EDINBURG – More than 1,500 teachers, librarians, paraprofessionals, administrators and staff members from the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District recently attended the 7th Annual Innovate Conference at Vela High School in Edinburg.

“Staff development is one of our priorities and this conference is about staff development and training our teachers on how to utilize technology in the classroom as they deliver the instruction,” ECISD Superintendent Dr. René Gutiérrez.

The annual conference kicks off the start of the school year districtwide and encourages participants to learn about new innovative emerging technologies that they can utilize in the classroom.

“Today’s students demand that we incorporate technology in the instructional process,” Gutierrez said. “This conference focuses on all the technology devices and the technology software that are out there to incorporate that into the instruction, because that’s how our children are learning today.”

One of the interesting aspects of the conference is that teachers and staff members, who are already using the technology in their schools, are now teaching others how to use it.

“The Innovate Conference is attracting more ECISD educators every single year,” said ECISD Assistant Superintendent for Technology Eduardo Moreno. “Our teachers want to learn more about new innovative technologies that are impacting and engaging students in the classroom.”

Moreno said that teachers also want to learn more about all the online instructional resources and materials that Edinburg CISD has utilized and incorporated into its curriculum planning and its online platforms.

“This year, we are really excited to launch our new Microsoft Office 365 platform districtwide,” Moreno said. “Everyone will be able to utilize the entire Microsoft Office platform 100-percent in the cloud.”

All Edinburg CISD educators will be able to access any of their Office files anywhere, anytime and on any device, he said.

Several parents also participated in the conference’s Parental Engagement Academy and learned how to integrate technology into their homes.

“Our parents learned about internet safety,” Moreno said. “They learned about making sure that their children are utilizing technology appropriately.”

The conference hosted more than 75 technology workshops, including sessions on digital storytelling, robotics, virtual reality, 3-D printing and how to communicate effectively on social media.