Technology levels playing field

Staff writer

If schools substituted iPads or mini-iPads for textbooks, all students would have access to the same amount of information regardless of economic status.

That was the message keynote speaker Corrine Hoisington conveyed to 340 educators who gathered at Hillsboro High School Monday for the 2013 Technology Excellence in Education Network conference.

She said purchasing iPads or mini-iPads for students would cost one-half to one-third the cost of purchasing textbooks and would provide equal educational opportunities for all.

“Computers are old school,” she said. “BYOD, bring your own device, is becoming the new code word,” she said.

Google Microsoft glasses are the latest innovation being developed. The special glasses provide access to thousands of apps on the right-hand corner of one lens.

The emphasis in education will be on learning through projects and modeling technologies for each subject matter.

For example, Hoisington suggested that teachers could use new websites to help students create movies relative to the subject matter at hand.

“This helps students take pride in their work,” she said.

New computers are touch-based, and more than 30,000 technology apps are available to educators.

With multiple mobile devices available, it is much easier to connect than in the past, Hoisington said. Students need motivation to use the technology.

“This is the world your students will be growing up in,” she said. “Are you preparing them for it?”

The educators participated in numerous workshops that were available in three sessions throughout the day, led by 22 local presenters and a few others. Some of the topics explored were the Cloud drive, differentiated instruction, flipping, SMART technologies, and using the iPad and other electronic devices in the classroom.

Charlene Metcalf, a special education teacher at Marion Middle School, said she learned some new strategies to challenge students to think. She also learned about some new websites.

“It’s good to talk to others who work in the same area,” she said. “Sometimes we get bogged down, and it’s good to learn other ways to share.”

Kyvie Lahman of Dodge City is a junior at Tabor College. She attended the conference as part of her Introduction to Education class. She said her favorite session was the one about 21st Century Schools. She said students have access to technology; they just need to learn how to put it to practical use.

Angela Basore, a junior high math teacher from Centre, said she benefited from a session on incorporating visual, video, and bodily action to promote long-term memory.

Lenna Knoll, a third-grade teacher at Hillsboro, summed up the day this way: “You pick out one or two things you can use in your classroom.”

TEEN director Brandi Hendrix said she was pleased with the conference.

“Everything went smoothly,” she said.

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