Speakers at Technology & Learning's Tech Forum are innovators in the field of educational technology. With years of experience as conference presenters, educators, school leaders and Technology & Learning authors, they offer a unique perspective on technology challenges and solutions.

Keynote Speaker

Bernie Trilling

Senior Director, Think.com and ThinkQuest
Oracle Education Initiatives

As senior director of the Think.com and ThinkQuest programs, Bernie Trilling directs the development of education strategies and partnerships for the Oracle Education. Think.com offers a free, protected online environment for teachers and students globally, to communicate, collaborate on projects, share their ideas and learn together. ThinkQuest is an international competition where students collaboratively create educational websites. Prior to joining Oracle, Trilling was director of the Technology in Education group at WestEd, a national educational laboratory, where he led a team of educational technologists in integrating technology into the instructional and administrative worlds of education.

Additionally, he has served in a variety of roles in both education and industry, including executive producer for instruction at Hewlett-Packard Company, where he helped run a state-of-the-art global distance learning network, and as an instructional designer and educator, working in all aspects of education and training from preschool to corporate training. Trilling is an active member of a variety of organizations dedicated to integrating technology into all aspects of learning and leading in education. His favorite learning formula is “3Rs X 7Cs = 21st Century Learning”.

Dr. Frank V. Auriemma

Superintendent of Schools
Pearl River School District, NY

Dr. Frank Auriemma joined the Pearl River School District in 1987 as middle school principal when the district began the initial steps toward school improvement and quality. In 1997, he was appointed assistant superintendent, where he oversaw human resources, instruction and assessment, and the data management process, including the district's data warehouse. As superintendent, he is committed to continuous improvement and the use of Baldrige principles in the classroom. He has published a book and two articles on school management and regularly presents workshops on the use and management of data to improve instruction and student performance.

Jeffrey Branzburg

Educational Technology Consulting

Branzburg Associates, Inc.

Jeffrey Branzburg, a technology consultant and president of Branzburg Associates, Inc., is a former supervisor of instructional technology for school districts in New York State, as well as for the New York City school system. He is a contributing editor and regular columnist for Technology & Learning Magazine.

Joe Brennan

Visual Literacy Facilitator

Niles Township HS District 219

Before becoming Visual Literacy Facilitator for the Niles Township High Schools, Joe Brennan served for 11 years as the AV/Media Coordinator at Niles West H.S. A former Spanish teacher who coached soccer and basketball for many years, Brennan first became interested in educational video and multimedia because of his visual approach to teaching and coaching. That interest led to collaborating on an interactive Spanish laser disc program for Encyclopaedia Britannica and then to leaving the classroom for the media position at Niles West. During his years in that job, the audio-visual department changed from a lending/consumption center to a creating/production area. Joe is an Apple Distinguished Educator and in 2003 was the Illinois Computing Educators' Technology Educator of the Year as well as a semifinalist in Technology & Learning magazine's Ed Tech Leader of the Year program.

Kim Carter


Monadnock Community Connections School, NH

Kim Carter is the Director of Monadnock Community Connections School, an alternative public school choice for high school students in southwestern New Hampshire. She was the 1991 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year and the 1996 New Hampshire Media Educator of the Year. A contributing editor for Technology & Learning, Carter has been a co- conspirator in the SchoolTech Expos and Leadership Institutes since their inception. Her greatest love is her three sons, followed closely by a fascination with how people learn and how technology empowers learning and teaching for all.

Maria Fico

Regional Instruction Technology Specialist

Region One/NYC Public Schools, Bronx, NY

Maria Fico has been the technology director for the largest urban school district in New York City for the past 25 years. She has been in the forefront of distance education and has developed interactive videoconferencing projects for students in K -12 schools. Her programs provide opportunities for increased collaborations among teachers and students in the isolated urban community which she serves. Content of projects have ranged from an interactive poetry slam serving as a collaboration between a local arts organization and the region's literacy program and the use of a blended technology model including laptops, a Blackboard site for publishing student poems and interactive videoconferencing for competitive slam events. This project uses distance-learning technology for sharing of original poetry and performing arts to authentic audiences spanning the globe from New Jersey to Alaska to the UK. Professional development opportunities for teachers are provided through experts ranging from historians in American history at Colonial Williamsburg to studies of food chemistry from the Culinary Arts Institute of America. Education extends beyond student learning to the homes of immigrant families that benefit from intensive instruction on critical issues in their personal lives such as citizenship development and healthcare issues from doctors at Montefiore Medical Center.

Bruce Friend

Chief Operations Officer/Vice-President
Florida Virtual School

In his role as COO/VP of Florida Virtual School (FLVS), Bruce Friend is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school, instructional services and support, student and parent services, and in-state outreach programs. As a member of the President's Leadership Team, he participates in the school's overall planning, development and evaluation. A strong believer that online learning has great potential to reach underserved populations, Friend has spent much time on forging relationship with students, parents, and schools in rural communities throughout Florida and beyond. As part of a partnership between Florida Virtual School, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the College Board, he has served as an administrative mentor to rural district principals in Florida with the goal of bringing rigorous curriculum to students in rural settings. He has become a regular speaker about online teaching and learning issues at many national and state conferences and forums as well as giving presentations to various school and government officials throughout North America. He was the recipient of the 2003 United States Distance Learning Association's Outstanding Achievement by an Individual award and also is a board member of the Florida Distance Learning Association. Prior to joining the FLVS administrative team, Bruce was the course designer and instructor of the online American Government and Economics courses currently being offered by FLVS.

Earl W. Grier, Jr.

School Director and CEO
Commonwealth Connections Academy, PA

In his role as School Director and CEO of Commonwealth Connections Academy, a virtual charter school established in 2003, Earl W. Grier, Jr., is responsible for all aspects of the school’s operation, from financial management, to staff management, to family outreach. He has a distinguished career as a leader in the field of education, as both a teacher and administrator. Prior to Connections Academy, he spent much of his 39 years as an educator at the Lebanon (Pa.) School District, where he served as principal of Lebanon Junior High School/Middle School and later as assistant to the superintendent. Grier is the recipient of many education and service related awards, and was honored by the Lebanon School District with The Earl W. Grier, Jr. Student Leadership Scholarship in recognition of his contributions and leadership abilities.

David Jakes

Instructional Technology Coordinator

Community High School District 99, Downers Grove, IL

David Jakes serves as the Instructional Technology Coordinator for Community High School District 99 in Downers Grove, IL. His interest in technology developed from his 15 years as a classroom science teacher. In addition to speaking at many technology conferences, Jakes conducts technology staff development projects in his school district and throughout the United States. He currently manages two technology-related Web sites, Biopoint.com and myprojectpages.com that seek to help teachers use technology, and particularly the World Wide Web, to increase student achievement and performance. His other interests include digital storytelling, information literacy, effective professional development, and the creation of online learning communities.

Eric Klopfer

MIT Teacher Education Program, MA

Eric Klopfer is the Scheller Career Development Professor of Science Education and Educational Technology at MIT as well as the Director of the MIT Teacher Education Program (http://education.mit.edu), which prepares MIT undergraduates to become math and science teachers. Klopfer's research focuses on the development and use of computer games and simulations for building understanding of science and complex systems. His research explores simulations and games on desktop computers as well as handhelds. He currently runs the StarLogo (http://education.mit.edu/starlogo) project, a desktop platform that enables students and teachers to create computer simulations of complex systems. He is also the creator of StarLogo TNG, a new platform for helping kids create 3D simulations and games using a graphical programming language. On handhelds, Klopfer's work includes Participatory Simulations (http://education.mit.edu/pda), which embed users inside of complex systems, and Augmented Reality simulations (http://education.mit.edu/ar), which create a hybrid virtual/real space for exploring intricate scenarios in real time. Klopfer's work combines the construction of new software tools with research and development of new pedagogical supports that support the use of these tools in the classroom. He is the co-founder of The Education Arcade, and co-author of the book, "Adventures in Modeling: Exploring Complex, Dynamic Systems with StarLogo."

Bill MacKenty

Teacher and Computer Coordinator
Edgartown School, MA

As "the computer guy" at the Edgartown School on Martha's Vineyard, Bill Mackenty oversees the student network (90+ Mac OS X machines), teaches grades 3-8, and runs the school website. He first realized he was a geek in the 6th grade when, four days after his math teacher put him in front of a Texas Instruments 99A, he was teaching the class how to program. MacKenty, who has worked with young people his entire life, loves teaching and has a strong interest in effective education, educational theory, assessment, and learning. He deeply believes that computers and technology can strengthen, deepen, and broaden our learning — and that educational games can be used to create lasting understandings across content areas and disciplines. He is currently working on a multiplayer text game (moderncommand.com) built on the PennMUSH server.

Susan McLester

Editor in Chief

Technology & Learning Magazine

Susan McLester is editor in chief of Technology & Learning magazine. She has been an editor at T&L for 12 years, concurrently writing a weekly column for the L.A. Times' Tech Times section, articles on technology for Newsweek, Parenting, Entertainment@Home, and other publications, and presenting at a range of education technology conferences, including T&L's Tech Forum. She has acted as a juror for the Bologna Book Fair's New Media division and has spoken about educational technology on Bloomberg Radio, Microsoft NBC and other television shows. She is also an experienced middle and high school teacher, book editor and writer.

Maria Narciso

District Coordinator of Technology

Montclair Public Schools, New Jersey

Maria Narciso was hired by the Montclair Public Schools in Montclair, NJ, nine years ago to craft a unique program to infuse technology throughout the curriculum at Mt. Hebron Science & Technology Middle School. After four years in this role, she became the District Technology Coordinator responsible for planning and budgeting for all district technologies, staff development in technology integration, and supervision of technology staff for 11 schools. Major district technology initiatives Narciso has been involved with include the installation of a fiber network in partnership with the township, membership in NJEdge.net and the K20 Initiative of Internet2, video conferencing and adoption of Blackboard.com as district eLearning standards, and the installation of IP Telephony. She looks forward to implementing the district's new Technology Curriculum this fall. Maria Narciso has presented on technology integration strategies at NECC, NJECC, FLENJ, various Universities and K12 school districts, and recently on Technology ROI at Seton Hall's NJ Superintendent's Roundtable.

John O'Brien

Assistant Director, Academic Technology, OIT

Montclair State University, NJ

As the Assistant Director of Academic Technology in the Office of Information Technology at Montclair State University, John O'Brien is responsible for short term and long term planning and implementation for the University's intelligent classroom design, operations, management and training. This includes video conferencing, video streaming and archiving. In addition, he is Co-Chair of NJEDge.net K20 Initiative. (NJEDge.net is New Jersey's Higher Education Data/Video network with 45 members). The K20 Initiative is a new committee that is fostering collaboration with New Jersey's 611 school districts and 57 colleges and universities. O'Brien has presented at numerous NJEDge.net meetings, NJEDge.net Annual Conferences, and at the Internet2 Spring Members K20 Advisory Committee in Virginia. He serves as a NJEdge representative on the Interent2 K20 Advisory Committee.

Tony Payne

Director for Technology Services
Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11, PA

Tony Payne has been with the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit (TIU) in Pennsylvania since 1987, first as coordinator of educational technology and now as director for technology services. During this time he oversaw the development of the Tuscarora Blended Learning Charter School (www.tblcs.org) where he now serves as CEO. TCBLS is a non profit educational corporation which developed the concept of "blended learning" as a method of educating learners in Pennsylvania. Payne also oversaw the development of blendedschools.net, a distance learning consortium that helps promote blended learning in traditional education settings. Before coming to TIU, Payne taught in the Mifflin City Schools and ran his own private consulting business.

Peter Reilly


Lower Hudson Regional Information Center, NY

Pete Reilly is the Director of the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center, a non-profit technology consortium of 62 school districts located in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, just north of NYC. Pete is presently focused on shifting the technology discourse from "cables and chips" to the human issues involved in creating effective educational technology environments. His latest essay, "When the Classroom Door Swings Inward", is part of the anthology, "Being Human at Work"; edited by Dr. Richard Strozzi-Heckler and published by North Atlantic Press. He has presented to diverse audiences throughout the United States and Canada. Mr. Reilly has worked on a consulting basis with the Edison Project, numerous school districts around the country and has been featured in articles in Electronic Learning, Curriculum Product News, Media and Methods, and the Heller Report. In September 1995, he visited China on behalf of UNICEF and developed a report on the state of educational technology in China today.

Judy Salpeter

Program Chair

Technology & Learning Events

Judy Salpeter, an experienced educator and education technology specialist, is program chair for Technology & Learning Events. On the editorial staff of Technology & Learning magazine since 1985, Salpeter served as editor-in-chief from 1994 to 2000. In addition to overseeing content for Technology & Learning Events, she is now consulting editor to the magazine and works as a freelance writer, consultant and conference planner. Over the years, she has written for publications including Business Week and Newsweek, authored a software program (Mystery Sentences, Scholastic, 1984) and a book (Kids & Computers: A Parents' Handbook, SAMS, 1991), and edited a number of publications for the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN).

Ben Sawyer


Ben Sawyer is the president of Digitalmill, a firm that helps organizations understand the games industry, game culture, and the use and implementation of games beyond entertainment purposes. He is an award-winning technical writer and is now widely known as the co-founder and spokesperson of the Serious Games Initiative and Games for Health Project. His firm has worked with a prestigious slate of private and public organizations including The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Intel, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Pearson Publishing, and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Sawyer’s experience with grassroots politics has helped him bring together hundreds of developers, educators, and consultants to discuss and promote best practices for next-generation game-based learning and simulation efforts.

Dr. Stan Silverman

Director, Technology Based Learning Systems Department
New York Institute of Technology

Professor Stan Silverman is widely regarded as a pioneer and national leader in distance learning. He combines an engineer's thorough knowledge of technological hardware with a teacher's insight into how they can be applied to enhance learning. He is a tenured NYIT full professor and director of the school's Technology Based Learning Systems Department and Educational Enterprise Zone. He is the author of numerous publications concerning technology and education, and has served as the project director for many research and technology innovation projects funded by a wide variety of organizations. He has recently been selected for inclusion in the USDLA Hall of Fame.

Gwen Solomon



Gwen Solomon is Director of techLEARNING.com, the web site of Technology & Learning magazine. Ms. Solomon has served as senior analyst in the U.S. Department of Education, coordinator of instructional technology planning for New York City Public Schools, and founding director of New York City's School of the Future. Her latest books are Connect Online: Web Learning Adventures and Toward Digital Equity: Bridging the Educational Digital Divide (edited book).

Terry Trigg-Scales

Director of Curriclum and Instruction

Montclair Public Schools, NJ

As director of curriculum and instruction for the Montclair Public Schools in Montclair, New Jersey, Terry Trigg-Scales has led the district in its journey for continuous improvement. Using the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program criteria, the Montclair Public Schools won the New Jersey Governor's Award for Performance Excellence Bronze in 2001, 2002 and Silver in 2004. Trigg-Scales has taught at the elementary and middle school levels and has served as assistant principal and principal at all levels. She was recognized in 2001 as a NJ Principal of the Year. Her experience at the central office includes assistant to the superintendent and the last four years overseeing teaching and learning for the district's eleven schools.

David Warlick


Landmark Project, NC

David Warlick is the Director of the Landmark Project based in Raleigh North Carolina. A former history teacher, district level administrator, and IT specialist with the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction, he is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in innovative applications of technology, especially the Internet. He has spoken at conferences, seminars and workshops in most states and many other countries; writes for a number of magazines and journals; and has developed numerous curriculum projects over the global network, including the second oldest continuing online project, the Global Grocery List. Warlick is the author of Raw Materials for the Mind: 4th Edition, Redefining Literacy for the 21st Century, and Classroom Blogging: A Teacher's Guide to the Blogoshpere.