Educators spend a day at the nerd table



“Twelve years after high school and I’m still at the nerd table,”

—Leonard, from “The Big Bang Theory”


In January of every year, the faculty at USD 410 participates in the annual TEEN Mashup. Now, for those of you who are wondering what this is, don’t feel alone. TEEN isn’t something that is widely known outside of the faculty and staff of the five TEEN school districts.

And mashups? Well, unless you are an information technology specialist, you likely don’t have any idea of what a mashup is. So what is a TEEN Mashup? Think of it as “sitting at the nerd table” for a day learning about technology and how to better use it.

TEEN stands for Technology Excellence in Education Network. TEEN was created in 1992 for the purpose of Inter­active Distance Learning. IDL is basically having class via a television set. The students see the teacher on the other end and take the class from several miles away and it all happens live. TEEN also hosts a variety of online courses taught by faculty from participating districts.

These online courses are constructed by our own teachers using a software called “Blackboard.” This is yet another way for us to provide courses to students in other TEEN districts.

Basically, TEEN allows us to share teachers and provide classes to students from other schools that we otherwise would not be able to offer.

The member school districts are Peabody-Burns USD 398, Hillsboro USD 410, Marion-Florence USD 408, Centre USD 397,and Herington USD 487.

This year, HHS students are taking classes through the TEEN network that include Health, Early Childhood, Marketing, Speech, College Psychology, College Sociology, College History, Spanish, Journalism and Business.

TEEN is also used for our students to do virtual science experiments and field trips.

Now, what is a Mashup? The simple explanation of this is when two technologies are combined to make a new one. So, the TEEN Mashup training is the combination of several skilled teachers, administrators and presenters who get together annually to find new and exciting ways to use technology in our classrooms.

The most recent occurrence of this training was Jan. 21. Faculty and staff from the five participating TEEN districts, as well as students from the department of education at Tabor College, came together in Hillsboro to learn how to get better using technology for learning.

Let’s face it, our students tomorrow will enter a world much different than the world we knew when we were in school.

Our challenge as educators is to ensure that our students are as well prepared as they can be when they leave us and enter post secondary training or the workforce. We need to keep learning and finding new ways to use technology in school. Understanding and applying technology is an essential skill for us and it is essential for our kids and their futures.

Hopefully, we are all still sitting at the nerd table 12 years from now.


Steve Noble is superintendent of USD 410. You can read his Experience Learning blog at




















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