“We are pleased to announce the winners of the #BestEdTech Awards,” said Shane Haggerty, communications manager for the Conference. “Innovative projects and collaborative thinkers like these are what make Ohio’s education landscape so exceptional. We look forward to celebrating the winners’ accomplishments at the 2014 Ohio Educational Technology Conference.”
The #BestEdTech Awards were established to recognize the educational technology innovations of schools, colleges, programs, teachers, administrators, and tech coordinators from around the state, particularly on social media. Awards will be distributed by Ohio Board of Regents Assistant Deputy Chancellor for Educational Technology John Conley on Monday, January 27 in a brief ceremony preceding the afternoon keynote address at the Conference.
The 2014 #BestEdTech winners are:
Madison Local Schools’ Senior Experience
(Fellow Nominees: McNicholas High School, South Central Middle School)
Under the coordination of the district's communications director AJ Huff (also a certified English teacher), students create social media content, write blogs, and more in an internship setting while earning credit as part of the Madison Senior Experience.
Mentor Public Schools
(Fellow Nominees: Nexus Academy of Columbus, Indian Creek Local Schools)
Mentor's blended learning pilot combines a take-home iPad initiative with professional development and ongoing supports to provide students with instructional experience designed entirely around small-group instruction. This blended initiative is specifically the seventh grade team at Ridge Middle School, headed by principal Megan Kinsey. The program extends to the rest of Ridge Middle School building, two other district middle schools, and will launch in the high school and elementary as pilots next year.
Nexus Academy of Columbus
In addition to having 24/7 access to a school-issued laptop, students are encouraged to use any technology that supports their learning. Students can use tablets, phones, and iPods as second screens to research, create, communicate, and as tools to support instruction.
Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools
(Fellow Nominees: Nexus Academy of Columbus, Vanlue Local Schools, Lancaster City Schools, New Lexington City Schools, Saint Joseph Academy)
Students engage with one another and their teachers, focusing on collaboration, creation, and research, and achieving rigorous learning results. Teachers utilize interactive Google docs, video production, team learning investigations, and practical technology skills. Writing benefits, work-flow organization, and involvement soar for those involved with this initiative.
Jeremy Shorr, Director of Educational Technology, Mentor Public Schools
(Fellow Nominees: Kevin Snyder—Lancaster City Schools, Amy Romes—Springboro Community Schools, Michael Hartenstein—North Canton City Schools, Bobby Dodd—New Lexington City Schools, Megan Kinsey—Mentor Public Schools, Ryan MacRaild—Saint Joseph Academy, Robert Hunt—Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools)
Jeremy Shorr, Director of Educational Technology at Mentor Public Schools, recently worked to reshape his school building into a full blended learning environment. In this school, room rehabilitation, flexible furniture, extensive teacher professional development and an iPad based 1:1 initiative all support an instructional model where all direct instruction takes place in small groups. Jeremy also implemented Catalyst, a distinctive concept for a state-of-the-art research and development classroom.
Jeremy Brueck, Associate Director of the Center for Literacy, University of Akron
Jeremy Brueck serves as Associate Director of the Center for Literacy at The University of Akron, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in literacy, educational technology, and innovative pedagogies. His work with ebooks in the early childhood and elementary classrooms has received national attention and been featured in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Akron Beacon Journal. His latest contribution to this field is an online graduate course, “Building Academic Vocabulary through Teacher and Student Created Ebooks.”
Tracey Dunn, Kindergarten Teacher, Mentor Public Schools
(Fellow Nominees: Nick Jacobs—Vanlue Local Schools, Tanya Clark-Cupp—Lancaster City Schools, Chelsey Iminger—Mentor Public Schools, Matt Gillispie—Lancaster City Schools, Mike Kunselman—New Lexington City Schools, Travis Armstrong—Dublin City Schools, Mel Gaskins—McNicholas High School, Llyn Simpson—Brown Local Schools)
Tracey Dunn is among the first in Ohio to develop and implement a blended learning model for kindergarteners. She has been utilizing Catalyst (see the Ohio Trendsetter Award, final listing) four days per week to engage her students in a full blended learning instructional model. Students are thriving in the environment and have adapted well to the new model. They are able to operate digital devices independently, engage in digital content, participate in QR code scavenger hunts, create content, and more.
Mike Daugherty, Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools
(Fellow Nominees: Tim Householder—New Lexington City Schools, Kevin Snyder—Lancaster City Schools, John Case—Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, Amy Romes—Springboro Community Schools, Ryan Rotuna—Jackson-Milton Local Schools, Dave Cairns—Warren County Career Center)
Mike Daugherty has shown exceptional leadership and forward thinking in his position as Director of Technology. Over the past six years, he has facilitated a district-wide wireless network, a reliable email system, Google Apps for Education, a laptop for every teacher, a new district website and social media presence, and a professional development initiative that included the entire teaching staff. This year, the district implemented a 1:1 program starting in sixth grade coupled with a plan to expand through the twelfth grade by the 2015-16 school year.
Mentor Public Schools’ Catalyst Program
(Fellow Nominees: Jeremy Brueck—University of Akron, Nexus Academy of Columbus’ Blended Learning Model, Amy Romes—Springboro Community Schools)
Catalyst is an opportunity for teachers to explore blended learning at the elementary level by traveling, with students, to Ridge Middle School four days a week and teaching from a state-of-the-art classroom. Just as importantly, administrators and other teachers have an opportunity to gain familiarity with new practices by watching from an attached observation and conference room. The Catalyst model is becoming be a beacon for educational innovation in the state and region and has served innovative educators from the area wishing to experiment in this environment quite well.
The campaign also featured student “takeovers” of the conference’s Vine and Instagram accounts. Convoy Crestview High School, Dublin High Schools, Middletown Madison High School, Newark High School and New Lexington High School all took over these social media accounts and created videos and photos showcasing how instructional technology was helping students learn, collaborate and advance. All content was collected via social media and shared on Tumblr: bestedtech.tumblr.com.
About the Ohio Educational Technology Conference
The Ohio Educational Technology Conference is the third largest state educational technology conference in the country where more than 6,500 educational innovators gather once a year and share their successes and challenges with one another. The conference is an opportunity for educators to honestly share their experiences -- what works, and what doesn't -- for the benefit of their peers.
More information, including a complete conference schedule can be found at http://www.oetc.ohio.gov.