Comanche High School science teacher Jeff Roemisch, and senior student Lacey Drewes, were both invited by the Texas Education Agency to speak in front of approximately 500 educators and administrators during the “Connected Students, Connected Teachers” session of the South by Southwest Educational Conference (SXSWedu). Texas Commissioner of Education Robert Scott also spoke during the session.
The conference’s focus was Texas’ new K-12 education portal, “Project Share,” that utilizes an all-in-one web based educational social environment called Epsilen.
Comanche ISD was one of only a few schools that introduced this new portal during fall professional development and Roemisch integrated it into his science classroom website that hosts web resources, posts class work, tests, and allows him to communicate missed class lectures to absent students or those that just need to review.
During the conference, Roemisch shared a unique situation in which one of his students who missed class because of a JV basketball tournament used their cell phone to watch his class lecture through a screen cast Roemisch had posted.
“I am sitting in class at my computer and an email pops up of a kid asking about a lecture I had that day that they had missed. I was able to send an email right back to the student explaining the topic,” said Roemisch.
Drewes, a student of Roemisch, utilizes the Project Share’s Epsilen Environment in both her AP Anatomy and College English classes. She shared her experience with missing class and being able to stay caught up because of the program and how her teachers use it.
She also uses Epsilen as a single place to do much of her school work.
“I can look at my Wiki there and if I have to turn something in I can just put it in my drop box, rather than have to go to different web sites,” said Drewes.
Education Commissioner Robert Scott spoke after Roemisch and Drewes on how technologically savey kids are today. Scott said, “I think the technology skills that kids possess today will be an echo of the technology boom, because they will be able to use their skills to create a productivity in our workplaces that is unparalleled to previous generations.” Concerns of the school funding crisis were discussed by Scott and he took questions from the attendees regarding the future of educational technology.
Also attending the conference and presenting on the panel of, “The Epsilen Experience, Power Users Share Their Stories,” was Comanche High School English teacher, Leanne Ingram. Because of her experience integrating technology into her classroom environment, she is considered an expert in the subject and shared her experience with teachers and administrators.
CISD Director of Instructional Technology, Kelly Baker was also in attendance. Our teachers deserve this recognition for what they are doing in class to prepare our students for college and the working world. What CISD is doing with technology in the COTO (Comanche One-To-One) Program and TEA’s Project Share will have far reaching effects in how education is delivered from this point forward,” said Baker.
This was the inaugural educational piece of the 25th South by Southwest Music and Film Interactive Conference held in Austin, March 11-20. SXSWedu was hosted March 8-10 at the AT&T Conference Center.
You may view the full March 9th session with Romeisch and Drewes speaking at http://projectsharetexas.org/SXSWedu_vid.html