Speakers: Tech Forum Northeast

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.


Alan November

Senior Partner
November Learning

Alan November is an international leader in education technology. He began his career as an oceanography teacher and dorm counselor at an island reform school for boys in Boston Harbor. He has been director of an alternative high school, computer coordinator, technology consultant, and university lecturer. He has helped schools, governments and industry leaders improve the quality of education through technology. He has also delivered keynotes and workshops in all fifty states, across Canada, and throughout the UK, Europe, Asia and Central America. Each summer he leads the Building Learning Communities summer conference with world-class presenters and participants from all over the world. (Visit www.novemberlearning.com/blc for more details.)

Audiences enjoy November's humor and wit as he pushes the boundaries of how to improve teaching and learning. His areas of expertise include planning across the curriculum, staff development, new school design, community building and leadership development. His writing includes numerous articles and a bestselling book, Empowering Students with Technology. November was co-founder of the Stanford Institute for Educational Leadership Through Technology and is most proud of being selected as one of the original five national Christa McAuliffe Educators.


Laura Allen

Founder and President

Vision Education & Media

Laura Allen has worked with teachers, students and technology for over 23 years, creating some of the field's most effective solutions for using technology as a tool for learning and teaching. Her visual arts background is the foundation of her belief that creative thinking is the key to effective learning. An early interest in LOGO programming led her to the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she collaborated on projects with the MIT Media Laboratory and the mathematician and educator, Dr. Seymour Papert, the founder of LOGO programming and one of the world's foremost expert on instructional technologies. Prior to founding the New-York-city-based Vision Education & Media (VEMNY), Allen directed the Computer Department at The Buckley School in Manhattan for fourteen years and was director of the technology program at the Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High School for two. She is also the founder and director of The Stonington Retreat, a summer technology workshop for educators, which is now in its twelfth year, and developed the concept and curriculum for the YWCA's TechGYRLS program, a national program for girls ages 9 - 13 that is currently running in over 35 YWCA's across the country. In recent news, Enterprising Women has named its 2006 Enterprising Women of the Year and Laura Allen was chosen from among over 400 entries!

Linda Brandon

Director of Instructional Technology

Lakeland Central School District, NY

Linda Brandon has presented at many national and regional conferences, including ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development), NECC (National Education Computing Conference), NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children), NY Library Association and NYSCATE (New York State Association for Computers and Technology in Education). Her areas of specialty are educational technology planning and curriculum integration. She has served on the Board of Directors of NYSCATE and is a member of ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education). Brandon and her district were selected for three consecutive years as "Pioneer Award" winners by the Regional Information Center in Elmsford, NY. She has also been an award winning ThinkQuest coach four times since 2000. In addition to serving as Instructional Technology director at Lakeland Central School District in Westchester County, Brandon works with the Putnam/Northern Westchester Board of Cooperative Education (PNW/BOCES) as an instructional technology consultant on their innovative Social Studies/English Language Arts Integrated Curriculum.

Jeffrey Branzburg

Educational Technology Consultant

Branzburg Associates, Inc., NY

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 consults and provides professional development for companies and organizations such as the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, Performance Pathways, NYLearns, and Teaching Matters, Inc., and is a contributing editor and regular columnist for Technology & Learning magazine. His primary areas of specialty are professional development, writing, and instructional technology assessment.

Ryan Bretag

Coordinator of Instructional Technology

Glenbrook North High School, Northbrook, IL

Ryan Bretag has spent seven years in education, both as a secondary English educator and now as an administrator at Glenbrook North High School, one of the top schools in Illinois. In his role as instructional technology coordinator, he focuses on the infusion of technology into the curriculum and the facilitation of professional development for educators. He has presented and facilitated workshops at local, state, and national levels with a focus on web 2.0, blended learning environments, professional development, and 21st Century Learners. Bretag holds a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and is currently in a Ph.D. program for Educational Technology at Walden University where his research interests are on secondary reform and the concept of 21st Century schools. He blogs weekly for Technology & Learning as well as maintaining his own blog, The Four Eyed Technologist, where he generates enthusiasm and conversation on many topics facing the world of education today.

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 regular contributor to Technology & Learning magazine, Carter has been a co-conspirator in Technology & Learning Events since their inception a decade ago. 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.

Steve Dembo

Online Community Manager

Discovery Education Network

Steve Dembo's teaching career began in the same place he first set forth on his educational journey, the kindergarten classroom. After teaching kindergarten for four years, it was discovered that he knew the secrets to fixing printer jams. He was immediately promoted to director of technology. He is currently working for Discovery Education, as the online community manager for the Discovery Educator Network, where he oversees their blog network and manages their teacher community of 20,000+ users. Dembo was a pioneer amongst educational podcasters. His blog, Teach42.com, has inspired countless teachers to begin their own blogs and podcasts. He is passionate about education and works diligently to assist teachers in their efforts to learn and integrate new technologies. For more information about Dembo, you can visit his permanent record on Google.

Dr. Sheila Gersh

Director of Technology and International Projects

Center for School Development, City College, NY

Dr. Sheila Offman Gersh is the director of technology and international projects for the Center for School Development, School of Education, at the City College of the City University of New York. For the past 19 years she has directed a variety of instructional technology programs that engage teachers and students in inquiry-based, collaborative technology-rich projects. Gersh teaches graduate courses focusing on integrating technology into classroom instruction and designs and delivers a variety of professional development opportunities for teachers. She has also taught courses online, using a variety of delivery tools for such instruction, and has done extensive training for teachers, administrators, parents and teacher-educators in technology, in the U.S., Japan, Australia, Sweden and India. She has been a keynoter and workshop leader at many local, national and international conferences, and authored a number of journal articles about educational technology, both in the US and abroad.

David Jakes

Instructional Technology Coordinator

Community High School District 99, Downers Grove, IL

David Jakes has spent over twenty 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 and Europe. 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 three Web sites — Jakesonline.org, Biopoint.com and myprojectpages.com — all dedicated to improving the use of technology in education. He is also a blogger, producing The Strength of Weak Ties, as well as contributing regularly to the Techlearning.com blog.

Bram Moreinis

Hudson Valley Scouts

Bram Moreinis has been making websites and managing IT projects since 1994 as a teacher, curriculum developer, and manager of information systems. His background includes master's degrees in teaching and educational administration, plus courses in computer and system science. Moreinis founded Beyond the Box Web Design (now known as Game Face Web Design) with a handful of high school students called "Tech Scouts" as a proof-of-concept for "in-sourcing" teen labor. Game Face is the firm's latest incarnation, with more adult staff, but still employing Tech Scouts for on-site and remote design and support services to clients.

Jon Orech

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.

Gwen Solomon



Gwen Solomon is director of techLEARNING.com, the web site of Technology & Learning and a contributing editor to the magazine. She 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 most recent books are Connect Online: Web Learning Adventures and Toward Digital Equity: Bridging the Educational Digital Divide (edited book). Her next book will be published in June 2007.