CES Conference Explores How Technology Can Help Students Learn

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HOLYOKE, MA –  The Collaborative for Educational Services, in collaboration with MassCue, hosted the 2013 Technology in Education Conference on January 14th at the Kittredge Center at Holyoke Community College from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Over 200 educators, technology specialists, and administrators from Pioneer Valley schools attended the event.

As advanced technologies transform nearly every industry, competency with these new tools is critical for students’ success in school and their future careers in the twenty-first century. A variety of conference workshops focus on the exciting work educators are doing locally, nationally and world-wide to engage students by integrating technology into K-12 curriculum.

This conference is intended to engage educators and administrators at all levels in meaningful discussion about the evolving role of technology in education. These discussions are especially timely given that Governor Patrick signed a bill last week promoting the development of up to ten new virtual schools around the state.

A morning panel discussion explored some of the issues related to virtual schools. Panelists include Luis Rodriguez, Director of Digital Learning for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE); Anne McKenzie, Executive Director of the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative (LPVEC); CES Chief Technology Officer, Antonio Pagan; and Susan Hollins, Superintendent of Greenfield Public Schools, which operates the first virtual school in Massachusetts.

“We are hoping that the conversation that gets started during this panel contributes to developing the regulations around these new schools, including the need for integrating face-to-face instruction and support,” said Pagan. According to the new law, only school districts and educational collaboratives like CES and LPVEC are allowed to apply for and operate the virtual schools through the 2013-2019 school years.

The morning keynote speaker, Sylvia Martinez, spoke about how technology can be utilized to involve students more in the design of their own educational process. Martinez is President of Generation YES, a non-profit global organization promoting student-centered learning with technology. At lunch, Rodriguez will continue to explore the impact of new virtual learning environments on students and educators in his luncheon talk on digital learning trends.

For more information about the conference, visit tep-wm.org/conference.

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