Education Nation

Education Nation

A solutions-focused conversation about the state of education in America

Education Becoming High-Tech

A special symposium teaches local teachers about the future

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    NEWSLETTERS

    LA County Office of Education holds a symposium to show off the gizmos, gadgets, laptops and tablets that are changing the way children are taught/ (Published Friday, Oct 14, 2011)

    The Los Angeles County Office of Education set up the conference to introduce teachers to the future.

    Forget about blackboards and chalk.

    Tomorrow is going to be electronic -- at least to some degree.

    Teachers who gathered at the 21st Century Learners Symposium at Cal State Los Angeles got to check out robotic Legos, mini production studios, laptops and iPads.

    The nearly 700 attendees spent the day learning how to fit these gadgets into their lesson plans.

    The symposium was organized by the Office of Education's Instructional Technology Outreach program and the California Technology Assistance Project.

    "The walls of the classroom come down when you use these tools," said Jason Seliskar, a 4th grade teacher at Rowland Elementary in West Covina.

    His students showed off their mini-production studio.

    "They’re growing up with this technology. We’re the ones who need to catch up," he said.

    "We have to find ways to integrate it into the classroom, so we can engage them, communicate, create and collaborate," he added.

    The symposium included a lot of talk about "blended learning" where students learn both in the classroom and online. A recent report predicted half of all high school students would be involved in blended learning by 2019.

    It was a sentiment echoed by Raymond Chavez of the County Office of Education.

    Students these days he said "are pretty good with smart phones, laptops and such so we need to provide an opportunity 24/7 not just within the confines of the school building or school day."

    One of the most popular workshops at the symposium was on the iPad.

    The teacher who runs the computer lab at Evergreen Elementary in Boyle Heights said his students are learning how to do Excel spread sheets and PowerPoint presentations.

    "I think the main thing is not to get in their way," said Frank Rendon. "You think they can’t do it, but they can and once they get it, they toll with it."