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Introducing the Educational Technology and Engagement Center
Introducing the Educational Technology and Engagement Center
Posted on 02/17/2017

With a focus on engaging learners every day, the Puyallup School District’s Information Technology Center (ITC) is transforming itself to become the Educational Technology and Engagement Center (EdTec).

“We exist to serve and support learning,” states Executive Director of Instructional Technology Mark Vetter. “In the Puyallup School District, the goal of technology is to support and enhance students’ learning. Increased student engagement leads to better student learning.”

Being identified as an Educational Technology and Engagement Center better represents the mission of “Education through engagement.” The change in our name will remind everyone of the new focus.

Vetter is just one of the EdTec leaders working to better engage learners. Executive Director of Technology Operations Randy Averill, and Executive Director of Digital Educational Platforms Mark Knight join Vetter in leading a team of technicians, network specialists, instructional coaches, and other support personnel at the Educational Technology and Engagement Center.

“The EdTec team shares a common goal to support and enhance student learning,” says Averill. “District software, hardware, and network systems are all selected based upon the needs of our schools and students.” Averill emphasizes the intent to work directly with teachers and principals to ensure that teaching and learning are supported and that the technology integration is seamless.

Last year the EdTec team introduced a new district initiativeraised hand called Empowering Puyallup. Beginning with a new digital learning management system, Schoology, this initiative will be fully accomplished once every Puyallup student in grades 4 through 12 are provided an electronic device, likely a tablet.

“We are creating equity for all students through access to technology,” say Knight. “With the one-to-one devices students will have some element of control over time, place, or pace, via digital and online media to learn anywhere, anytime.” Working closely with the district’s Student Learning Department, the EdTec team will help the district make a move from using traditional textbooks to digital learning. “Rich digital content is a powerful way of providing today’s students with high quality, relevant and up-to-date instructional materials,” says Knight.

Maintaining an emphasis on student engagement, Knight outlines some of the common features of digital content which include:

  • Multimedia elements such as still images and graphics, video, virtual reality, animations, simulations, audio, music, interactive, and gaming elements;
  • Embedded tools (survey, calculator, spreadsheet, etc.) to facilitate student highlighting, annotating calculations and more;
  • Additional tools (wikis, video/graphics editors, academic networking tools) to support collaboration and creation;
  • A variety of languages;
  • Adaptive and assistive technology designed to meet special needs;
  • The ability to be updated and enriched continuously and seamlessly;

teacher with laptopAs an Educational Technology and Engagement Center, EdTec team members wish to provide the systems and high quality content and instructional strategies which empower teachers to do their work. Professional development this year has focused on changing classroom activities and strategies which are required for increased engagement inside and outside of the classroom.

“We recognize the rapid evolution of technology,” says Averill. “We know this will require our vision to change and adapt on a regular basis.” Changing our name to EdTec is just one small way we can demonstrate flexibility and support for our students and teachers.

To learn more about the Educational Technology and Engagement Center, (EdTec) visit their webpage on the PSD website.