Called the “Strategies for Educational Improvement: Preparing for the Future,” the conference was a collaboration between the Kansas State Department of Education and the KU School of Education.
Members of the audience included Kansas Commissioner of Education Diane DeBacker, state school board members Diane Bunting and Walt Chappel, representatives from two legislators’ offices, plus university professors, teachers and administrators.
The students, calling themselves the iPad Chefs, based on the “Iron Chef” TV show, illustrated “app”-etizers, which are easy-to-use apps for the classroom, according to Centre Superintendent Jerri Kemble, who led the group.
She said “Main dish” apps allow students to use higher-order thinking skills and create content using iPad apps, and “Desserts” are the students’ favorite apps.
“The iPad Chefs were absolutely fabulous,” Kemble said. “The commissioner of education said she was reading a book on presenting, and they should add a chapter that said, ‘Never follow Jerri Kemble and the iPad Chefs if you are speaker. They are a tough act to follow!’
“That made me feel so proud of our kids.”
Kemble said the conference’s keynote speaker, Yong Zhao, currently presidential chair and associate dean for global education, College of Education at the University of Oregon, said the presentation “was a great example for him to refer to, and that we were doing all the things he would talk about in his speech.”
Zhoa asked for the group’s contact information and said he wants them to be part of an international project that would partner Centre students with Chinese students.
“It was a great day for Centre and these iPad Chefs,” Kemble said. “In my opinion, this was as great as winning a state championship in sports.
“These students made a stellar presentation to 300 educators that included teachers, professors, superintendents and state dignitaries. Now that takes courage and talent on the part of a 10-year-old.”