ANDERSON — Licking at an ice cream cone from Good’s, Wesley Kupferer, 12, held a tablet over a Merge Cube to demonstrate how it worked, bringing up a model of the solar system.
“You can use them to learn or to play games,” the Pendleton Heights Middle School seventh-grader said. “You can rotate the cube to get different angles on the stuff.”
The students became the teachers Tuesday as they performed demonstrations of new classroom technologies at several stations during the regional eLead conference at Anderson High School.
About 375 educators from public and private schools throughout Madison County were estimated to attend the conference each day.
One of the largest in the state, the conference is one of 18 offered this summer.
Wesley said technology is helpful for students as they learn new concepts.
“It’s different ways to learn that’s not just books,” he said. “It helps get information faster, and it’s more enjoyable, so you pay more attention.”
Wesley said he enjoyed the role reversal.
“It’s fun to tell other people about things they don’t know about,” he said.
Holy Cross teacher Janice Martin reflected on how much classroom technology has changed since she became a teacher 35 years ago when electric typewriters were considered high technology.
“We now have a set of iPads,” she said. “It really has improved their language and math scores.”
A regular at the conference, now in its fourth year, Martin admitted being “old school” and considering technology an aid while younger teachers may consider it a main event.
“To me, it’s a helpful addition to teaching,” she said.
Martin said a highlight of the conference Tuesday was the keynote address delivered by Apple Distinguished Educator and a Google Certified Innovator Ken Shelton. She said she appreciated his message that change is good but teachers need to transform the classroom.
“What are you doing differently to have these children grown and learn?” she said.
Delivering the introductory address was Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick, who set the example with her use of slides and videos.
“We are not only changing lives, we’re saving lives,” she said, referencing the recent school shooting in Noblesville.
McCormick said the Indiana Department of Education is taking the lead in technology by offering courses on cybersecurity and cyberbullying; focusing on science, technology, engineering and math curricula; and setting the pace nationally in robotics training.
“We’re heavy in devices; we’re solid in instruction; but we’ve got to get better at technology integration,” she said.
The eLead conference continues today with a keynote address by education motivational speaker LaVonna Roth, who will share her passion for brain research, a tour of Anderson University’s cybersecurity program and tours of Purdue Polytechnic.
Workshops also will be offered on Mobile Apps in Education; Easy to Integrate, Must-Have Digital Tools; and Digital Escape Room.