CREATE! Conference inspires educators and students

100+ Northwest Ohio teachers explore technology, network with colleagues
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by Kandace York

They call themselves the Secret Society of Tinkers: sixth through eighth grade students in Jason Hubbard's STEM program at Perrysburg’s Hull Prairie Intermediate School. On June 7, they showed off their knowledge and skills to more than 100 teachers from all across Ohio who came to Anthony Wayne High School for the CREATE! conference

The students’ work that day resulted in a “hallway symphony” that played musical notes and songs as people walked on it; they built the whole thing in about five hours. To make that happen, they blended design thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, science, math and creativity.

It’s an education model that Dr. Allison Goedde, lecturer and program coordinator of BGSU’s Classroom Technology Master of Education degree, said was the key theme of the conference.

“Students need opportunities to be creative and constructive,” Dr. Goedde said. “This generation knows how to use their tools to get things done, and as educators we need to facilitate opportunities for students to demonstrate what they can do with what they know.” She helped coordinate the conference and served as the BGSU representative for the event.

The Secret Society of Tinkers was just one example of the educator sessions presented at the CREATE! Conference. The University has collaborated with Anthony Wayne Local School district to co-sponsor the annual event since 2014. That’s when Chris Hamady '97, district technology coordinator for the school district, reached out to the School of Teaching & Learning for help keeping the conference affordable for teachers to attend. Hamady is an Apple Distinguished Educator who serves on the College of Education and Human Development technology advisory board.

The CREATE! Conference was designed to inspire educators to explore and discover real-world, standards-based lessons that incorporate creativity, technology and 21st century skills. It showcased area teachers’ best practices and fostered the sharing of ideas and collaboration. One session engaged teachers with augmented and virtual reality tools for curriculum-based experiences. Several sessions were led by current and former students in the classroom technology master’s degree program, featuring best practices with technology integration.

Mark Suter led the conference with a keynote presentation about motivating students to want to learn. Suter, the 2018 District 1 Ohio Teacher of the Year Award winner and 2017 Henry Ford Innovation Nation Innovative Teacher, has been a computer science, game design and entrepreneurship teacher for over a decade. He is an Adobe Certified Associate Educator and Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.  

create second choiceSuter focused on students’ will to learn, rather than teacher expertise with technology. “The will to learn is like one strong support leg of a three-legged stool; learning cannot occur without it,” he said. Teachers, by inspiring a will to learn among their students, “give them something that will last them their whole lives.”

Dr. Goedde said that even though her role in the event was administrative, “as an educator, it was a remarkable platform to hear first-hand from colleagues what works in modern classrooms, without promotion of a product, and focus on techniques for facilitating technology-rich and engaged learning experiences for students.”