Renton Prep students were once again invited to present and attend the Northwest Council on Computer Education’s annual conference. Educators and administrators throughout the Northwest attended the NCCE 2017 conference to learn more about incorporating computer-based education into the classroom. As a leader in computer-based learning, Renton Prep students and faculty, including Dr. Michelle Zimmerman and Ms. Jessica Pilsner, introduced the attendees to new and innovative ways to learn. This year, we even had five 4th graders presenting to an adult conference. Our students were the youngest to ever present at NCCE. This was a major accomplishment and experience for our students. There were over 160 people in attendance! Renton Prep was quite proud, as our students and faculty represented well and learned a great deal.
On the Move
The conference weekend started with a unique challenge: conduct a workshop about project-based learning on a moving train. This was multi-tasking at its finest. While on board the train to Portland to attend the conference, our students presented to educators. As one of the student presenters, Mia Britt noted, “At first I was unsure about presenting and talking … since it was in a setting where I have never presented or spoken before.” Consequently, students forgot their trepidation as they engaged with educators. Britt said, “I could tell the teachers and other educators were impressed and intrigued by the learning style we described to them. … They told us that we taught them something new, something different … something that should be integrated in every classroom. That made me feel good… it made me feel like I made a difference.”
Boots on the Ground
Quite a few Renton Prep students decided to enhance their conference experience by acting as volunteers. “Having the experience of volunteering from last year’s NCCE, I was able to improve on my skills. This year, I was a hall greeter. I had a lot of fun being able to answer questions and being asked fun questions,” said Terry Tran. “Ultimately, the experience was one to remember.”
Student Matthew Lee reported, “I personally found it fun and challenging as you had to use memory, problem solving, and most importantly communication in order to get the job done.”
Jennifer Fernandez said, “When the day of the event came I was super excited. Not only did I get to watch people play the game right in front of me but I also got to play for myself with some of the participants. Everyone I met including participants and other volunteers, were really nice and helpful to me.”
“Getting to co-present and talk to people at the Microsoft booth in the expo hall was a fun experience,” recalled Alex Lai. “The things we do at our school is unbelievable, and I’m always pretty content with sharing it out to the public because I love seeing people’s engaging reactions.”
Making the Case
Many of our student attendees also co-presented with Dr. Zimmerman and Ms. Pilsner. These presentations provided an overview of The Alchemist game project and a session on Bullying and Protecting Students. McCoy Palma, who co-presented with Ms. Pilsner said, “Personally, I loved presenting, even though I can admit that my presenting skills can use some work.” Nathan Craia, who co-presented with Ms. Zimmerman relayed how powerful it was to present alongside educators and hear their own stories. “Hearing things and experiences straight from my own teacher was moving. … I am glad that I was able to be taught more on this subject, and become more aware of some of the problems that may be going on today in our world.”
Once again, Renton Prep students, starting at just 4th grade, represented themselves and our school well at NCCE 2017. We look forward to returning next year and continuing the tradition of student-integrated presentations.