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Technology Empowers Education: Takeaways from the NETA Spring Conference

By March 25, 20243 min read

Technology can be an important catalyst for student learning and empowerment. This guiding principle informs NETA (Nebraska Educational Technology Association), a grassroots, state-wide organization comprised of more than 7,500 members committed to sharing information about using technology in education. The organization’s annual spring conference connects members and students around that effort, and this year’s event was no exception, featuring presentations from top educators, connections to technology companies and vendors, and several live student contests featuring student teams competing in real-time.

Today’s Educators Embrace Rapidly Advancing Tech

This year’s conference centered around empowering both students and educators to lean into technology. A jam-packed schedule of live contests, hands-on activities, insightful peer-led sessions, and conversations with leaders in EdTech allowed educators to choose their adventure. With a number of topics to choose from, NETA offered something for everyone. Computer science teacher and NETA’s president-elect Kyleigh Kumm of Harlan Community School District led an engaging session about launching and teaching computer science programs for K-12 students. Dana Fontaine of Fremont High School presented on AI for education, taking a practical approach to squash common misconceptions and challenge the audience to reconsider use cases for the emerging tool.

NETA president-elect, Kyleigh Kumm presents “A Beginners Guide to CS”.

Class Intercom President, Dr. Jill Johnson presents “Building a Team of Social Media Content Creators”.

Many teachers and administrators tasked with spearheading their district or school’s social media initiatives joined former educator and Class Intercom President, Dr. Jill Johnson for an insightful discussion on creating a team of content creators. Sharing experience from her years as an assistant principal, Dr. Jill reinforced the importance of empowering students, teachers, and other members of the school community to get involved and amplify their voices. 

Students Rise to the Occasion

NETA’s commitment to student involvement sets it apart from other educational conferences. NETA provides a platform for students to showcase their talents firsthand. Students actively participate in the event alongside educators, assisting with presentations, competing in live contests, and presenting in poster sessions.

This year, NETA held a first-of-its-kind live student content creation contest sponsored and facilitated by school social media management platform Class Intercom. Student teams from across the state competed in a three-hour live contest, creating different types of content serving various purposes for different social media channels. Teams got to work quickly, dividing and conquering to write blogs, shoot and edit videos, create social media posts, and more. Schools submitted content through their secure school channels using social media management technology designed specifically to empower student content creation. Class Intercom experts were on-site, collaborating with students, answering questions, and offering hands-on assistance throughout the event.

Simultaneously, another group of student teams competed in a live esports tournament, providing a unique opportunity to experience their passion for video games in a competitive online learning environment. Playing iconic games like Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, and Rocket League, students participating in the tournament also learn unique skills like live-streaming, casting, and commentating for competitive gaming.

During poster sessions, a team of fifth graders from Sandy Creek Public Schools captivated attendees with their presentation on The Cougar Talk, an engaging morning announcements show produced for their elementary school audience. Meanwhile, educators from Grand Island Public Schools showcased their year-long media class tailored specifically for K-5 students.

A Unique Opportunity

In all, NETA’s spring conference brought students, educators, and innovators from across the sector together to learn, discuss, and showcase the impact of technology on education. Interested in learning more about NETA, live student competitions, or how technology can help your school or district more effectively empower and involve students? Follow the link below to get in touch.

Bailey Herrera

Bailey Herrera runs point on social media for Class Intercom. When she’s not filming, editing, and sharing content, you can find her playing boardgames, doing puzzles, visiting her home state of Arizona, and getting unnecessarily fired up about Disney.