UNK conference highlights technology gap in schools

KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - Bringing technology into the classroom isn't a new concept. But the UNK Tech EDGE conference aims to keep teachers up to date on the best ways to integrate it into their curriculum. The conference welcomed speakers from around the state to show local teachers how they can use the latest and greatest technology in their classes.

Teachers learned about the latest technology and how they can implement it in their classrooms at a UNK conference. (KSNB)

With a generation growing up with more technology than ever, teachers are finding ways to use it to their advantage. One teacher shared how she created a video game to teach sixth graders about cells.

“Not only were they collaborating and playing a video game, they were also getting the content in a fun way and they were very engaged,” Librarian Tech Integrationist Kylie Hollatz said.

She said educating teachers on how to integrate the programs is important to increase engagement in some subjects. A professor with the UNK College of Education said there is a gap in the state for schools using technology. She believes more schools should be focusing on the STEM field.

“STEM education is very important. It is the future of the workforce so we need to prepare our students to be able to fill those jobs,” Assistant Professor Martonia Gaskill said.

When some think of technology in class, they picture the bigger cities. Being a librarian from the rural town of Leigh, Hallatz said she has been helping with the transition and said it can be done in any district size.

“I could see this being used anywhere and everywhere, I mean I have kids right now of my own and I definitely want to expose them to the tech world,” Hollatz said.

A lot of the technology programs require training for the teachers, there are requirements to get scholarships to fund it. Some rural schools don't meet the requirements and can't afford the program on their own. Some programs, like Code.org, are trying to tweak the scholarship process to help with this issue.