CAPS Teacher Education students took part again this Fall in the annual Kansas Northeast Regional Educators Rising Conference. This year, the conference took on a new format, as the entire conference took place virtually. Students had the availability, on November 4, 2020, to attend virtual sessions offered throughout the day, including keynote presentations and breakout sessions on education topics. The conference logo image was created by former CAPS Teacher Education and Digital Design student, Dasha Carver. Jeremy Anderson, inspirational speaker and author, launched the conference with his keynote presentation which encouraged the promotion of the teaching profession through his stories of how teachers helped to change his life and shape his future. Other speakers included Kwame Sarfo Mensah, author of Shaping the Teacher Identity and From Inaction to “In Action,” and Tabatha Rosproy, Kansas Educator and National Teacher of the Year. Other speakers and sessions were offered throughout the day, and the conference ended with a cafeteria of university Zoom sessions during which students could learn about education programs at various universities.
Over the last several weeks, our Teacher Education students have spent time virtually observing and working in classrooms around the district. While in the classrooms, students have been developing lesson plans and practicing the integration of technology to promote student engagement such as elements of gamification and augmented reality. When not observing, they have participated in sessions with Cyndi Kuhn, instructor at Kansas State University; Kristin Asquith, Special Education Coordinator for the Blue Valley School District; Tracey Idica, NBCT educator and state coordinator from Hawaii, and others. Also while meeting virtually in our CAPS Teacher Education classroom, the students have been able to learn and practice classroom management skills and content delivery with student avatars in the SimSchool online teaching simulation.
Looking ahead, CAPS Teacher Education students are planning an online activity conference for elementary students, developing a STEM lesson to teach remotely over Double Robot, working with Carrie Gardner and Lindsey Hallet of our Blue Valley Blended Learning Team, and continuing their intensive learning in the classrooms of practicing teachers.