Students share their expertise in applied technology during conference for educators at Ridgeview Middle School


VISALIA – Nearly 250 educators from 12 California counties and as far away as Colorado came to the second annual Tech Rodeo on Jan. 13 at Ridgeview Middle School in Visalia. The event, organized by Educational Resource Services, was a full day of Education Technology (EdTech) learning and application for teachers and administrators across all grade levels, subject areas and devices.

The day began with a keynote presentation by A.J. Juliani and John Spencer, the authors of Launch – a book designed for teachers to help students discover their creativity to become makers, inventors and creators. Following the keynote, attendees visited a variety of breakout sessions and presentations, including sessions on project based learning, integrating technology through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineer, Arts and Mathematics) and collaborative learning beyond school walls. Sessions conducted by students from four valley counties highlighted the day.

In Pam Richards’ classroom, three of her students introduced attendees to Scratch Programming – a programming language developed for students by educators at MIT. The students leading the instruction were members of Richards’ technology class at Ridgeview Middle School and part of the school’s robotics team. Circulating among the attendees in Ms. Richards’ open, industrial classroom, the students confidently instructed adults on developing and animating a figure, or sprite.

Between breakout sessions, attendees visited with students from Emerson Middle School in Bakersfield who brought numerous displays of technology. Omri and Naomi showed off their work in JavaScript coding, while Rosa offered demonstrations of the school’s three-dimensional scanner and modeling program.

Orosi High School computer science and math teacher Joshua Woods brought his students to present applications that they developed for the Tech Rodeo event. The students worked in teams to create apps that included information on the conference, its breakout sessions and ways to leave feedback.

Student presenters also had the opportunity to attend sessions alongside educators. Event coordinator Katherine Goyette said presenters remarked that students in their sessions provided invaluable insight into their own instructional practices.

“Student involvement in a professional learning event reminds educators of their purpose – to make a difference in the lives of students,” said Goyette, TCOE educational technology staff development & curriculum specialist. “At Tech Rodeo, students did more than showcase their learning, they became teachers. We are looking forward to expanding this ‘Student Teaching Teachers’ strand of Tech Rodeo next year.”

For more information on Education Technology and its application in the classroom, contact Katherine Goyette at [email protected].

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