On Monday, July 29, and Tuesday, July 30, 400 educators from throughout Indiana will meet at Warsaw Community High School to take part in the school’s new conference, the E3 Technology Conference.
This summer has proved to be a productive and informational season for Warsaw Community School Corporation educators and staff. In an effort to comply with the Indiana Department of Education’s goal to further professional development throughout the state during the summer time, the school system has hosted three separate learning conferences to assist teachers in building skills that can be used in the classroom during the school year.
Development for the E3 Conference began after Chief Technology Officer Brad Hagg noted the state’s provision for grant money to schools pursuing summer professional development. From there, WCS’s Technology Coach Susan Armacost began working toward procuring the grant money from the IDOE to begin the project. A total of 17 states were granted money from the state with a total of $15,000 given to WCS for funding of the proposed E3 Conference.
“The Indiana Department of Education has an eLearning division and that’s where our vision came from. Our chief technology officer, Brad Hagg, first saw the announcement that the grant was available and said he thought we should do this and that it was a great idea and then we just ran with it,” explained Armacost.
According to Armacost, the name for the conference was derived from the WCS mission statement. The three “E’s” stand for equipping, excelling and engaging. The conference will offer guest lecture from two keynote speakers as well as 19 concurrent sessions educators can attend to help develop technology skills and knowledge through interactive, hands-on learning. Sessions will be offered in the beginner, intermediate and advanced categories and will be applicable to teachers in all grade levels.
“The WCS mission statement talks about equipping, engaging and excelling. Those are the three “E’s” of our conference. It is incorporating or integrating technology to enhance and acellerate student learning. In order to do that, we need to equip our teachers with knowledge, skills and tools so that they can go back to their classroom and work with their students.”
Armacost said there will be six strands of topics available to educators at the conference including digital leadership, iPads, flipping the classroom, digital tools for differentiation, creation tools for students and filling your digital toolbox. In addition, vendors that are used by WCS will be available to explore and explain their products and any upcoming changes or updates that may be useful to staff currently utilizing their software or equipment. Armacost noted roughly half of the speakers presenting at the conference are WCS staff members.
“We looked at what are some of the big needs of our teachers in terms of being able to integrate tech into their teaching and what are some of the big needs of our students in terms of being able to use technology,” stated Armacost. “We have teachers from Warsaw and other districts, it’s probably close to about 55 (in terms of who is presenting). We also have some vendor presentations that are conference sponsors but are also vendors of educational technology. We invited vendors that we are currently using so they will be presenting sessions on how to go further with the technology we have in our hands.”
Though this is the first year for the event, according to WCS it may not be the last. The school system has begun endeavors to procure sponsorships to ensure that funding for the conference will be available should the state not continue offering grant money for for summer eLearning in future years.
According to Armacost, “We did have tiered sponsorship which helped to generate some funding. The grant funding is $15,00 and that will cover a lot of this year’s expenses and if the state were to issue a new grant we would certainly apply again but we don’t know if that would happen and we would like to see this become an annual event so we are working to make this self sustaining. We have fantastic community partners as well. There are local businesses here in town that have stepped up to help support the conference. We are so thrilled to be in such a generous community. Even the visitors bureau has helped with this and is still working on things for us – they have been very helpful.”
Keynote speakers for the event will include author and Connective Learning LLC owner Will Richardson and Dr. Milton Chen, senior fellow and executive director, emeritus at The George Lucas Educational Foundation. Community sponsors for the event include PayProTec, PayProMedia, Courthouse Coffee, Wyndham Garden Warsaw, Rabb Water, Greeks Pizzeria, Applesbee’s and Boathouse Restaurant
For further information on the event on how the event or to register or become a sponsor, visit http://e3tech.warsaw.k12.in.us/.