SDN Blog

Tech conference for educators expected to draw record crowd

Posted on Friday, April 08, 2016

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2016 TIE Conference for Technology, Innovation & Education

Advances in technology are creating significant opportunities for improving education in South Dakota, but taking full advantage of new teaching methods requires schools to break from the past.

A “one size fits all” approach, with one teacher instructing 25 students, no longer makes sense, says Dr. Julie Mathiesen, director of Technology & Innovation in Education, or TIE.

“We have the technology to make the learning experience so much better for everyone. We must untether teacher readiness to deliver content and skills from student readiness to receive them,” Mathiesen says.

Breaking the link helps create a blended learning environment that allows schools to make better use of their teachers and the technology to help students learn in their own style and at their own rate, she says.

Those are the kinds of issues that K-12 teachers, administrators and technology staffers will talk about April 10-12 in Sioux Falls at the annual TIE Conference.  TIE is a Rapid City-based organization that helps K-12 schools in South Dakota and the region stay current with advances in technology and training strategies.

TIE’s annual conference alternates locations between Sioux Falls and Rapid City. This year’s gathering at the Sioux Falls Convention Center is expected to draw a record crowd. Mathiesen says more than 1,500 people have registered to attend.

The conference is for registered participants only. However, organizers are opening the Sunday evening keynote address to anyone who would like to attend.

Ginger Lewman, an education consultant from Kansas who specializes in project and problem-based learning and technology integration, is scheduled to speak at 6:45 p.m. Sunday. The challenge for education leaders, in Lewman’s view, is to help students take a smart leap into the future with yesterday’s values in place.

The Monday morning keynoter will be George Couros, a division principal of innovative teaching and learning in Alberta, Canada. He will talk about trends in education and the world, and how to create a learning environment by engaging students.

Among the other presenters at the conference is Carrie Johnson, manager of government and external relations at SDN Communications. She’ll address the federal government’s E-Rate Program funding available to schools and libraries during her breakout session at 10:55 a.m. on Monday. (E-Rate is short for the Universal Service Administrative Company's (USAC) Schools and Libraries Program.)

In recent years, changes in the program have made more funding available for schools and libraries. That’s especially true for institutions developing Wi-Fi networks to allow students and faculty members to better connect laptops and tablets. Reforms in the program are helping school leaders create an improved foundation to support digital learning, she says.

Dozens of other topics also will be discussed during breakout sessions on Monday and Tuesday. Subjects range from game-based learning to the best websites and apps available to educators.

In addition to providing a breakout presenter, SDN also will be among the exhibitors. You can find them at booth No. 47 where they’ll demonstrate Cisco’s Meraki cloud-based, network-management systems. The equipment allows network administrators to manage Macs, PCs, mobile phones, Ethernet switches and other devices from a single, centralized dashboard – which qualifies for E-Rate funding.

The conference marks TIE’s 30th anniversary as an organization that has expanded its role to help schools with learning services as well technology.

”Technology is always changing and evolving. The conference helps everyone stay current,” Mathiesen says.

Schools and businesses interested in an onsite demonstration of the Cisco Meraki platform can request a meeting using the button below.

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