Thursday, September 21, 2017

Dragon Technology Summit

Dihanna Fedder providing some “basic needs” information to the students.

Ben Friesen, EdTech Team, inspired the students and staff to find their passion.

Interactive video-conference with Houston Space Center

Student using Google Expeditions virtual reality goggles.

Students learning to use online photo editing tools with PCHS Alumni, Mitch Ringness.

Students learning how to use drones!  Special thank you to Sky-Eye-Films!

Ben Friesen showing a group of junior high students about the Google Cultural Institute.

Student leaders presenting to their peers.

Learning all about 3D printing with Mr. Schlichting.

On September 19, Pine City High School hosted its first Dragon Technology Summit. In this unique event, students and staff had the opportunity to spend the afternoon immersed in the use of technology.  This innovative student-centered technology summit was the first in the area and one of few in the nation.  Pine City Public Schools believes as education researchers Fisch and McLeod put it, “We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist . . . using technologies that haven’t been invented . . . in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”  

The goal of the Dragon Technology Summit was to increase the understanding and use of technology in the classroom.  Traditionally, curriculum drives the use of technology; during this summit, the students’ main focus was technology, the use of their devices and online resources.  By having the Dragon Technology Summit early in the school year, students should be better prepared to effectively, responsibly, and creatively use their devices as well as the online resources available to them.

The summit was inspired by data provided by bi-annual technology surveys taken by students and staff.  These surveys, conducted by Brightbytes,  provide stakeholders with data regarding technology and learning in four areas:  classroom, access, skills, and environment.  Online skills, multimedia skills, and foundational skills are all areas that were focused upon at the Dragon Technology Summit.

Ben Friesen, of EdTechTeam, was the keynote speaker.  Ben has presented globally on the use of technology in education and has inspired many to find their passion.  Ben is a Google Certified Innovator and Director of Professional Development at EdTechTeam, a Partner with Google for Education.

Following the keynote presentation students attended a panel presentation and breakout sessions.  The panel presentation was presented by various PCHS staff members with the purpose of informing students on how to be good digital citizens.  Topics included their digital footprint, school procedures, academic integrity, and copyright.

Nineteen different breakout sessions were offered.  Presenters included local staff, area educators, PCHS alumni, and PCHS students.  Topics ranged from 3D Printing to Video-making with Chrome to interactive video-conferences and more.  

Student and staff feedback has been very positive.  Student presenters were recruited and one pair said to Ms. Dihanna Fedder, “Thank you for the opportunity, it was great!”  After taking a session on photo editing one ninth grade boy reported, “I was really into class and was kind of bummed I didn't learn more, but I'm looking forward to doing this again.”  Another young lady reported, “I liked that we got to talk to the Houston Space Center live. I wish there was a little more time for questions at the end of the breakout session.”  One staff member summed it up with, “This was a great way to help the students see this is a school wide initiative and that they are apart of it.  I really hope the students know what kind of an experience they were able to have today.”

The project was made possible by a grant from Education Minnesota.  District Technology Integrationist, Dihanna Fedder applied for the grant and spearheaded the planning and organization of this event.  Pine City High School hopes to make this an annual event.

Photography by Jaymi Allison Photography