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By Lindy Thackston

NOBLESVILLE, IN (July 16, 2015) – The days of just using pencil and paper in school are long gone. Students learn on all kinds of devices now and people will be sharing their stories of successfully using technology in the classroom at an iPadpalooza event at Noblesville High School Thursday.

“It’s really a celebration of the cultural shift that iPads have brought about in K-12 education,” said Andrew Swickheimer, Director of Technology for Noblesville Schools. “We’re going to be bringing together a group of national speakers, a group of educators from throughout the Midwest, to tell their story about how they’re using technology and iPads in innovative ways in the classroom.”

On top of iPadpalooza, there will be a student “hack-a-thon” during the day.

“Not only do we want to involve teachers and administrators, but we want to involve students,” said Swickheimer. “We felt like it was a good way to get kids excited about learning about computer science, to get them engaged in learning about technology, and so we thought of the idea of having a hack-a-thon where kids come in, they learn how to code, then once we teach them how to code, they’re going to compete in a competition using Spheros. Then we’re going to award some prizes to the winner who creates the best.”

Students in the Noblesville School District use iPads, along with many other schools in Indiana.

“It’s been a great device for us as far as giving our students access to technology, giving them access to a diverse curriculum, allowing them to be not only consumers of content, but to be creators and producers of media and content. For those reasons, it’s been the right device for us.”

The school was awarded a grant by the Department of Education. The Office of E-Learning gives grants each summer to school districts to host conferences. Noblesville decided to spend the money on iPadpalooza.

“With that grant, we looked for a conference that we could partner with and so we were able to partner with iPadpalooza which is out of Austin, Texas. They really helped us out with a lot of the logistics and getting organized with the conference. We’re going to have music. We’re going to have food trucks. We’re going to have a lot of giveaways and prizes. We want it to be fun because these teachers are giving up their time in the summer to learn about how to use these tools in the classroom so we want to make it a fun experience.”

Swickheimer says they were hoping to just get some attention and learn a lot, so they’re thrilled and surprised at the response and success. Both iPadpalooza and the hack-a-thon are sold out.

“One of the great things about it too is, it really is a showcase for Noblesville Schools. A lot of our teachers are the ones that are putting together the presentations and doing the sessions for other educators. We’ve got a lot of folks coming in from throughout the Midwest that want to come learn about what our teachers are doing.”

Click here for more on iPadpalooza and the guest speakers.