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by Dr. John Urkevich, Executive Director

Motivate, Engage, Transform, Connect is the theme for the 2011 Midwest Education Technology Conference. Held annually by Cooperating School Districts in St. Louis, Missouri, METC takes place February 14, 15, and 16th this year.

METC offers K-12 educators- teachers, administrators, curriculum coordinators, library media specialists and network administrators, an opportunity to learn the latest in instructional technology and see what schools are doing with technology integration. Presenters come from all over the United States, including our three keynote speakers: Peter Buffett, Lee Crockett, and Rushton Hurley.

Lee Crockett’s address is given Tuesday morning at the special leadership breakfast held for administrators. Crockett is the Director of Media for the InfoSavvy Group and the managing partner of the 21st Century Fluency Project. His message: Literacy is Not Enough – Aligning Outcomes with Intentions. According to Crockett, education is caught in the middle of a paradigm shift. Our focus on education as memorization is becoming obsolete. He’ll discuss the 21st Century skills that are essential to everyone. Crockett will also pose to breakfast attendees “how do we ensure our students develop these skills while still meeting our mandated curricular objectives?”

Rushton Hurley also speaks Tuesday morning. Hurley is executive director of the educational nonprofit Next Vista for Learning, as well as the Program Director of MERIT (Making Education Relevant and Interactive through Technology) at the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College in Los Altos, California. During his keynote, entitled The Kids Need Us -and- Technology, he discusses how strong teaching can happen with or without technology.  He argues that if we want to reach every student, however, building powerful learning experiences on top of the care and expertise we already bring to the classroom requires tapping into every resource available. Hurley believes if done right, the result is a better experience for our students, and also more time for us to focus on kids needing more personal connections than our busy schedules often allow.

Peter Buffett’s keynote is Wednesday morning. Buffett, a musician and the son of billionaire Warren Buffett, is the author of Life Is What You Make It. Because of his experience in using technology skills to create a compelling life story into narrative, music and video, Buffett was invited to present at METC 2011. To bring the message of the book alive, Buffett has crafted Life Is What You Make It: A Concert & Conversation, a live music event that incorporates multi-media and personal stories to give the audience an authentic, inspirational, and impactful experience. In addition to presenting Wednesday morning to conference attendees, Buffett will hold a second concert the evening of February 16th at the St. Charles Convention Center for the general public, with proceeds going to the Virtual Learning Center.

For more information on the Midwest Education Technology Conference, visit http://METCconference.org.