DOT USA Delta Technology Summit Offers Public School Leaders The Opportunity to Capitalize on Cutting Edge Education Technologies and Brings International Education Delegation to Mississippi Delta
On Friday, September 23rd, 2011, Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) USA held its second annual Delta Technology Summit, which offered public school leaders and teachers from across the region the opportunity to experience cutting edge learning technologies and to gain tips and training for better utilizing existing computers, equipment, and software to boost student engagement and success.
Hosted by the DOT USA TeachUp! Program and the Center for Education Innovation, the Delta Technology Summit, which was completely free to attendees, was held at the Greenville Higher Education Center and featured innovative, hands-on sessions from experts in the fields of technology and education.
Keynote Speakers for the event included Janet Longmore, CEO and founder of Digital Opportunity Trust; Dr. Kate Kemker, Education Development Executive for Apple, Inc.; Francisco Javier Chávez Rangel, Secretary of Education for the state of Aguascalientes; and Tom Davidson, CEO of EverFi. During keynote presentations, attendees heard from leaders and innovators in the field of educational technology about the importance of preparing ourselves and the future generations for a world that has become fast-paced and technology driven as well as what educators can do to bridge the digital divide and prepare future generations for success.
"We are living in the first seconds of a digital age," said Longmore, CEO and Founder of DOT. "And in an economy that is no longer just local, but global and virtual, we must adequately and precisely prepare our future generations to compete and succeed by increasing digital literacy and building within them a sustainable foundation of knowledge and skills and an understanding of the technologies that drive our world that they might be better informed, inspired, and prepared to succeed in a technology driven world."
During the Technology Summit, DOT USA also welcomed a delegation of education officials from Mexico, which included Francisco Javier Chávez Rangel, Secretary of Education for the state of Aguascalientes; Oscar Ponce Hernández, Strategic Coordinator for "Digital Abilities for Everyone"; and Juana Alicia Espinosa, General Secretary of Section I of the National Union of Education Workers. Rangel shared with attendees the steps that Aguascalientes is taking to provide students with a technology-rich learning environment and the successes they have seen, in great part due to the implementation of the Mississippi and Louisiana-created TeachUp! Program. Now, the state of Aguascalientes will implement the same internationally acclaimed technology empowerment model statewide as its teacher preparation program. As part of the teacher preparation program and certification process, teaching candidates will serve as part of the TeachUp! Program where they will receive 21st century technology and professional skills training as well as learn how to effectively implement technology-rich, project-driven classroom lessons into the state curriculum to boost student learning and engagement. They will then spend their student teaching experience supporting and empowering teachers in schools across the state with the same technology integration knowledge while at the same time gaining hands-on experience in classrooms and schools in order to better prepare them for a teaching career.
During the summit Rangel signed an agreement with Nuria Arias, DOT USA Executive Director and Regional Executive for the America for DOT to implement this new teacher preparation model through the TeachUp! Program. Rangel said that as a result of the successes of the TeachUp! Program in Aguascalientes already, he is excited to see the positive outcomes and future successes the program will bring to current and future teachers across the state.
"When the TeachUp! Program was created, right here in Mississippi and Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, its goal was to provide teachers with technology-integration support and collaboration in order to effectively prepare our future generations to succeed in a world that is driven by technologies and advancing every day," said Arias. "Today we are so excited to see that that dream has not only become a reality, but has also grown into a program that will help to give our next and newest generations of teachers the technology knowledge, tools, and skills they will need to continue improving education and preparing students for success."
Throughout the day, participants had the opportunity to choose from 20 sessions on practical ways to transform and enhance classroom education by utilizing new technologies that excite and engage students---and better prepare them for the 21st high-tech world in which they will live.
"The opportunities to boost student engagement and success by utilizing computers and other new technology is growing very rapidly and this Summit is an effort to share some of these new and helpful tools and ideas with our Delta schools," said Dr. Rhea Williams-Bishop, executive director of the Center for Education Innovation. "Our foundation has been excited to work closely with our Delta Partner schools on ways to strengthen public education in the region and this Technology Summit was our latest offering for Delta school leaders and teachers," said Williams-Bishop.
Sponsors of the September 23rd Delta Technology Summit include: Digital Opportunity Trust-USA, the Center for Education Innovation, College Knowledge, the Clicker Girls, the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, and Planters Bank & Trust. In-kind sponsors are WatchKnowLearn and the Jefferson Parish Public School System.
Above Photo Courtesy of Bill Johnson, Delta Democrat Times
Teachup instructor Elizabeth Towe presents a class on iPads in elementary and middle school classrooms Friday morning during the first session at Greenville Higher Education Center. Educators from across the state gathered at GHEC for this second annual free technology in education summit to learn how to bring new technology into the classroom.