For the past fifteen years along with Kevin Conner from the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, I’ve helped to coordinate the Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference (TRETC). The conference began as a project for the Math and Science Collaborative. After the first year the event moved to the Carnegie Science Center. In 2007 the conference moved to the Regional Learning Alliance with the Pittsburgh Technology Council as the sponsoring organization. For the 2013 conference TRETC relocated to the Sheraton Four Points in Cranberry, PA. The 2013 theme was: Using Technology to Remake Learning.
The 2013 conference was a great success! Over 450 people and 40 vendors attended this year. This year’s conference provided opportunities not only for educators, but for students to learn and teach. This year’s conference included students as workshop leaders, experts in the Remake Learning Zone, and session presenters. The Remake Learning Zone included a variety of projects funded by the Sprout Fund that highlighted Learning Innovations. Presenting groups included the Avonworth School District’s student art gallery, the South Fayette School District sharing their project on sustainable gardening using technology, the Cornell video productions highlighting Pittsburgh historical characters, Steeltown Entertainment, Assemble, and the LAMP, a New York-based company creating media tools for learners.
Andrew Slack, the Executive Director of the Harry Potter Alliance, opened the conference with a keynote speech that highlighted the use of digital media by learners. Andrew outlined how the HPA has sent five cargo planes to Haiti, built libraries across the world, advocated for human rights, media reform, and equality on LGBTQ, education, and immigration. Andrew is a Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellow for 2013-2014. He is spending the year in New York City developing the Imagine Better Network: an unprecedented movement that goes beyond Harry Potter to all fandoms so that fantasy is no longer an escape from our world, but an invitation to change it for the better. Andrew shared how pop culture can engage students and challenge them to become civically engaged. His most recent endeavor is developing a curriculum for the Pearson Foundation focused on the The Hunger Games.