Cue the high-tech creativity …
Representatives of JUSD dazzled thousands of educational leaders at the spring CUE conference March 14-16 in Palm Springs. The annual conference, a showcase of innovation in teaching, helps educators nationwide connect; share insights, experience and breakthroughs; and inspire not only one another, but their students as well.
This year's event, hosted by the Walnut Creek-based nonprofit CUE (formerly Computer-Using Educators), included workshops, exhibits, student demonstrations and more.
Jose Solis Ramos, an eighth-grader at Mission Middle School, was one of just 10 students from Southern California selected by CUE to share a slide show highlighting his personal educational journey, tech savvy, and life goals. “Jose was chosen because of his commitment to excellence and his many accomplishments," said Jose Ramirez, Jose Ramos' science teacher at MMS. “I was elated that others valued his perspective and student voice."
The young Jose used an eight-slide presentation to tell his story in three minutes, followed by a Q&A with an audience of more than 100 educators, his teacher said.
In the slide show, Jose Ramos shared perspective on his life, his school and his future, incorporating his technology learning through the video platform FlipGrid.
“Jose's presentation stood out because of his genuine and sincere approach to the theme of the presentation," Mr. Ramirez said. “I believe he was chosen because he put much effort and thought into best representing himself as a student of our district."
Jose Ramos said his favorite aspect of presenting at CUE was the opportunity to express himself as a student.
He also honed his speaking skills at the conference and helped prepare for his career goal, Mr. Ramirez said. The eighth-grader's dream is to manage a top soccer team in Europe and walk – or kick – in the footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson, who earned 49 trophies in an extraordinary career. “Soccer managers talk to the press almost every day," Mr. Ramirez said. “Experiencing CUE helped Jose not to be shy in front of a lot of people, and practice responding to questions."
In other CUE conference news, Nicholas Blake, principal of Mission Middle, joined a panel that explored technology in education. He and four other educational leaders from across California examined ways that schools can support Digital Citizenship. “I shared that focusing on the social-emotional learning of our students is so important," said Mr. Blake, adding that Mission Middle's work in meeting students' social and emotional needs “is transferring into how they are interacting online."
Also at the conference, JUSD Director of Education-Information Technology Josh Lewis was named Technology Leader of the Year by Inland Area CUE. Lewis was honored for his work ensuring full and equitable access to technology for both students and staff at Jurupa Unified.
The conference – which covered dozens of topics ranging from robotics to media literacy to iPad creativity to “Designing an Energy Bar" – enabled every attendee to learn without limits.
“At CUE, I learned how technology could be better used in the classroom," Mr. Ramirez said. “CUE presenters offered creative sessions and challenge educators to go beyond the norm. There were some many options that it focused on what educators truly wanted to learn about. That's learning without limits: There is no wall to stop you from learning more, because the opportunity to learn new ideas and skills are available to us all."