Engage Technology Conference Fosters Collaborative Learning

July 19, 2017

Approximately 350 SAISD teachers and staff members gathered at Lake View High School on Tuesday for the 2nd Annual Engage technology conference. During the conference, teachers learned technology integration ideas, time saving tips, and resources to help create engaging classrooms for their students. 

Attendees enjoyed a day full of collaboration, sharing and hands-on learning through multiple breakout sessions presented by fellow SAISD teachers. Some of the topics presented included coding, Google Classroom, interactive notebooks, iPads, SMART Boards, Chromebooks, Skype, and more.

Participants were also able to see an example of a Maker Space, a hands-on place where students can gather to create, invent, tinker, explore and discover using a variety of tools and materials. 

District Instructional Technology Coordinator Laura Howard said that the purpose of the conference was to provide teachers with the tools, strategies, and resources they need to equip their students for a technology-driven world. "Technology is not the future,” said Howard. “It's now. We want to make sure we are doing what is best for our students. If we are not exposing our students to technology and how they can solve problems, think critically, communicate, and collaborate, we do them a huge disservice."

That theme was reinforced by keynote speaker Michael Jaber, a nationally recognized Google Certified Trainer and Innovator. Jaber is the Instructional Technology Coordinator in the Sheboygan, Wisconsin Area School District. His message was simple. "The Tech Train is Leaving! Are You On Board?" Jaber encouraged attendees to "get on board this technology train. The train is leaving the station. If you’re not onboard, you’re going to get left behind." He said that students are being brought up with technology and that traditional teaching methods are not effective anymore. 

Jaber also encouraged teachers not to be afraid of technology and to seek support from their peers. And that is what Engage was all about - teachers teaching teachers. Howard said that by utilizing our own staff members, SAISD was able to leverage the resources and knowledge already available within the district. Many teachers are already using technology successfully in their classrooms, and those teachers were able to share their knowledge with others in a collaborative learning environment, making Engage a truly engaging experience.