Trussville Educational Technology Conference

About Trussville City Schools
We are a new school system with 4 schools, 4,500 students, and 300 faculty and staff. Suzanne Freeman, Superintendent, is committed to move our school system from good to great. A part of this commitment is to develop a greater capacity for 21st Century skills with faculty, staff, students, parents, and the community. To begin this process, she hired Shawn Nutting as Directory of Technology who brought his expertise from the IT business world to create an infrastructure to support Web 2.0 in the classroom. In 2007, April Chamberlain was brought on board as a teacher in residence to assist the technology department and teachers to understand and utilize the tools and resources that are available to educate students.

Design of TETC 2006
In order for a large scale 21st Century program, you must have teachers who are more than comfortable with technology. Last year, we created the Trussville Educational Technology Conference to enable teachers to attend 4 hours of technology professional development during a teacher workday in January. The conference featured the technology staff who assisted in teaching teachers how to maintain their SharePoint webpages, uses of the wireless laptops there were to receive at the end of the conference, and some classes exploring Web 2.0 skills. However, because the majority of teachers had never even heard of blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc., it was extremely difficult to locate people to train during the conference.

Design of TETC 2007
While reflecting on last year’s conference, we realized the need to bring in speakers who were currently using Web 2.0 tools in their classroom. In October, Shawn presented at the K12 Online Conference about Overcoming Obstacles, Internet Access with Minimal Filtering. We both attended many sessions of the conference and quickly realized that we would love to have these presentations at our TETC for our teacher’s benefits. We contacted Sheryl about the idea and began to formulate plans to developing a blended conference for TETC 2007. The conference would consist of 10 live presenters and moderators to assist with the delivery of the 11 presenters chosen from the K12 Online Conference. Sheryl Nussbaum Beach, keynote speaker, hooked our teachers with video created by students, Skyping Jett Utecht from China, and much more! The teachers then moved through the three presentations that they had previously selected utilizing their wireless laptops to gain knowledge of Web 2.0 skills in their sessions. We created a SharePoint site at to place all presentations so that the conference could be extended by teachers who wanted to revisit a session, participate in a session they were unable to attend, and continue conversation with others through a blog on each presentation’s site.

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Reflections on TETC 2007
Teachers were much more engaged in these sessions than sessions at TETC 2006 because they were based on real teacher’s work with their students. We also saw a great increase in motivation of teachers to utilize Web 2.0 tools in their classrooms after the conference. As a Technology Specialist, I am able to further utilize the resources of the K12 Online Conference during professional development throughout the remainder of the year and to suggest to teachers to view themselves when they express an interest in a skill or tool.

In Conclusion
The value of the K12 Online Conference has enable us to bring key leaders into our school system who we would never have been able to afford, introduce learning in an online environment, and maintain professional development opportunities 24/7 for teachers. We will continue to participate in K12 Online Conference and promote its resources.