WMU News

Educational technology leaders gather for conference

April 21, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- The biggest byte in educational technology this year is more likely to be financial, not technical, and those who oversee school technology efforts must be prepared to deal with it, according to organizers of the 6th Annual Educational Technology Coordinators Conference.

That's just one topic to be addressed during the May 1-2 meeting, which takes place in Western Michigan University's Fetzer Center. The event begins at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 1, with a series of pre-conference workshops designed to offer educators hands-on training and demonstrations. This year's pre-conference activities will take participants on a virtual trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art, offer tips on putting a Palm personal digital assistant to work in the classroom and showcase new ways of delivering professional development to school employees.

The conference is sponsored by WMU's College of Education and is the only such meeting in Michigan devoted exclusively to the issues faced by technology coordinators, says Dr. James Bosco, an educational technology expert and professor of educational studies. The topics tackled during the conference are always relevant--technology coordinators plan everything--and timely, he says.

"One of the issues this year is the financial problems in school districts," said Bosco. "A lot of schools are faced with the problem of not losing the hard-won victories gained over the past few years. Many technology coordinators are concerned about having resources pulled from their hands. Others are grappling with the need to show increased accountability for what information technology does for schools. They're dealing with the questions of whether you show the benefit to kids in schools by looking simply at MEAPS, or do you go beyond that the extent to which they're engaged in their studies, and experiencing new learning opportunities?"

In addition to tackling tough economic matters, participants in the 2003 conference will share ideas with other technology coordinators in Michigan and neighboring states, address common facilities issues, focus on new developments that directly impact technology leaders, and explore other issues affecting school technology.

Craig Nansen, educational technology coordinator for the Minot Public Schools in North Dakota, is the speaker for the conference's 8:30 a.m. keynote event. Nansen has won numerous awards as a technology coordinator and as a classroom teacher.

Other activities scheduled for Friday, May 2, include a series of sessions in which several additional issues will be discussed, including:

"No Child Left Behind" and its implications for technology leaders

Funding for technology

Promoting informational technology programs to constituents

Evaluating district-wide technology

Virtual field trips

Fees range from $45 for the workshops only to $85 for the full conference. Continuing education credits (.5) are available to full conference participants who pay an additional $10.

For more information, visit the conference Web site at <www.wmich.edu/edtech/conference> or call WMU Conferences and Seminars at (269) 387-4174.

Media contact: Gail Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

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