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.
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, and from his observations about the difference technology can make in student learning. In addition to speaking at many technology conferences, he conducts technology staff development projects in his school district and throughout the United States. Jakes currently manages three technology-related Web sites — Jakesonline.org, Biopoint.com and myprojectpages.com — that seek to help teachers use technology, and particularly the World Wide Web, to increase student achievement and performance. He is also a blogger, producing The Strength of Weak Ties, as well as contributing regularly to the Techlearning.com blog. His other interests include digital storytelling, information literacy, effective professional development, and the creation of online learning communities.
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.
Niles Township HS District 219
Before retiring from the Niles Township High Schools last June, Joe Brennan served for 12 years as an AV/Media Coordinator after teaching Spanish and coaching for more than twenty years. He 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 Encyclopedia 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. Brennan is an Apple Distinguished Educator, a STAR Discovery 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. He is currently an independent educational technology consultant and blogs about digital storytelling for the Discovery Educator Network.
Teacher and Computer Science Department Chair
Westwood Schools, Camilla, GA
Classroom teacher and blogger Victoria (Vicki) Davis believes she is living proof that beginners can make a difference. In the two years that she has been using Web 2.0 technology in the K-12 classroom, she has experienced its transformational impact and has rapidly become recognized for merging research-based best practices with cutting edge technology. Her collaborative "flat classroom" project with a classroom in Dhaka, Bangladesh, won the 2006 International Edublog Award for Wikis and her Cool Cat Teacher blog has been recognized as one of the top teacher blogs in the world. Davis co-hosts a popular weekly webcast, WOW2, at edTech talk and is a cofounder of Women of Web 2. She is also a blogger for Techlearning.com (a producer of Tech Forum), a writer for several different publications, and a popular conference presenter. She has won numerous awards in her local community and is a graduate of the prestigious Leadership Georgia program. Prior to teaching at the K-12 level, Davis taught teachers and adults how to integrate the Internet into their classrooms for ten years and worked with several special needs programs. She also has extensive managerial experience, which gives her a unique big-picture perspective that will inspire teachers and administrators alike. She believes that teachers need tools and empowerment but also encouragement during this time of societal change and upheaval.
Instructional Technology and Literacy Consultant
Kellie Doubek utilizes her experience as a classroom teacher to assist Pre-K through 12th grade teachers and students in using digital tools effectively to enhance learning. As a reading specialist, she is passionate about sharing the connection between technology and its impact on literacy. She has been a lead design team member for a multi-million dollar NCLB Grant and is currently involved in several one-to-one technology initiatives. Doubek has presented at the International Reading Association National Convention and other conferences nationally. She serves as an adjunct professor at University of St. Francis and works with individual school districts to improve student literacy skills.
Educational Technology Support Center, Puget Sound ESD
Conn McQuinn is the director of the Educational Technology Support Center at the Puget Sound ESD in Renton, where he has worked for 13 years. He has nearly three decades of eclectic experience in education, including teacher training, running the world's largest traveling science education program at the Pacific Science Center, authoring sixteen childrens' books and, of course, fiddling extensively with technology. McQuinn holds a Masters' degree in Education from the University of Washington, along with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry, despite which he still regularly kills his houseplants.
Teacher and Curricular Technology Consultant
Downers Grove South High School, IL
Jon Orech has been teaching English for 23 years. Currently, he teaches and serves as both a curricular technology consultant and a cooperative learning trainer at Downers Grove South High School in Illinois. Since completing training at the Center for Digital Storytelling under Joe Lambert in 2004, Orech has applied many possibilities of digital storytelling in his own classes and has trained colleagues and spoken at many conferences. His presentations include "Beginning and Advanced Digital Storytelling," "Digital Inquiry," "DST for Low-Achieving Students," "Techno-Cooperative Learning," and "Hi -Tech Lit Circles." He also conducts multiple-day digital storytelling workshops on site.
Instructional Technology and Curriculum Consultant
Tech Teachers, Inc., Hinsdale, IL
Meg Ormiston is passionate about transforming teaching and learning through the power of digital tools. Meg loved being a classroom teacher, but now she is always on the move empowering educators across the globe through her powerful presentations focused on change. Meg is an author of two books, school board member, adjunct professor, consultant, keynote speaker, successful grant development specialist, and most importantly a mom. Meg is high energy, truly motivational, but also very practical. Her current research is focused on how curriculum can be delivered through the use of visual images, simulations and multimedia coupled with real time assessment to check for comprehension. Author of Conquering InfoClutter and co-author (with Mark Standley) of Digital Storytelling with PowerPoint
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).
Information Technology Specialist
Mary McLeod Bethune Academy, Milwaukee, WI
Tom Story has taught for the past five years in the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) district, and has also served as technology coordinator/IT specialist at his K-8 school for the last two years. During that time, the Mary McLeod Bethune Academy has moved into a brand new building and migrated from the age of hand-written report cards and a staff that consisted mostly of technology beginners to an environment in which the vast majority of teachers and students are consistent and comfortable users of technology for education. Story has helped the school move attendance, gradebooks, report cards, and IEPs online; launch a new Web site and homework wikipage; and implement a Web-based email system. He has participated in a WI-MAX pilot program, which will offer free high speed wireless Internet access to students and staff in the Milwaukee schools, as well as other pilots for the district focusing on: Moodle; eSIS Online Gradebook and Student Assistant; United Streaming; and Active Directory Platform. Story also leads ad hoc groups within MPS that bring together technology coordinators to address everything from Internet safety and filtering to the best uses of Web 2.0 tools in the classroom.
THIS YEAR'S PROGRAM ALSO FEATURES STUDENTS FROM THE FOLLOWING SCHOOLS/DISTRICTS
Thomas Middle School District 25
Arlington Heights, IL
Students and teachers enjoy a dynamic learning environment at Thomas Middle School in Arlington Heights. Technology is a vital component of that environment, allowing students to channel their enthusiasm for learning into a variety of technology-savvy representations. Recent examples include video-based commercials for a product of the future; brochures and class presentations created with Keynote and Pages; and the use of Comic Life software to generate everything from graphic novels to a 3-D representation of an atom. Teaching students to discern the accuracy and authenticity of information they encounter on the Internet is a high priority at Thomas Middle School, as is helping students develop the skills to use technology to analyze, organize, and communicate information. The student presenters will be accompanied by Chris Fahnoe, director of technology and assessment for Arlington Heights School District 25 and Carol Hirschtick, Curriculum Learning Complex teacher at Thomas Middle School.
Lake Park High School District 108
Students and teachers utilize technology in a variety of ways at Lake Park High School District 108. Technology is widely integrated throughout the curriculum, which creates a challenging yet inspiring teaching and learning environment. Classrooms contain LCD projectors, teachers use streaming media, and students utilize graphical organizers and Web-based communication tools. These technology tools and the combined efforts of teachers and students have helped to create a successful teaching and learning environment. Students Michael Garcia and Nick Landry will present, along with their social studies instructor, Tim Moran, and the district’s director of technology, Jeff Romani.
Community High School District 99
Downer's Grove, IL
Technology in District 99 supports the entire school community, from online access to grades for parents to the Blackboard Community portal that provides resources for teachers and students. A typical day for a student in District 99 may include using a mobile lab laptop to complete a digital storytelling assignment in a Health class, working on an inquiry project in Math class using online Web resources and databases, and contributing to a wiki page in a cross-curricular project between an English and Social Studies class. Students access their assignments or contribute to discussions from home and teachers have access to United Streaming video, whiteboards and a variety of modern tools for planning and delivering lessons. lesson, Each day in District 99 sees new creative uses of technology to support 21st Century instruction and student learning. Students Cassidy Williams and Heather DeKlyen, will present the development of Biopedia, and will be accompanied by science teacher Christopher Gales.