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7/15/2013
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Education Tech: What's Trending?

Education Technology Innovation Summit in NYC will highlight hot trends in education technology, from mobile to gamification.

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Educators and industry experts will gather to discuss new ideas and products in education technology on July 25 in New York City. Attendees of the Education Technology Innovation Summit (ETIS) will hear from leaders who are revolutionizing the field.

The ETIS conference is the result of a longtime progression of education technology. Classroom tools have evolved from chalk and blackboards to styli and smartboards. Notebook computers replace college-ruled notepads as students embrace technology as a component of daily lessons.

"It's time that we really showcased the educational technology innovations happening," said Todd Marks, CEO of Mindgrub and host of ETIS, in an interview. The conference will feature 28 experts who will discuss new themes in education such as mobile learning, the educational technology ecosystem, game-based learning, educational technology startups and learning in the cloud.

[ More than 50% of parents support classroom technology. Read Parents Press For Mobile Tech In Education. ]

Eric Sheninger, principal of New Milford High School and ETIS keynote speaker, was opposed to social media and mobile devices in schools until March 2009, when he mistakenly happened upon Twitter. His decision to create an account ultimately transformed his approach to education. "I started using Twitter more, and I became educated on how social media could be integrated into a learning environment," Sheninger said in an interview.

Fast forward four years. Social media and new technologies are ubiquitous at New Milford High and have changed how students learn. "We use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, YouStream, leveraging all the available tools to showcase not only how we're integrating technology, but also the many initiatives we have working for us," Sheninger explained.

In his keynote, Sheninger will address changes that must occur in schools to create the type of digital culture of New Milford High. "I want to challenge attendees to think about how school can structure and function in a similar fashion to the real world," he said. Sheninger will also focus on the pillars of digital leadership, strategies that educators can use to harness the power of education technology.

Andrew Coy, the executive director for Baltimore's Digital Harbor Foundation, will give the afternoon keynote speech. Coy transformed a closing recreational center into a tech center where inner-city students learn technological and entrepreneurial skills that are not taught in schools. The center aims to help students discover passions in the tech field and give them resources to succeed.

Students "need an innovative space, and out-of-school time is such an important part of that," Coy said in an interview.

Coy will discuss the importance of "ed tech for tech ed." By making tech tools available in tech education, he hopes to put more disadvantaged students on paths towards successful tech careers. He will also speak about the programs and progress of the Digital Harbor Foundation, how it fosters success, and where the future of education should go.

"We're re-imagining what education can and should be," Coy said. Today's students spend most of their academic careers choosing from answers on multiple choice tests. Coy argues that in order to develop the skills to succeed in an innovative economy, students should be trained to create answers of their own. "Instead of asking kids to do their minimum, we should be asking them to do their maximum," he emphasized.

ETIS attendees will be able to speak with industry experts such as Sheninger and Coy during two of the conference's scheduled networking events.

"The rise in educational technology is overwhelming," said Marks. Yet changes in classrooms cannot occur without the collaboration of educators and technology professionals. "The conference is aiming to be a catalyst in bringing together the companies and individuals in education technology with the school systems and teachers that need to use it."

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