Providence will host educators seeking to better incorporate digital technologies into their schools this month, when Highlander Institute, a regional provider of high quality professional development in education, presents the Blended Learning & Technology Conference on Saturday, May 19, 2012 from 8:30am-4pm. This day-long, hands-on conference will give educators practical insight on adopting blended learning models. Blended eLearning integrates the best of online learning with face-to-face instruction, expanding opportunities for the teacher and student.
Integrating tech in the classroom: not always easy
“Integrating technology with tried and true classroom instruction is not always intuitive or easy, but when it is done well it helps the teacher understand a student’s abilities at a whole new level,” said Shawn Rubin, director of technology integration at the Highlander Institute and co-founder, Metryx. “Teachers can then use this input to create a much more individualized learning environment for the student, which leads to greater learning outcomes.” Further, Rubin said, ” “blended learning recognizes that technology is something today’s students already enjoy. It uses tools that are intuitive to them and increases their engagement in their own learning.”
A national push toward digital learning
Pointing to the trend towards digital learning environments, President Obama, the U.S. Dept of Education and the Federal Communications Commission announced recently a 70-page guide for schools to begin transitioning to digital learning. Locally, the RI Dept of Education will soon announce the winner of the Model School Grant award funded by U.S. Dept of Ed “Enhancing Education Through Technology (E2T2)” funds, for the redesign of a school that uses technology as the catalyst for transformation.
The Blended Learning & Technology Conference, subtitled “From Theory to Practice”, will bring together the practitioners, education technology gurus, and the people behind the tools for integration. Attendants will listen to educators already integrating technology in their teaching environments, and have the opportunity to “tinker, test and explore” applications and software on iPads, SMARTboards, and Android tablets.
“At Highlander, we understand the integration of technology for some educators and schools will be a gradual process. But the trend is moving quickly. This conference offers a comfortable environment to learn about these tools, and jumpstart the process,” Rubin said.
Conference speakers include Jennie Dougherty from edUPGRADE, a nonprofit that brings beta technology to teachers in exchange for feedback; Melissa Pickering, recent manager of Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach, and founder of iCreate to Educate; and Mohit Midha, COO of Mangahigh.com, a games based teaching resource for K-12 math.
Vendors and sponsors include: Broadband RI, Educreations, Engrade, K12, Learn Zillion, Lesson Writer, and Metryx.