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Teachers in Traverse City Get Back in the Classroom, WiredTC Conference

Nearly 300 teachers in Traverse City went to the fourth annual WiredTC conference, an innovative teaching and learning experience for teachers before they get back into the classroom.

“Teachers are here and they’re dedicated and they’re working very, very hard to make the very, very best experience for our kids possible,” said Danelle Brostrom, educational technology coach for Traverse City Area Public Schools.

This week, these teachers find themselves on the opposite side of the classroom—at the desk—learning and taking notes on all the new technology they can bring to students in the fall.

Keynote speaker Dr. Liz Kolb talked about the effects educational apps and games have on student learning. She’s been working to find out if those apps actually help teach or cause students to rush through a lesson.

Director of Technology at Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District Brandi Reynolds said that there’s a lot of thought behind teaching technology in the classroom.

“We’re really not just putting children behind devices and hoping that that’s what’s going to make them learn, that we are focusing on what’s really the best way to use this device to get them where they need to be,” Reynolds said.

There’s no doubt technology improves education, but these teachers also want to make sure it doesn’t become a distraction in the classroom.

Reynolds said, “Technology itself we know is not the magic trick that’s going to make students learn better, it’s really the teacher and the ideas and the pedagogy behind that.”

It’s more about using technology in better ways, really.

Reynolds believes the lessons these teachers bring home this week can lead to better lessons for students.

“Just trying innovative things, and sometimes that is technology, but sometimes it’s having kids do yoga and meditation; it’s just whatever works for kids and it’s not always technology,” Brostrom said.