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Westonka Educators Embrace the Extraordinary

ISTE Conference Sept. 7, 2017 — Embrace the extraordinary. That was the theme for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) convention held in San Antonio, Texas, in June. Mound Westonka High School educators Sue Simonson and Kristin Wallace were two of over 20,000 educators from around the world who gathered to engage in hands-on learning, exchange ideas and network with like-minded thinkers seeking to transform learning and teaching.

"Attending the ISTE conference is a little like attending the Disney World of Education, there is something magical everywhere you turn," said Wallace. “I am excited to bring the ideas I gathered, as well as some of this magic, back to Westonka.”

In addition to attending the convention, the pair presented the session "Westonka Tech Interns: Student Led Chromebook Repair." There were 468 lecture-style session proposals for the convention, and Westonka was one of only 76 selected. "Presenting was a great honor and a career highlight," added Wallace.

Simonson started the unique, hands-on Westonka Tech Interns (WTI) course four years ago at MWHS. Students repair all damaged Chromebooks in Westonka, which lowers costs for both families and the district and provides students with an authentic learning experience.  

"Presenting at ISTE has definitely been one of the highlights of my career at Westonka," said Simonson. "During the last three years of our WTI program, we've had over 10 districts from Wisconsin and Minnesota visit our class in Westonka to see what we're all about. It's a true honor for us to share our course on an international level!"

During the four-day conference, both Simonson and Wallace attended a wide variety of sessions, gathering ideas and information to bring back to Westonka on technology integration, personalized learning and 21st century skills. 

Both Grandview Middle School and MWHS are using the ISTE student standards to help guide and direct the transformation of learning with technology.