Educating Teachers: 203Con

More than 200 District 203 teachers recently took a seat on the other side of the desk at the first 203Con – a daylong conference to educate teachers.

“The real thrust behind today is giving our teachers the ability to connect, collaborate, and share all the great tools and strategies they use in their classrooms with their colleagues from across the district,” said John David Son, Director of Instructional Technology for District 203.

203Con, held at Naperville Central, began with a key-note address on how technology and social media can enrich learning. Attendees broke off into small sessions like this one, titled “A New Hope: Star Wars and Teaching.”
The session presented by junior high teacher, Matt Langes, showed how social media and other online platforms could significantly increase productivity in the classroom.

“These kids are going to be growing up to be 21st Century learners,” said Langes. “They’re always going to be using technology in their jobs. So I think it’s best that as early as we can we expose them to technology and we teach them how to use it properly and we teach them how to use it properly.”
More than 45 teachers presented sessions on topics from iPads in the classroom to Twitter for beginners, allowing for hands on instructed learning. The best part for many, the presenter is only a school away if you have questions once the school year starts.

“To have a day where it’s people I haven’t seen before and people I have seen all presenting, it was a great opportunity for me to learn from people that I can still have access to afterwards,” said Jefferson Junior High teacher, Chris Heffernan.

203Con was open to every teacher in the district and administrators hope this is the first of many collaborative sessions as they work to integrate more engaging and productive technology into every classroom.

“The goal is that they walk out of here with new strategies and new tools,” said Son. “And that they are excited about coming back to school. We intentionally put this close to the start of school to build momentum. And we hope they connect with teachers that they haven’t connected with before.”

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