of the Oklahoma Creativity Project. A 1992 graduate of the US Air Force Academy and a Fulbright Scholar, he has served as an elementary classroom teacher, campus technology integration specialist, college director of distance learning, state director for education advocacy for AT&T, and director of technology for a state historical association. Wesley is the co-author, with Karen Montgomery, of the forthcoming book and framework, "Powerful Ingredients for Blended Learning."

 

ADDITIONAL SPEAKERS & ADVISORS

Tech Forum is well known for its great speakers, attendees and networking opportunities. The following team members will be presenting:

 

Ryan Bretag, Coordinator of Instructional Technology, Glenbrook North High School, IL
Ryan Bretag has spent nearly twelve years in education, both as a secondary English educator at Hinckley-Big Rock High School and now as an administrator at Glenbrook North High School. In his role as instructional technology coordinator, he focuses on systemic and sustainable infusion of technology into instruction and the curriculum as well as the facilitation of professional development for educators. He has presented and facilitated workshops at local, state, and national levels with a focus on learning and leading in the 21st Century, the philosophy of Web 2.0, blended learning environments, professional development, and learning communities. Bretag holds a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, a graduate certificate in Leadership, and is completing his Ed.D. program in Leadership in Curriculum and Instruction. His research interests include organizational theory, school leadership, secondary reform, adult learning, and 21st Century learning communities.

 

Scott Floyd, District Instructional Technology Specialist, White Oak ISD, Texas
Before he began serving as the district instructional technology specialist in White Oak, Texas, Scott Floyd spent ten years in the classroom, mostly teaching middle school reading, English, and gifted and talented. He has also taught first grade in a self-contained classroom. His current focus is on helping teachers integrate technology tools into their curriculum both in instruction and personal learning. He works with administrators, faculty, and students on creating electronic portfolios – utilizing online tools with hosting in the cloud – to better showcase themselves to the world outside the school walls. As a former Texas secondary teacher of the year, Floyd has worked with educators on the local, area, state, and national levels. He also spends time lobbying on behalf of education in the Texas legislature.

 

Jim Gerry, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Director, Illinois Math and Science Academy
Jim Gerry moved into the role of innovation and entrepreneurship director after twelve years as CIO for IMSA and Fenton High School. He is leading programs designed to fast forward collaborative innovation in STEM teaching and learning (coolhub.imsa.edu) and working with high school students on innovative entrepreneurship learning. As CIO and leader of the Technology for Learning strategic initiative, his projects included the use of PDAs in the classroom and in the field, wireless networking, web redesign and the one-to-one tablet implementation. Gerry has presented at and helped run many conferences over the years. He is on the board of the Illinois Chief Technology Officers (ILCTO) organization and is a consultant with Educational Collaborators, LLC.

 

Lucy Gray, Independent Education Consultant, Chicago, IL
Named an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2005, Lucy Gray has worked in the field of education for the past 20 years. Her career began as a primary grade teacher in the Chicago Public Schools and she received an M.Ed in Technology in Education from National Louis University. Most recently, she has worked at the University of Chicago in a variety of capacities related to educational technology including as a middle school computer science teacher at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and as a technology coach at the Urban Education Institute. She is currently an independent education consultant, working with a variety of institutions and businesses on 21st century learning initiatives. Her varied professional interests include digital equity, information literacy, global education, and the incorporation of social media technologies into educational settings.

 

Ben Grey, Director of Technology and Communications, Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123
As the director of technology and communications for Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123, Ben Grey strives to create a modern, relevant learning environment that engages all students in learning experiences that focuses on teaching students how to learn in a 21st century context. He also works to implement an integrated communications strategy that provides strong connections between staff, students, parents, and the community. Prior to taking his current position, Grey was an instructional technology coordinator for two years in Barrington, IL, and a teacher at both the elementary and middle levels for eight years. Grey is also a professor in the Master of Education in Literacy program at Judson University where he teachers the course, “Technology in Literacy Instruction.” To read more about Grey’s work, please visit either http://d123.org or http://bengrey.com/blog.

 

Naomi Harm, Educational Technology Consultant, Innovative Educator Consulting
Naomi Harm, Master of Education in Professional Development, ME-PD, is best known as a 21st century educational technology literacy specialist, enthusiast, and guru who welcomes every opportunity to share her expertise and best practices relating to technology-infused teaching and learning environments. Her dynamic career focus includes many exciting and cutting edge jobs including: an Intel National Senior Trainer, SMART Technologies consultant and SMART certified trainer for Tierney Brothers. She currently manages her own consulting corporation, where she provides customized staff development technology workshops, offers grant writing expertise, and designs and delivers online graduate course work for universities. She frequently delivers motivational international keynote presentations focusing on emerging technologies, 21st century skills and assessments, 21st century administrative leadership, peer coaching, project based learning, flip teaching, and inspired and transformative educational technology leadership.

 

Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt, Director, E-Learning, Indian Prairie School District 204, IL
Jeff Hunt is the director of e-learning for Indian Prairie School District 204 in Aurora, Illinois. He leads the district’s initiative to design, deliver, and evaluate online courses. He has developed an astronomy course online and routinely provides instructional design support to other teachers who are developing courses. Hunt is a long-term employee of Indian Prairie School District. Recently, he was director of instructional technology at Indian Prairie where he provided direction and leadership for educational technology applications. Before that, he was a classroom teacher and director of the district's planetarium. He continues to have a fascination for the sky and for space exploration. He uses astronomy education as a means to inspire children. Hunt’s research interests involve online learning, visual literacy, gender issues in technology, technology leadership, technology planning, and technology evaluation. He is a regular blogger at jeffreylhunt.wordpress.com and under the user name jeff_hunt on Twitter. Hunt is a founding board member of the Illinois Chief Technology Officers. He participates in leadership opportunities in the Consortium for School Networking and serves on the Illinois Virtual School Advisory Board.

 

David Jakes, Coordinator of Instructional Technology, Glenbrook South, IL
David Jakes, a T&L contributing editor and techlearning.com blogger, has spent 24 years in education as a teacher, staff developer, and technology coordinator. From his first Macintosh Classic to his current tablet PC, he has witnessed firsthand the changes in education that educational technology has empowered. Jakes shares this knowledge as a frequent speaker at technology conferences across the United States, as well as in Canada, Europe, and most recently, China and Singapore. His interests in educational technology include digital storytelling, developing online curriculum, learning management systems, and developing online communities of learning through blogging, wiki and RSS technologies. He currently maintains a web site (JakesOnline.org), a blog (The Strength of Weak Ties) and a variety of other resources dedicated to improving the use of technology in education.

 

Dr. Philip Lacey, Director of Instructional Technology, Niles Township High School District 219
Phil Lacey spent seven years in the classroom as a secondary science instructor before formally venturing into the field of Educational Technology. He currently serves as the President-Elect for Illinois Computing Educators (ICE), a professional organization composed of over 3000 members who include educators, administrators, industry professionals and education technologists from across the state and is a member of the Advisory Board for the Illinois Virtual School. Among other projects, Lacey is currently developing and conducting professional development for instructors as District 219 implements its Anytime, Anywhere Learning 1:1 initiative. He has presented at numerous conferences including NECC, ICE, and IETC. He received his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from National Louis University in 2006.

 

Scott Meech, District Technology Facilitator, Kenilworth District No. 38, IL
Scott Meech is in his 16th year in K-12 education and is currently working at the Joseph Sears School in Kenilworth as the district technology facilitator. While he began his teaching career in social studies, he quickly realized his greatest educational interest was in the transformative nature of technology. He was an early adopter and was regularly the test pilot for any and all new tech initiatives. His teaching quickly transformed from a traditional teacher-centered paradigm to a constructivist, student-centered approach. Meech earned his masters in education in curriculum and technology in 2005 and is finalizing an educational leadership program from the Johns Hopkins University Leadership program in conjunction with the International Society of Technology and Education. While he has a myriad of interests, his favorite pastime is studying the impact technology is making and can make on education. He believes that education is on the brink of major change and that technology will finally fulfill its promise. Meech blogs at www.smeech.net and has a repository of his work at smeech-presos.wikispaces.com. Additionally, he has started an educational community that is focused on studying mobile devices and their educational value called I Education Apps Review (www.iear.org).

 

Jon Orech, Instructional Technology Coordinator, Downers Grove South High School, IL
Jon Orech taught English for 24 years before becoming the instructional technology coordinator at Downers Grove South High School. He also is an instructor for Aurora University where he teaches digital storytelling workshops. In the classroom, he has always promoted best technology approaches to ensure student learning. He is a frequent speaker at conferences; his presentations include a wide variety of topics on teaching digital storytelling, hi-tech lit circles, learning with wikis, and student-generated assessment. Currently, Orech's focus of research is in the area of collaborative technology – specifically, embedding structured cooperative learning pedagogy into teaching with Web 2.0 tools to improve student learning. Away from school, he savors the "Four F's": Family, Football, Fishing, and Food!

 

Daniel Rezac, Technology Integration Specialist, Northbrook District #30
Daniel Rezac has taught Science, Social Sciences, Applied Technology, and now serves as a Technology Integration Specialist for Northbrook District #30. He often presents on topics such as Online Learning Environments, YouTube in the classroom, and re-inventing the classroom with Online learning channels. He is the curator of the Mathademics Channel: http://youtube.com/mathademics and http://youtube.com/mathademics4kids.

 

Carolyn Skibba, Burley School Technology Coordinator, Chicago Public Schools
Carolyn Skibba has worked in the field of education for 15 years. Since 1999, she has served as the technology coordinator at Burley School, a public elementary school in Chicago’s Lakeview community. At Burley, she has taught technology classes for grades 1-8, developed technology curricula and integration strategies, led professional development for the school and district, and implemented a 1:1 laptop program. She currently supports the school’s iPad initiative in grades 1 and 2. Before joining Burley, she was a third grade teacher, an Upward Bound instructor, and received her master’s degree in Technology in Education from Harvard University. In 2009, she was named an Apple Distinguished Educator.

 

Hank Thiele, Chief Technology Officer, Maine Township High School District 207
Henry (Hank) Thiele is currently the chief technology officer for District 207 in Park Ridge, IL and the President of SET Connections. Before taking on these roles he was a technology coordinator and also taught science and music at Conant High School in Hoffman Estates, IL. He has earned his Doctorate from Roosevelt University in Chicago while investigating the impact online communication can have on learning. Thiele is a Google Certified Teacher, Administrator, and Trainer. He believes that personalization of instruction, assisted by technology, allows students, parents, community, and staff to improve their skills to become adaptable and productive in today's world and into the future.

 

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