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The Connected Classroom

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EducationPlus is excited to announce that Global Education Evangelist (at Google) Jaime Casap and The Daring Librarian Gwyneth Jones will be the two keynotes for the annual METC Conference. METC 2015 is February 9-11 at the St. Charles Convention Center. METC is a program of EducationPlus and an affiliate of ISTE. To learn more about the conference, such as when the call for proposals is due, visit www.METCconference.org.

Call for Proposals-3And on Twitter, follow: @METCedplus, @jcasap and @gwynethjones.

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Untitled design-8Do you know what type of digital footprint you are creating? Anyone using the web or a mobile device leaves a digital footprint. Because of AUPs and best practices guidelines, school leaders are faced with creating policies that students can follow & teachers can support. We teach our children how to be safe within the physical community, but what about norms for appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use? Learn how July 17-18; click on the image for more info.

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Kevin Honeycutt, Will BlaylockThe Connected Classroom is the EducationPlus Learning Division blog. Here are the top five most visited posts for the past month – did you contribute to the clicks?

#1 Making IT Happen: Will Blaylock

#2 2014 METC Conference Keynotes: Kevin Honeycutt and Lodge McCammon

#3 Student Journalists Cover METC Live

#4 Sharpen Your Skills and Open Up New Worlds!

#5 Stream Video from METC 2014

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William BlaylockMaking IT Happen is an internationally recognized awards program from ISTE for educators and leaders in the field of educational technology integration in K–12 schools. The program identifies and rewards educational technology leaders around the world for their commitment and innovation. The Midwest Education Technology Community (METC) ISTE affiliate is pleased to honor our latest Making IT Happen educator.

METC’s most recent Making IT Happen winner has been an invaluable part of the Rockwood School District. He has moved the district into the digital age by being a flexible leader who is constantly looking to see what tools and practices will serve his students and teachers well. At the same time, he is constantly evaluating current tools that are no longer relevant or do not meet district instructional needs. In his tenure, he has implemented many organizational structures including collaborative online productivity through Google Apps for Education, and has introduced bring your own device into the district to give students more access to digital tools.

As the Director of Technology in Rockwood, he has been integral in creating a digital learning environment where teachers and students can use technology seamlessly. He oversees the Instructional Technology Specialists who help classroom teachers use technology as part of their instructional practice. Leadership provided by our winner has been integral to the process of getting technology into the hands of students in the district. He models technology in all of his meetings with teachers, administrators and community members and highlights the work that Rockwood teachers are doing in their classrooms.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Southeast Missouri State University, a master’s degree in teaching from Webster University and a master’s degree in strategic studies from Army War College in Carlisle, PA. He has leadership roles on several local, regional and international professional technology organizations and committees and also serves as Brigade Commander in the Missouri National Guard.  In addition to the Making IT Happen award, he has been recognized with awards for his work in education and technology and received medals including Meritorious Service, Missouri Conspicuous Service, Bronze Star and Humanitarian Service.

While he has been in instructional technology since 1997 and has greatly contributed to the use of technology in his district, his expertise has benefited the St. Louis area as well. He has served on the METC advisory Committee for many years, serves as adjunct professor at Webster University, and has served as president of the Educational Technology Association. His work in education has touched and influenced many people throughout his career and will continue to do so. Whether he is writing a grant to provide technology resources to teachers and students, or providing a vision to his district, Will Blaylock is truly Making IT Happen in the St. Louis area.

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METC-New-Color-LogoEducationPlus is excited to announce the creation of the Midwest Education Technology Community (METC), an educational technology resource that helps innovative learners connect.

The new METC merges the benefits of two great programs, the annual Midwest Education Technology Conference and the Missouri Education Technology Community, our affiliate of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

METC features the tagline, “Connecting Innovative Learners,” as educators who take advantage of METC resources seek out ways to connect with the latest technology, other educators and students.

METC educators engage learners and transform learning in their actions and reactions.  Our resources help the educator and the learner motivate, engage, transform and connect.

Our conference is one of the largest educational technology conferences in the nation with nearly 2,000 attendees.  During the conference, international and national experts share the latest in technology trends, local educational leaders share best practices for implementing technology in the classroom and educators get a unique opportunity to collaborate.

As an ISTE affiliate, METC provides educators a wealth of valuable resources including opportunities for networking and collaboration, discounts on registrations and educational resources and a connection to the global clearinghouse of resources that ISTE provides.

For more information on the new METC, please contact Stephanie Madlinger, director of teaching and learning, smadlinger@edplus.org, or Megan Moncure, METC conference coordinator,  mmoncure@edplus.org.

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midwest spotlight educator 2014

Top left to right: April Burton, Amy Taylor, Megan Chambers, Gina Hartman, Chris McGee  |  Bottom left to right: Robert Dillon, Christine Ruder, Nick Cusumano, Heidi Morgan, Kelly Gilchrist

The METC Conference’s Midwest Spotlight Educators is an honor that recognizes education technology leaders in the region, whose practices are making a difference for students and teachers. This is reflected in increased knowledge, improved skills and academic achievement by integrating technology into their instructional practices. The 2014 Midwest Spotlight Educators were selected, after an application process, by the METC Planning and Advisory Committee. Look for The Connected Classroom to profile each leading up to METC in February; in the meantime, click on the photo above to learn more about the selected Illinois and Missouri educators. Congratulations to the 2014 spotlight educator group! Each will present at least twice at the conference.

METC is a program of Cooperating School Districts and the METC ISTE affiliate.

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Several of the Midwest Education Technology Conference Advisory Committee members have volunteered to read the books being offered at the METC book store  and are providing brief reviews on the content. Here are the latest:

Reinventing Project-Based Learning – Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age
By Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss, Reviewed by Will Blaylock

PBL BookReinventing Project-Based Learning is an outstanding resource to use when working with teachers on how to best implement Project Based Learning.  This is the first resource I have found that takes the teacher from beginning to end on how to plan, implement and assess project based learning.  The authors use vignettes throughout the book demonstrating real-world examples.  This should be very beneficial when working with teachers who are not eager to adopt this instructional model.  Most chapters include a realistic example, discussion on the topic and how-to’s when it comes to leveraging technology.  Technology use is woven throughout the book to amplify the positive effect it can have on the learning process.  An interesting and timely topic of discussion within the book is the development of a Professional Learning Community to facilitate the implementation of Project Based Learning. I highly recommend this book to increase personal learning as it relates to Project Based Learning!

1-to-1 Online Learning: Laptop Programs that Work
By Pamela Livingston , Reviewed by Cindy Marston

1-to-1 Online LearningThis book is an  in-depth and practical guide for administrators, teachers, and parents.  As a second edition, it contains chapters on programs using tablet PCs and effective use of Web2.0 resources.  The book is well-organized into three parts, allowing readers to easily  locate the information they seek and skim what may be marginally relevant.  Part 1 describes the possibilities of a 1-to-1 program, with specifics from several schools, including Whitfield  School right here in St. Louis (page 43),  and a chapter that summarizes the research and lessons learned from early adopters.  Part 2 discusses the critical steps of planning and implementation, including a “must read” chapter on professional development for teachers.  Finally, the chapters in Part  3 contains practical information regarding classroom management, helping to answer the essential question: What does teaching and learning look like when every student has a computer in front of them?  Based on her research, Ms. Livingston makes strong and  persuasive arguments that “students get to the thinking levels faster when they have their own digital assistants to help them.”

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