Report from Tech Forum 2012
Was I dreaming? Here were over 250 technology professionals in one place, sharing an array of new technological advances and predicting the bright future of education technology.
The morning began with Keynote Speaker Patrick Higgins challenging us to think about our districts not just as districts but as a “brand” in the world of social media. Does your district “brand” or is your mission statement enough?
Next we had four choices for our morning breakout sessions. How do you choose what you want to go to when each one is so powerful? I had no choice, as I was a presenter of iPads in the Classroom. What an honor to present with Rob Miller and Patrick Fogarty. Our discussions ranged from implementation of iPads in the middle school to apps for special needs students. So much to say in one hour, but the points were well taken.
If you think you have seen all there is to see in the world of technology just hear the vendors and see the demos. Wasn’t it just yesterday we were wowing over the Smart Board? Well now we have interactive projectors that can project anywhere and voila, you have an interactive cement wall! When we think of social media we immediately say Facebook. Now we have Edmodo, Gaggle, ePals and the list continues. As districts introduce Wi-Fi into their buildings and BYO how are we going to filter our students' digital content? Many vendors were at the forum showing us the answers.
Finally, there was the afternoon breakout session. Now I had to choose which one the four fabulous workshops I would attend. I chose Great Tools for Kids and Schools. WOW! I walked away with a Mary Poppins’s bag full of Web 2.0 tools that are not only free, but also can change the way we educate our students.
In summary I found Tech Forum 2012 to be an eye-opening technological experience. The Tech and Learning team should be complimented for putting together an informative, interactive forum. As a special education teacher, I look at the tech experts and thank them for their expertise and enthusiasm to help make education not a chalkboard and eraser but an interactive experience that helps ALL students learn! I highly encourage teachers who want to expand their ability to increase student motivation to join the Tech Forum next year. It's worth the personal day.
Vicki Windman is a special education teacher at Clarkstown High School South.