For educators, summertime is synonymous with teacher professional development and training in anticipation of the approaching school year. Oftentimes, there are new materials, textbooks, resources, and equipment to learn how to use. Districts try to plan dynamic professional learning experiences for their teachers knowing that it can be overwhelming to digest so much information squeezed into a few days. One forward-thinking district – Port Arthur Independent School District - planned a weeklong technology conference in collaboration with Visual Techniques Inc. and EOS Education by Boxlight to help their teachers learn to use new and existing educational technology including interactive displays, classroom software, and STEM solutions.
Port Arthur ISD (Port Arthur, TX) is a public school system consisting of 15 schools – 8 preschools, 8 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, and 4 high schools. The district’s vision is that it offers its students “a quality education necessary for them to achieve academic excellence” with a mission to “provide the tools necessary” to meet students’ educational needs.
Visual Techniques Inc. (VTI) helped organize this first-ever technology conference for Port Arthur ISD (PAISD), including logistics, preparing fun activities for participants, and providing awards. The buzz created for the event was shared with all educators in the district as well as through social media. For their part, EOS Education provided a comprehensive professional development program with the goal of helping PAISD educators successfully integrate technology into their teaching; this in turn leads to increased technology use for student learning. The EOS team of Training and Learning Specialists have extensive experience using technology in the classroom and are well-versed in best practices and strategies for making the most of these innovative resources.
“Our main purpose when teachers start using their ed tech is to make sure that from day one they can see its positive impact on teaching and learning,” commented Dr. Alex Leis, Boxlight SVP for Professional Development. “Technology cannot be a disruption but must play the role of a powerful tool to support instructional strategies, active learning, and student engagement. Our team must understand teachers’ current practices, challenges, and instructional goals to make the training relevant and purposeful.”
VTI and EOS Education partnered up to facilitate the Port Arthur Independent School District (PAISD) inaugural Titan Tech Conference (TTC), July 11-14, 2022. The TTC was a customized training event for PAISD educators on how to use the hardware and software currently available to them. Each full day of the conference was broken into multiple sessions with EOS Education content focused on using Boxlight solutions such as the ProColor 3 interactive display, OKTOPUS and Game Zones classroom software, and STEM solutions and curriculum (MimioSTEM). With the growing interest in incorporating more SEL skills in the classroom, EOS Education also facilitated “Technology to Support Social and Emotional Learning.”
To best meet the needs of the staff in PAISD, groups were formed according to responsibility to better tailor sessions and answer questions – Elementary, Secondary, Administrative & Support.
“The training sessions were designed to not only provide the educators in PAISD the essential skills to utilize the education technology in the classroom, but also deliver best practices and relevant examples for teaching and learning,” remarked Krista Walker-Kier, Innovation and Development Director for EOS Education by Boxlight. “Our trainings are interactive and collaborative, providing teachers the time and space to envision and plan for what this will look like in their classroom environment.”
A snapshot of a conference day:
As a leading provider of educational technology solutions, Boxlight also awarded Chromebooks to some lucky educators each day of the conference. This included a social media campaign for #fansofboxlight.
Educators enjoyed the interactive learning experiences developed by EOS Edu expressly for the conference. This included learning best practices for incorporating their technology solutions in daily teaching activities. Not only did the PAISD educators gain valuable information to take back to classrooms, but outside guests and consultants were also impressed by the level of innovative and engaged learning that was planned and executed during the conference.
Michael Chism, VTI Sales Consultant, commented, “I’ve known about Boxlight’s EOS training services for a while now, but had no idea how amazing the full package was. There’s no company I could have partnered with to offer such a complete and competent experience to my customers at Port Arthur ISD.”
“By far, out of this entire Region 5 that Port Arthur ISD is part of, they are raising the bar on the technology that’s being offered to the teachers through a conference like this and the ability, with our trainers because Boxlight has a complete division of professional trainers, teach them how to teach the students to be more engaged in the classroom,” stated Katie Smith, Boxlight Regional Sales Manager.
"I’ve been incredibly honored to be part of the first tech conference here with Port Arthur,” shared Krista Walker EOS Education Innovation and Development Director. “The experience of it all when we even first walked on campus, everybody was so welcoming and excited. You could feel the energy and as each day continued, we got to see that energy build and it was amazing!”
At the end of the conference, participants were asked to complete a survey given by EOS Education. Overall, PAISD educators were pleased with what they learned at the training sessions, felt the EOS Education trainers were knowledgeable, and over half would like more training which speaks about the level of competence and innovation presented to them.
The PAISD Titan Tech Conference proved to be an exceptional experience for not only the PAISD educators, but also EOS Education Training Specialists.
For more on the PAISD Titan Tech Conference, watch this video:
Visual Techniques Inc. (VTI) is made up of a team of former educators, education leaders, instructional technologists and experts, designers, and programmers that specialize in offering technology and audio-visual products, tools, and services to enhance teaching and learning. VTI partners with companies that focus on educational technology that can positively impact instruction. A key partner is Boxlight, a multi-award winning company that offers innovative technology solutions that range from interactive displays and STEM solutions to grant writing support and professional development services.
EOS Education by Boxlight provides professional development services that improve student achievement through the effective use of technology. Their mix of technology heritage, professional development experience, and a nimble, dynamic team ensure that the professional development support offered is relevant, engaging, and effective. To learn more about their award-winning professional development offerings, click here: Professional Development for Teachers.