Connee Bentley, a 30-year educator, joined nearly 600 West Ada colleagues on Wednesday to learn new technology skills. Bentley is taking the opportunity to check out new tools and software to improve how she teaches language arts at Galileo STEM Academy.
“I’m getting to meet with the vendors to actually look at programs that I would never get to look at or know about. I really enjoy it when the presenters share experiences of what they do in the classroom,” Bentley said.
West Ada’s eighth annual Tech Expo is an event that features hands-on lessons and curriculum building planning sessions, teachers modeling innovative instructional techniques, dozens of education technology vendors and the chance for educators to try out the latest innovations.
“I think it’s very important to be using technology in the classroom,” Superintendent Linda Clark said during the opening session. “What we are doing here is creating a system of personalized learning that maximizes the talents and skills for students.”
Educators discussed topics including Google power search and how to use Google searching for education, write-to-learn digital writing, demonstrating student understanding through iPad apps, 3D printing in the classroom and many other subjects.
“Teachers come on their own time, this is not required. It shows a great deal about the dedication of our staff,” Clark said. “We can no longer ask students to power down when they come to the schoolhouse. We have to use the tools they use in their life to enhance their learning.”
Bentley said she is playing catch up on technology, as her students usually know more about the latest trends.
“It is such an important thing for students to have technology and for them to be knowledgeable. It’s about using it in an effective way,” Bentley said.