August 2013

Bucks-Lehigh EduSummit Engages Educators in Eastern PA

by Randy Ziegenfuss on August 17, 2013

BLES13logobOn August 13 and 14, educators across Eastern PA, mostly from Lehigh and Bucks counties, gathered at Southern Lehigh High School for the Bucks-Lehigh EduSummit to share and learn about technology and instructional practices. Salisbury was well represented among the conference organizers, presenters and attendees. Check out the conversation on Twitter at the hashtag #bles13.

The article below is shared with permission of Ricki Stein, Community Relations Coordinator for the Quakertown Community School District.

By Ricki Stein, QCSD Community Relations Coordinator

As lifelong learners, teachers can share plenty of resources and strategies they utilize in their classrooms. Before they head back to school to share with students for the 2013-14 year, nearly 300 teachers and administrators met to share with each other at the Bucks-Lehigh EduSummit, held Aug. 13 and 14 at Southern Lehigh High School.

After Quakertown hosted the first EduSummit with partner Palisades last summer, the EduSummit grew to include Project Red partners, Salisbury and Southern Lehigh this school year. The four districts invited educators from all over the region, including Bucks, Berks, Lehigh and Northampton county school districts, as well as the Carbon Lehigh and Colonial Intermediate Units. Participants arrived with every conceivable technology device, including laptops, cellphones, iPads and tablets, from as far East as Jersey City, and as far West as Pottsville and Hershey.

In addition to keynote speakers from Discovery Education and Hewlett Packard, volunteer teachers and administrators taught 75 hour-long sessions over the two days. The wide variety of topics included using social media and legal considerations of it in the classroom; iTunesU; Envision Math; Digital Data Collection for Special Education; Streamlining with Evernote; Blackboard; Google Tools; Common Core in the Content Area; Flipped Classrooms; Professional Profiles with LinkedIn and Facebook; Project Based Learning; Screencasting; iPads in the classroom; Discovery; iMovies; and Edmodo; and free education resources.

“The vision of the EduSummit was to provide a grassroots un-conference that breaks down traditional school district boundaries of professional development.  Too often, districts go at it alone, and one goal of the EduSummit was for districts to collaborate, share resources, and network; all in an effort to become more effective for our kids,” said Tom Murray, Director of Technology and Cyber Education for Quakertown, and one of the founders of the first EduSummit.

Some participants planned to stop in for a few sessions and leave, but were enticed to stay for the whole day because presenters offered so much useful information that teachers can use in their classrooms this year. As keynote speaker Hall Davidson of Discovery Education noted, students come to school as digital natives, using omnipresent technology every day. Teachers need to capture students’ attention and imaginations with technology in the classroom.

Presenter Joyce Parsons, a Southern Lehigh graduate, works for the American Councils for International Education, supported by the U.S. State Department. She shared resources to help teachers add global education to their classroom content, emphasizing the fact that technology has made the world a smaller place. Participants Skyped with Hanan Gawdat, in Egypt. She taught Arabic at Southern Lehigh High School last year. She cried when she saw two SLHS teachers in the session.

“It’s important for students to get to know the people and their culture before they learn the language,” Hanan said. “We get to know each other’s similarities when American students can connect with students in Egypt.”

During the second day keynote speech, Mike Belcher, HP Education Strategist, showed the audience some technology tools they can expect to see in the next five years. These included touch screen computers that doubled as student desk tops – as in, traditional student desks. He cautioned that when used properly, technology engages students and can serve relevant content.

The Bucks-Lehigh EduSummit provided an outstanding opportunity for educators to learn, share and collaborate,” said Michael Roth, Salisbury Superintendent. “As we continue to prepare our return to classrooms, schools and districts, the tools shared and the connections developed at the EduSummit have given us all a boost to focus on the great things we can accomplish for and with our students.”

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1-1AtHomeThis article has been cross-posed on the blog for Teaching and Learning 2014 – TL2014.org.

Book Study

Using Jason Brand’s new book, 1-to-1 at Home, we will explore the challenges parents experience at home managing a school-issued laptop computer. Participating parents can expect to develop strategies to address monitoring, filtering, and access to social networks, video games and video chat. Participants will receive a free copy of the book along with a study guide prior to the first session. Session facilitators will be Supervisor of Instructional Practice, Mrs. Lynn Fuini-Hetten, and Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Randy Ziegenfuss.

What: 1-to-1 at Home book study
When: September 16, 30 & October 21
Where:  Administration Building, 1140 Salisbury Road
Time: 7-8 pm
Other: Online! @ http://www.stsd.org/11athome.
Or phone Mary Bishop at 610-797-2062
Questions? contact Randy Ziegenfuss at rziegenfuss@stsd.org. .

Flyer

Study Guide

 

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SAS…More than PA Standards!

August 4, 2013

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has developed a comprehensive researched-based resource to improve student achievement called the Standards-Aligned System (SAS), available at http://www.pdesas.org.  The site is publicly accessible, but provides additional resources to users such as teachers when they log in. To browse the PA Standards in traditional content areas, click on the Standards tab […]

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The Power of Partnerships: BLES EduSummit 2013 for Educators

August 2, 2013

The Quakertown Community School District, Palisades School District, Pennridge School District, Salisbury Township School District, and Southern Lehigh School District have been working over the past several months on plans for the Bucks Lehigh EduSummit 2013 to be held August 13-14 from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Southern Lehigh High School.  This collaboratively organized […]

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