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Annual education expo focuses on technology

Thursday, October 20, 2016

“Brilliant tech-using teachers have never lost the thrill of doing something new and interesting with these electronic Tinker Toys. … Brilliant teachers use technology's engagement (not entertainment) power. Technology is not ‘just one more thing;’ it's a vital experience that brings discovery, excitement, and even fun to the classroom.”  Doug Johnson, Education World

And that’s just the sentiment behind “iTeach: Take a Byte out of Technology,” the theme of this year’s Teaching and Learning Expo at Mercyhurst University. Sponsored by Kappa Delta Pi education honor society, the 11th annual forum is Saturday, Nov. 5, from 8 a.m. to noon in the Audrey Hirt Academic Center. It is open to all practicing teachers and area education students.

Sixteen talented educators from northwest Pennsylvania will give presentations on technology in the classroom. Topics include “Augmented Reality in Special Education,” “Tech Tools for Teaching Science,” and “Establishing an Effective Teaching Presence in the Online Classroom.”

Keynote speaker is Ryan Bookhamer, a 2010 Mercyhurst alumnus, who is the STEM Integrator at the Fairview School District. As such, he is responsible for the development and implementation of the district’s K-12 STEM Program, through which he infuses STEM projects with hands-on, real-world problem-solving that creates innovative learners.

Mercyhurst faculty presenting include Sarah Howorth, faculty advisor to the Kappa Delta Pi student chapter and assistant professor of special education. Howorth does research on the use of augmented reality and digital tools as supports for students with disabilities. She received the 2015 Herb J. Prehm Award from the International Council for Exceptional Children's Division of Autism and Developmental Disabilities for her doctoral work on using digital tools to support reading comprehension for students with autism.

Other Mercyhurst presents are Stephanie Blanda, who teaches programming for the Mathematics and Information Technology Department; Brian Sheridan, chair of the university’s Department of Communication; and assistant physics professor Joe Johnson, whose research interests include using technology to engage learners in science. Jane Blystone, retired director of the graduate program in secondary education, will also present.

“We believe that technology is so relevant in teaching today, and it’s important that teachers know the best ways to use technology as an aid to instruction and not just as entertainment,” said Kaleigh Ruggiero, Kappa Delta Pi counselor, who is helping to coordinate the expo with Howorth.

Cost for the event is $10 and includes a continental breakfast. To register or get more information, contact Ruggiero at The registration deadline is Friday, Oct. 28.