Concord school officials attend ISTE Conference and Expo

Photo providedConcord Assistant Superintendent Tim Tahara takes a selfie with his staff at the ISTE 2018 Conference and Expo. Pictured in back, from left, are Renee Cocanower, Denise Tahara, Tyler Stevens, Matthew Jerlecki and Mickey Wager. Pictured in front, from left, are Kendra Divine and Anna Kridler.

DUNLAP — Educators with Concord Community Schools were among thousands who attended the 2018 International Society for Technology in Education Conference and Expo in Chicago to learn about the latest approaches in teaching and learning.

Technology is an increasingly important component of education at Concord Community Schools, and the conference is one of the world’s most influential education technology events.

This year’s theme was Creative Problem Solvers, which drew a record crowd of 24,000 people to McCormick Place to discover new approaches, connect with like-minded educators and bring new techniques back to their schools, according to an ISTE news release.

Concord Assistant Superintendent Tim Tahara said the conference provided an opportunity for his staff to learn from international experts on children and how they are growing up in the 21st century and the impact of technologies on their lives.

“We learned that education needs to change to accommodate students and about the technological tools that can improve upon and enhance the experience they have in our schools on a daily basis,” Tahara said.

This district is currently preparing for its one-to-one rollout this fall, which will allow each student to use an electronic device to access the Internet, digital course materials, and digital textbooks. Tahara said the conference was beneficial in learning what works well for one-to-one schools across the country.

In total, the district has ordered 2,750 Chromebooks for students in grades seven to 12, teachers and some for the shelves for emergency use, Tahara said.

Speaking on ideas learned at the conference that could be implemented in the district, Tahara said the group spent time looking at adaptive technologies that could help bring equity to special children with hearing or vision impairments, new English language learners, students with reading comprehension difficulties and those who may be struggling with math and abstract concepts.

“Technology can provide avenues for these students to examine all of these concepts in a different and interactive way that engages them and can immerse them in the content,” he said.

Kendra Divine, a digital learning specialist at Concord Community Schools, said the conference helped her better learn that harnessing technology has the power to connect, educate and change the world.

“Best practice for our modern world means blending online and offline experiences,” she said.

In addition to Tahara and Divine, Concord staff who attended the conference were: College Early and Readiness director Denise Tahara; Secondary Education director Renee Cocanower; Primary Education director Mickey Wagner; high school math teacher Anna Kridler and digital learning specialists Matt Jerlecki and Tyler Stevens.

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