School of Education and Human Services

Pawley Hall
456 Pioneer Drive
Rochester , MI 48309-4482
(location map)
248 370 3050

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For more information, please contact

State Superintendent, Mike Flanagan, is a long-time advocate for integrating technology into K-12 education.  He is leading a discussion regarding the technology in education topic on Facebook now. 

“Technology, it’s ever-changing. The kids, they aren’t saying … ‘Slow down.’ They’ll take whatever I throw at them and use it to enhance core curriculum.” - Tasha Candela, 2013 Presenter

"We’re beyond the information age. Now we’re looking at what to do with all that information.” - Chris Stanley, 2014 & 2015 Presenter

Educational Technology

Enhancing Instruction with Technology

Oakland University’s School of Education & Human Services is pleased to announce the sixth Enhancing Instruction with Technology workshop held at Oakland University in Rochester, MI.
We are dedicated to bringing educators together to share knowledge and concerns about educational uses and the implication of technology in the classroom. Therefore, as part of our continuing efforts to serve the needs of Michigan K12 educators in their professional development, we sponsor this annual workshop. This workshop is known for its high take away value and for the practical knowledge and hands-on classroom experience of our presenters. Our 2017 workshop will include a keynote session, breakout sessions covering a variety of educational technology topics, along with networking opportunities.
Goals of the Workshop
All attendees will be able to:
  • Apply at least one new skill in regards to educational technology in the classroom
  • Demonstrate leadership by modeling the use of educational technology to others in their district 
  • Identify ways that educational technology can be used to support instruction and student learning, not interfere with it
  • Learn how to utilize cutting edge technology to enhance instruction in the classroom 
  • Leave with practical lesson ideas to use in your own classroom, including all ages/subject areas
  • Networking opportunities with other K12 educators
  • Educators can earn SCECHs
  • Light refreshments and lunch provided

March 2017 workshop sessions are listed below.  Please click on the gold heading to read more about each session.

Presenter: Christina Ostrander
Can you escape the classroom using only the clues provided? Can you work as one team to solve the puzzles and open the locks before the timer runs out? #Breakouts use a great combination of content knowledge and 21st century skills to create a learning environment like no other. Come and participate actively in a classroom breakout. After our successful escape I will demonstrate how to create your own kit and where to find the free resources to play this amazing game in your own classroom.

Augmented and Virtual Reality in the Classroom – Come Play and Explore
Presenter: Christina Ostrander
Come and explore some amazing Virtual and Augmented reality that you can use in your classroom the very next day. There will be plenty of opportunities to simply “play” and explore, from making your floor come alive through the use of a race track to exploring distant planets using VR. Practical and simple uses for all ages, grade levels and experience levels.

BLOXELS: Storytelling and Video Game Design
Presenter: Mike Medvinsky
Ever wonder how to make your own video game? With Bloxels it’s never been easier. This hands-on platform is designed for kids to build, collaborate and tell stories through video game creation. Kids can play fun games and channel their creative potential as they gain greater understanding of design logic, computer science and demonstrate their understanding of content areas. This hands-on session provides the opportunity for you to create your own video game!

Bringing Creativity Back to the Primary Classroom
Presenters: Shannon Descamps & Amy Laidlaw
By using iPads, Makerspace and Genius Hour we are happy to report creative children once more! We’ll share apps we like to use for creating and examples of our student work. We will also discuss how we started our Makerspace time, how it’s grown to being a schoolwide activity and how a 2nd/3rd grade classroom is succeeding with Genius Hour time!

Choosing App Books with Features that Support Specific Areas of Emergent and Beginning Reading Development
Presenter: Tanya Christ
This interactive session will provide guidelines, models and guided practice for teachers to (1) identify iPad app-book features that support specific areas of literacy development, and (2) evaluate the quality of iPad app-book features. Specific iPad app-books will be suggested for meeting particular early literacy learning goals.

Creating a (Digital) Culture of Thinking
Presenters: Grayson McKinney & Zach Rondot
Our goal in this session is to show you how we have come to leverage technology to cultivate the 6 C’s of 21st century learning. More important than any fact or detail from a content area, these crucial skills of Thinking Critically, Working Collaboratively, Utilizing Connectivity, Communicating Clearly, Embracing Culture and Developing Creativity, are skills that empower our students to find their voice and make their thinking visible while preparing them for the jobs of the future. Join us to see how we have used apps and websites such as SeeSaw, OneNote, ClassKick, Post-It Plus and others in our upper elementary classroom.

Creating Learner Processfolios with Seesaw
Presenter: Mike Medvinsky
Looking for a multimedia journal that empowers learners to showcase what they’re learning at school? Seesaw is the tool for you...I mean...your students! Throughout the school year, learners can build a digital processfolio of their learning, accessible by you, them and their parents anytime. Learn how to create classes, add artifacts, start a class blog, approve new items, share with parents and build an organized digital learning portfolio in the cloud.

Exploring Coding in the Elementary Classroom
Presenter: Lori Banaszak
Every student in elementary school should have the opportunity to learn computer science. Come join this session and learn how to create a coding experience in your own classroom. This session will cover how to get started, resources, strategies and get hands on play time. The learning goal for this session is to inspire you to start exposing coding to your students and have them become designers and creators of their own digital content.

Game On  Can you BreakoutEDU?
Presenters: Heather Kellstrom & Natalie Makulski
Are you looking for an ultra engaging and authentic way to connect with all of the learners in your classroom, staff in your building or all employees in your district? Have we got a game for you! Come learn about the current research on GAME-BASED LEARNING in the classroom, be a part of a team to solve problems and think critically through hands-on gaming or virtual gaming. See how game-based learning can support any classroom learning or district initiative!

Game On  GooseChase!
Presenters: Heather Kellstrom & Natalie Makulski
Are you looking for an ultra-engaging and authentic way to connect with all of the learners in your classroom, staff in your building or all employees in your district? Have we got a game for you! Come learn about the current research on GAMIFICATION in the classroom, be a part of a team to solve problems and think critically in a digital environment. Use your internal drive to find out what you are really made of digitally!

Go Digital with Formative Assessments
Presenter: Catherine Hamilton
Calling all teachers. If you are feeling exhausted because you are inundated with assessing student work, please consider an adventure online. Learn how to use online assessment tools to help reduce your stress level and increase the achievement level of your students.

Using Technology to Differentiate Instruction with Free Web Tools
Presenter: Ashara Shepard
If you are looking for low cost technology to engage students and scaffold instruction this session is for you. Participants will learn about the differentiation model and how to integrate free web tools to improve learning for all students.

MinecraftEDU in the Classroom: An Educational Gaming Experience For Students and Teachers
Presenter: Mike Medvinsky & Adam Hellebuyck
Minecraft, the popular game of virtual building blocks, can be used to great effect in the classroom. In this session, participants will be introduced to MinecraftEDU in science and social studies through projects where students build their own virtual biomes and civilizations that change and interact with each other over time. Participants will also receive information on the first steps necessary to set up MinecraftEDU for use in a classroom setting. While the examples used will revolve around science and social studies, the interdisciplinary uses of MinecraftEDU will also be explored through participant discussion. People with all levels of familiarity with Minecraft (from no experience to expert) are welcome and invited to participate.
Lori Banaszak
Clarkston Public Schools
Lori Banaszak is a Technology Integration Specialist for the Clarkston Community Schools in Clarkston, Michigan. Lori has been in education for 20 years. For the past 16 years, she has been an instructional technologist in local school districts and intermediate school district levels. She has delivered many professional learning sessions from Google Apps to digital literacy. Her current projects are elementary coding clubs and redesigning computer labs to a more flexible learning space. Lori is also an authorized Google Education Trainer for Michigan. In her free time, Lori loves to garden and cook, and especially loves spending time with her husband Jeff and two daughters, Luci and Carli. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBanaszak.

Tanya Christ
Oakland University
Tanya Christ is an Associate Professor of Reading and Language Arts at Oakland University. She teaches courses related to reading assessment and instruction practices for K–12. Her research focuses on emergent reading processes, digital literacies in early childhood, issues of educational access and equity, and teacher education. She has taught both inclusion and general education in Title 1 classrooms in Brooklyn, NY. Her work appears in journals such as J ournal of Literacy Research, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, J ournal of Early Childhood Literacy and Young Children.

Shannon Descamps
Fraser Public Schools
Shannon Descamps is a 4th grade teacher for Fraser Public Schools (an Apple Distinguished Program). She is currently in her 15th year of teaching with a background in lower elementary. Within her classroom, students utilize iPads daily. Her students frequently connect with the world outside their four walls on Twitter at @Descamps_grade4 and through their  blog. Shannon enjoys sharing her learning with her colleagues and has enjoyed presenting at technology conferences over the last few years. You can follow her on Twitter at @ShannonDescamps.

Catherine Hamilton
Southfield Public Schools
Catherine L. Hamilton currently teaches 5th grade at Adlai Stevenson Elementary School in the Southfield School District. She is a graduate of Wayne State University with a B.S. in Elementary Education and a major in Science education. In January 2001, Catherine joined the Southfield Public School system and began the journey of educating students a journey that she has been on ever since. After gaining valuable classroom experience, she returned to Wayne State and earned her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education. Catherine has taught elementary for 8 years and middle school science for 8 years as well. Recently when the opportunity to become an elementary science teacher became available, she jumped at the chance because she believes that the opportunity to have real impact with science education begins at the elementary level. As an educator, the use of technology has always been at the forefront of Catherine’s practice, and integrating technology use into the classroom learning experience has resulted in her student’s ability to extend their learning beyond the classroom walls. Her classroom instruction is a combination of hands-on and hands-off instruction through the use of technology.

Heather Kellstrom
Saline Area Schools
Heather Kellstrom is an Instructional Technologist/Next-Gen Strategist for Saline Area Schools. She works side-by-side with teachers and administrators to integrate technology purposefully into the teaching and learning process and bring the district vision of  “Student-Led, Future Focused” to life.  It’s a great day in the classroom when teachers have facilitated a learning experience that provides student agency through collaborative teams, higher-order thinking, the creation of innovation solution and time for reflection through a connected web tool, app or platform, ” she says. She is currently working on her educational technology Ph.D. at Central Michigan University, earned an M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from Wayne State University and a B.A. in Elementary Education from Michigan State University.

Amy Laidlaw
Fraser Public Schools
Amy Laidlaw is a 2nd grade teacher for Fraser Public Schools. She is in her 25th year of teaching having taught Pre-K through 3rd grade. Fraser K 2 students have 1 to 1 iPads within the classroom. Amy’s students love creating and connecting with the world. Amy has enjoyed presenting at technology conferences over the last few years. You can follow her on Twitter at @allaidlaw.

Alyssa Macdonald
South Lyon Community Schools
Alyssa MacDonald is a fourth grade teacher at Hardy Elementary in South Lyon, Michigan. She finds technology fits with her outgoing personality and desire to elevate the students to their highest level. Alyssa also co-leads technology and robotics clubs.

Natalie Makulski
Clarenceville School District
Natalie Makulski is a third grade teacher in the Clarenceville school district. This year, her third grade team started the first technology club for students in her school.  It is exciting to engage students with the advancement of technology in their life, she says of teaching.  I enjoy teaching my students about new skills that will help them in the future. She is currently working on earning her educational technology Ph.D. at Central Michigan University. When she is not at work or at school, she is spending all of her time with her new puppy Alli-Gator.

Grayson McKinney and Zach Rondot
Troy School District
We are Zach Rondot and Grayson McKinney, two 4th-grade co-teachers with 14 years of combined experience of teaching in Troy, Michigan. We are passionate about being innovative in our practice and pushing the need for innovation in education. Our goal is to show you how we have come to leverage technology in our classroom to cultivate critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity – skills that empower our students to find their voice and make their thinking visible – while preparing them for the jobs of the future. You can follow Zach on Twitter at @MrRondot and Grayson on Twitter at @GMcKinney2.

Mike Medvinsky
University Liggett School
Michael Medvinsky is an instructional technology integrator at University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe, MI and a lecturer at Oakland University in Elementary Education Methods and technology integration, creating learning experiences where experiential and collaborative learning encourages thinkers to look closely, think deeply, and wonder incessantly. Currently working in education, with an engineering background, Michael advocates for the importance of transparent technology integration and global collaboration into learning environments. You can follow him on Twitter at  @mwmedvinsky and on Instagram @mrm_tech2connect_edu.

Christina Ostrander
Grand Blanc Public Schools
Christina Ostrander has over 10+ years of teaching experience. She currently teaches fourth grade at Mason Elementary located within Grand Blanc Community schools. She is passionate about the teaching and learning all students receive. Currently, her classroom is BYOD/T and has been for over four years. We take risks daily and learn from them together. She is a proud MSU and OU College of Education alum.

Kellie Saunders
South Lyon Community Schools
Kellie Saunders is a second grade teacher at Hardy Elementary school in South Lyon, Michigan. She uses technology to enhance her curriculum in a variety of ways. Kellie co-leads afterschool technology and robotics clubs, providing the students at Hardy with a variety of hands on learning opportunities.

Ashara Shepard
COOL School Technologies, L3C
Ashara Shepard, Ed.S is a 25 year educator and co-founder of COOL School Technologies, L3C. She has worked as a classroom teacher, district instructional coach and district administrator. COOL stands for Creative Online Opportunities for Learning. Her mission in founding COOL School is to close the digital divide in underserved communities and assist teachers with low-tech, low-cost ways to integrate technology in the classroom. Ashara holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan, an M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction and an Education Specialist in Instructional Technology. In 2007, Wayne State awarded her the Instructional Technology Education Specialist of the Year award. Ashara trains educators at both the K 12 and collegiate level. She is currently part of the University of Michigan edX course Leading Ambitious Teaching and Learning where she discusses the use of technology in underserved communities.
Call for
You are invited to submit a proposal to share your experience and expertise in educational technology with your colleagues at the Enhancing Instruction with Technology workshop on Saturday, March 4, 2017.  Share your strategies for incorporating technology in teaching and learning in the classroom.
Presentation Guidelines
  • Presentations – Teams or individual proposals will be accepted. Sessions will run 75 minutes, allowing for more in-depth presentation and Q&A.
  • Content – We encourage sessions involving BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and those that allow time for active discussion among participants, so that educators will have some takeaway elements they can use immediately following in their classrooms.  Presentation selections will be made based on desired topics, flow of content, educational value and quality of learning objectives.  All selected content will be published in workshop publications and online.
  • Agenda Schedule – The workshop organizers will set the time for each presentation, in order to optimize the sequencing and flow of content.  Sessions will end by 3:30 p.m. on March 4, 2017. Oakland University will notify all selected speakers by February 3, 2017.


Past topics have included:

  • SMART Board Technology and Lesson Design
  • Tablet-Based Instruction
  • Online and Blended Learning
  • iPads in the Classroom
  • iPad Apps for Elementary Students
  • Best Apps for Special Needs Students
  • GoogleApps in the Classroom
  • Google Add-ons
  • Connecting to the Global Classroom
  • Creating a Personal Learning Network (PLN)
  • Digital Portfolios and Assessment
  • Social Media in the Classroom
  • The Paperless Classroom
  • Online Connections for Elementary Classrooms

Suggest topics of interest may include:

  • Technology in the Elementary Classroom
  • Technology Topics by Subject or Grade Level
  • Beginner Tech in the Classroom
  • SMART Boards / Interactive White Boards
  • GAFE or Advanced Google Apps
  • Weebly
  • Creating Classroom Websites
  • Ideas for Low-Income / Low-Tech Schools
  • Using Technology to Improve Test Scores
  • Google Classroom
  • Building Digital Portfolios
  • Global Learning with iPads and Google
  • Technology for Special Education Students
  • Chromebooks

Speaker Benefits
  • All speakers will receive the following: complimentary registration for the workshop with access to the keynote session and all workshop sessions, along with refreshments and lunch.
  • Speakers will be featured in the workshop publication and on the OU School of Education and Human Services website.
  • The above benefits do not extend to staff or colleagues who may accompany the speaker.

Terms and Conditions

The submitter agrees to the following terms and conditions when submitting a session proposal:

  • The OU Enhancing Instruction with Technology Workshop Committee has final determination of learning sessions.  Each concurrent learning session will last 75 minutes.
  • Primary presenter is responsible for submitting presentation materials and handouts prior to the conference for inclusion on the Enhancing Instruction with Technology mobile application.  All presentation materials are due by Friday, February 24, 2017.
  • Learning session materials will be provided on a mobile application for registrants only prior to the workshop for the attendees to download.
  • Hotel, travel and other expenses are not covered; speakers are responsible for their own expenses.
  • Only the primary speaker will receive one complimentary conference registration per presentation.  Oakland University automatically registers the primary speaker for the conference. Co-presenters will need to register themselves for the conference if they plan to attend learning sessions.
  • This session may be photographed for the purpose of marketing for the School of Education and Human Services and Oakland University. 
  • Primary presenter is responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce handouts if copyrighted by an organization other than Oakland University.

Next Steps

Please complete the online application form by Friday, January 20, 2017

Selected presenters will be notified via email by Friday, February 3, 2017.

All presentation materials and handouts are due by Friday, February 24, 2017 and will be included on the Enhancing Instruction with Technology mobile application.

If you have any questions regarding the submission process, please contact Kelly Quintana at

How to

For more information, please contact

  • Workshop Registration Fee: $80
  • SCECHs Fee: Additional $10
  • Parking is free on Oakland University's Main Campus
  • Lunch will be provided to all participants