PTA and District Collaborate To Host Summer Tech Fest
The Fort Smith Council of PTAs and Fort Smith Public Schools hosted the area’s first Summer Tech Fest from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on July 30 at the ArcBest Performing Arts Center at the Fort Smith Convention Center.
Students from Kindergarten to 6th Grade participated in fun STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) entertainment and their parents selected from several learning stations including Chromebooks Basics, Internet Safety 101, Robotics and Coding prior to a screening of the internationally popular documentary on technology and parenting, “Screenagers.” Childcare was provided for children who are under five.
“We want to provide an environment on July 30 where parents can feel free to learn, without distraction, about technology that is used to enhance success and achievement,” said Zena Featherston Marshall, FSPS Executive Director of Communication and Community Partnerships. She said, “‘Screenagers: Growing Up In the Digital Age’ begins at 7:15 p.m. in the performing arts center auditorium.”
Lee Andra White, who is the President of the Fort Smith Council of PTAs was excited about the opportunity to share this information with the community. She said, “The Summer Tech Fest was a wonderful way to incorporate learning and digital safety information in a community setting.” White emphasized, “We wanted to bring families, educators and PTA together for a fun-filled, yet informative event showcasing what our students have access to and are learning in the FSPS system. We also wanted to inform and educate the adults in attendance of the problems with screen/device addiction in our country and how to handle and address these issues at home.”
During this free event, teachers who specialize in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and Instructional Technology were engaging students and their parents in very different ways. The learning station configuration allowed parents to ask questions, share concerns as well as use technology available in classrooms throughout the district. Their students were occupied with activities that mirror some of the District’s popular Full STEAM Ahead Summer Camp Curriculum.
Leslie Brodie, who is the district’s Science Coordinator said, “This event gave parents insight into everything that is available to their students to enhance and enrich learning, as well as ways in which they can support their student at home in a safe environment.”
FSPS Technology Integration Specialist Eden Buergler believes this was a very important opportunity for district educators and parents. Buergler said, “This event gave our parents the tools they need to support their children as they continue to grow and learn using technology. We need to empower our students AND their families to continue to use technology in a way that affects positive change in our world.”