International Society for Technology in Education Holds 2014 Conference in Atlanta

Jul 1, 2014

The International Society for Technology in Education held its annual conference in Atlanta this year. It started Saturday and ends Tuesday at the Georgia World Congress Center.  The tech masterminds seemed to be on the young side this year.

Like many conferences of its size, this one had keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and presentations. Teachers, like Patty Lee of Fulton County, were there to sample some new technologies and compare notes.

“I’ve networked with teachers from all over the country,” Lee said. “Chicago, California, New York, all over the place. And that’s been really big in terms of what they’re doing in their classrooms and how I can help translate that.”

Girls Engaged in Math and Science, a Tuscaloosa-based group, created this musical instrument for students with disabilities.
Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News

But the technology experts and corporations had nothing on the students, like Gracie Hoover from Tuscaloosa.

Gracie is part of  a group called GEMS, Girls Engaged in Math and Science. The group of third through sixth graders came to showcase a project.

“This is an instrument that we designed for disabled people,” she said. “That’s it right over there. It’s a mix between a xylophone and a drum.”

The drum portion is made out of a metal trash can. There’s a wooden circle where the lid would be. Sticking out of the wood are eight xylophone keys kids can play with their hands or their feet.

Gracie’s mother, Shelly Hoover, leads the group. She says the girls came with the idea themselves.

“The majority of them play instruments,” she said. “And so they saw a need for their peers that couldn’t take the strings classes with them. So, they made this instrument.”

The conference attracted kids, teachers, and tech whizzes from various states and countries.

Fourteen-year-old Rodrigo Hernandez lives in Mexico. He and seven of his classmates came to talk about how they use technology to live sustainably on an EcoFarm.

“We use our own energy, like wind energy and solar energy,” he said. “We also have hydroelectric energy that is produced by taking a part of the movement of the water.”

Rodrigo said the students all work together to produce the energy they need.

Many say an event like this will help kids stay excited about technology, education, and science.