Educators Learn About Bringing Technology into the Classroom at the 2013 eVisionary Conference

Valparaiso High School was filled with a different type of student on Wednesday as the teachers were the pupils at the 2013 eVisionary Conference. This is a state-wide initiative that provides educators the knowledge and tools that they need to make technology useful in their classrooms. For two consecutive days, teachers, administrators and others from the education realm come and learn about strategies and resources for digital classrooms, 21st century skills and standards, differentiation through technology, and leadership in the digital age. Attendees receive Professional Growth Plan (PGP) Points for attending as well.

Both days are filled with educational courses, workshops and speakers. Lunch is served in the middle of the conference, and then it’s back to work. Vendors are at the ready for attendees’ perusal during the lunch period with educational, technology and community enhancing tools and information – a teacher’s playground.

“We wrote a grant through the state of Indiana to apply to hold a conference,” Elizabeth Krutz, the Principal Central Elementary School, said. “There are 17 DOE sponsored conferences throughout the state and we have the only one in Northwest Indiana. This is an Elearning conference which is about everything technology and integrating it into the classroom where they are bringing teachers into the forefront of the 21st century.”

The conference was coordinated by Krutz, Olga Granat, Cynthia Svilar and Kristin Scheub. The spent months putting this together and are very pleased with the turnout. Over 500 people showed up for registration on day one. The keynote speakers that were brought in to talk to the attendees were Leslie Fisher, the owner of Fisher Technologies, Inc. who spoke on the first day and George Couros, the Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning for the Parkland School Division, who was the second day keynote speaker. There was also a meet and greet with YouTube sensation Harry Kindergarten on the opening day.

“Things have run very smoothly,” Granat said. “We had to close the attendance at 500. This was our goal, but it was lofty. At first we were nervous because we had people telling us that no one was going to come out in the middle of the summer, teachers are off for a break…but we started to promote anyway. And people started to trickle in. First it was 50 people, then 100, 200. I would have been happy with 250 people. Then it moved to 300, then 400 and I never though I’d have to post, ‘Registration Closed.’ I am feeling excited and very positive about this whole thing.”

On Wednesday evening there was a Tech Meet up at Zao Island for all who are looking to have some good food, good times and good technology talk.

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Sponsors: eLearning Indiana Department of Education, Canvas, Mastery Connect, ENA, Country Inn & Suites, TechSmith, Apex Learning, Emerge, Applied Educational Systems, Edmentum, Zao Island,, Communication Company, Empower Learning,, MyOn, Ice, Think Through Math, LightSpeed, Inspiration Software, Inc., NearPod, Lightspeed Systems, Pearson, Thorgren Industries, Porter Regional Hospital, Horizon Bank, Avalon Manor Banquet Center, Barnes and Noble Valparaiso, Coastal Valley Water Company.

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