SOURCE: Blackfoot Telecommunications Group

Blackfoot Telecommunications Group

July 28, 2011 13:39 ET

Engage Online at Blackfoot's Education Technology Conference

MISSOULA, MT--(Marketwire - Jul 28, 2011) - This year's Education Technology Conference (ETC) for rural teachers and administrators will focus on using technology tools in the classroom to build relationships with students, peers, mentors, the community and the world. The conference is scheduled August 2-5, 2011 at the University of Montana and will provide many opportunities for onsite teacher training in SMART Board technologies, hand-held devices, Web 2.0 tools, digital citizenship, open source, Moodle, iPad, iTouch, moviemaker, video conferencing equipment and applications, and more.

This year, we will be streaming the conference live at and encouraging our online audience to engage through our conference twitter account at Use the #BlackfootETC hashtag on Twitter when tweeting about the conference, sharing links, etc. You can also use the Twitter search page as well as other tools to follow these conversations before, during and after the conference: The online portion of the conference will include the following:

  • 08/02/11, 10:00am - 12:00pm: SOITA - iPad Apps for the classroom & Managing 21st Century Classes Using Multiple, Seamless Technologies Presented by SOITA & Vision Net, Inc. At the beginning of this session, SOITA will be videoconferenced in to walk teachers through all of the iPad applications for the classroom. In the second half of the session, Vision Net will demonstrate how using multiple technologies effectively can allow each user to participate in a live interactive class. Seamlessly connect professors and students through a mix of online courseware, classroom video conferencing, web conferencing, internet streaming, and telephones.

  • 08/02/11, 12:45pm - 2:45pm: NASA BEST and Goddard Space Center Presented by Vision Net, Inc. and David Mazza, NASA. NASA's Digital Learning Network opens doors for interaction between NASA experts, education specialists, and students.

  • 08/03/11, 8:00 - 10:00am: Promote Critical Thinking & STEM Skills with Scratch Presented by Wesley Fryer, Keynote speaker. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) areas of study are vital to the future of our nation and world. Scratch is free software and a learning community developed by MIT which helps students develop skills in critical thinking, computational thinking, math, and more. In this session we'll explore the basics of Scratch, view sample student projects, and demonstrate how your students can get use Scratch for projects demonstrating their knowledge and skills in different content areas.

  • 08/03/11; 10:15 - 11:15am Online Learning with the Montana Digital Academy Presented by Jason Neiffer, Curriculum Director, Montana Digital Academy. Join Jason as he describes the K-12 online learning landscape in Montana. The various online learning models utilized by the MTDA, the technology tools involved and opportunities for both teachers and students will be discussed.

  • 08/03/11; 11:30am - 12:30pm: 21st Century Skills in the Classroom Presented by Eric McBride and Elaine Higuera, Target Range School. Both will highlight what it takes to teach Tech-Savvy Kids in the classroom.

  • 08/03/11; 1:15 - 3:15pm: Millian Center and Puppetry Arts Presented by Vision Net, Inc. and Paula Crouch, McMillen Center. Through IVC, students from all over the country and beyond can connect with the McMillen Center to receive vital health education. Through live videoconferencing, students will share in two-way conversations with our educators, interacting with the students just as if they were in the same room. Props are also shipped to the connecting site to help enhance the learning experience. At 2:45, we will link to the Center of Puppetry to learn how to build puppets.

  • 08/04/11; 8:00 - 10:00am: Keeping Kids Safe in the Virtual World Presented by Dr. Ann Minckler, Superintendent, Helena Flats School District. Share in a discussion about how today's technology impacts kids relationships and learn how we can help them take responsibility for their actions and to make better choices to stay safe.

  • 08/04/11; 1:00 - 2:00pm: Literacy in a Digital Age Presented by Lisa Kerscher, Education Media Specialist, and Alanna Vaneps, Primary Educator, Russell Elementary. Reading remains a fundamental skill in our digital world, but how do educators use technology to make reading itself more engaging or provide incentives to read more? Discover a variety of angles, including a local classroom-to-classroom collaboration, an online reading-incentive activity called Read-A-Route, and some free, interactive Web-based resources.

  • 08/04/11; 2:15 - 3:15pm: Workflow: Getting Things Done in a Web 2.0 World Presented by Jason Neiffer, Curriculum Director, Montana Digital Academy.

  • 08/05/11; 8:00am - 12pm: 21st Century Classroom Presented by Clinton School -- Erin Nevers, Helen Burwick, Lydia Perry, Mandy McGill, Tim Rose, Rachal Edwards, Court Perry. This will be a comprehensive presentation on integrating technology into lesson plans and the classroom.

The cost of attending the online portion of the conference is FREE. Onsite training at the 4-day conference is free for Blackfoot Cooperative members residing in western Montana. For non-members, the cost of attending the 4-day conference is $150 and includes lunch. To learn more about the ETC conference and to register for the onsite training, visit or E-mail us at

About ETC
In 2010, Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative launched the first education technology conference for rural educators at the University of Montana. The program was created in response to Blackfoot rural community educators voicing concerns about inadequate training in their schools on Internet-based services and programs. ETC is funded by Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative. In addition to the ETC, Blackfoot supports education through free Internet training for seniors (Easy Access), scholarships, and electronic education equipment donations (EEE).

About Blackfoot
Blackfoot Telecommunications Group (Blackfoot) was originally established in 1954 as Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative. Blackfoot offers state-of-the-art telecommunications, Internet and data solutions to customers in Missoula and throughout Montana and Idaho. Headquartered in Missoula, Montana, Blackfoot employs more than 130 Montanans. Blackfoot can be reached at 406-541-5000 or online at Connect Globally. Partner Locally.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Kate Olney
    Blackfoot Telecommunications Group
    Phone: (406) 541-5020
    Fax: (406) 532-5018