The subject of the day: technology and how it can help improve education for the students in the Valley.
IVC and the Imperial County Office of Education jointly held a technology conference at the community college’s new science building, bringing out about 300 educators, students and presenters to the Cinco de Mayo-themed event, Tech de Mayo.
The purpose of the one-day conference was to bring educators from around the county together to learn new techniques and technologies they can incorporate in the classroom, said Todd Finnell, vice president for information technology for IVC.
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“It’s just amazing stuff that people here are doing,” he said.
It’s not the first time this conference has happened, he said. In the early 2000s there were three annual conferences, but there hasn’t been one since 2003. Now that the college has a technological advanced building like the science building thanks to the community supporting the college’s bond measure, there’s a place for something like the conference to take place.
And since the last conference in 2003, technology has changed substantially.
On display were some of the latest technologies in the Imperial Valley, like iPads in classrooms at Jefferson Elementary School in Calexico and Math, Engineering, Science Achievement robotics projects. Technology in students’ hands have already had an effect in the classroom.
“It already has a big impact, and we’re only scratching the surface,” Finnell said.
Some teachers are not comfortable or even afraid of the technology and admitting they may not know as much as their students in that regard, said Teri Sanders, senior director of education technology at ICOE. The teachers don’t always have to be that expert, and the students can be great resources, she said. Teachers, though, have to be there to put the information into context.
The conference is also an opportunity for teachers to rejuvenate and energize themselves, she said.
Some of those were already ready to take what they learned back to the classroom.
For Betsy Riehle, math teacher at IVC, she originally decided to go to the conference because teachers at IVC are required to do a certain amount of staff development, and this local conference was one of the options. It’s really nice to get to do something like this locally, she said.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for your money,” she said. “And I’ve already learned a lot of interesting things.”
Presentations like that by keynote speaker Rushton Hurley’s were inspirational, she said. Riehle said she’s hoping to go back in and connect with her students at a time when both the teachers and students are getting burned out.
“That in itself was worth the $20 (registration fee),” she said.
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-337-3441.
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