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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan 24, 2007    #008
Contact: Amanda Lepper
(816) 235-1592

Area educators band together to address technology issues in education

In anticipation of increasingly-demanding state and federal standards on teachers’ and students’ proficiency in technology, educators from nearly 30 Kansas and Missouri school districts will gather next week to identify their schools’ technological shortcomings and identify ways to help one another move their classrooms and students forward in today’s tech savvy world.

The collaborative effort takes the form of the first Regional TechNet Conference, organized by the recently-formed Kansas City Metropolitan Educational Technology Network. The non-profit group is the brain child of Molly Mead, the technology coordinator for the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Education. Mead wanted to find a way for area educators to help one another bridge technology gaps and find the best possible way to use technology for effective teaching, learning and administration.

“If your idea of what education is supposed to be is to prepare a child to work in the real world, you’re giving them the short shift is you’re not preparing them to work with technology,” Mead said. “Technology skills are among the top skills desired by today’s workplaces.”

The TechNet Conference, scheduled for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 1 at the University of Central Missouri’s Lee’s Summit campus, immediately saw overwhelming interest from a wide variety of educators. Nearly 300 technology coordinators from urban, suburban and rural school districts plan to attend, far exceeding Mead’s hopes for 100 attendees in the conference’s first year.

The conference will showcase the leading technology being used in some area classrooms and demonstrate how that technology can be used for effective and engaging teaching. Mead suspects the event will be particularly beneficial for those educators who fight the implementation of technology in their classrooms.

“I think a lot of times teachers have a predisposition to be suspicious of technology because they don’t want it to take their place in the classroom,” she said. “But we want them to see it will only help them do a better job of teaching.”

Mead said classroom technology is becoming increasingly important as state and federal standards continue to require greater computer proficiency from teachers and students alike. For instance, all area 8th graders currently are tested for certification in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

“In Massachusetts, teachers have to take proficiency tests and they lose their tenure if they’re not using technology in the,” Mead said. “It’s affecting the whole country.”

For more information about the TechNet Conference, contact Mead at (816) 235-5484 or meadmo@umkc.edu or go online to http://education.umkc.edu/technet/conference.html.

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