GIRARD - The children are the future, and that future is going to require some pretty advanced technological expertise to be successful in. Nearly 300 students from all over Southeast Kansas got the opportunity to experience a unique leg-up at the Student Technology Conference held this past Monday, March 5, at Greenbush - The Southeast Kansas Education Service Center, in Girard.

There was a wide variety of sessions covering topics ranging from green screen technology to augmented reality construction simulators to creating video games. According to Doug Graham of Greenbush, the overarching goal is to equip students with some essential skills, and show them potential career paths in the STEM disciplines. STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.

"We had 277 students from 22 school districts all over the eastern half of the state attend today's Student Technology Conference," said Graham. "Grade levels ranged from 6th to 12th. Our goal was to show students new ways to use technology and to spark interest in a range of potential career paths."

This was the third year Greenbush has hosted the conference. Columbus Unified High School math teacher Luke Henke was one of many local educators to teach a session. He showed kids how to create their own video games using the program Bloxels.

"Greenbush works with many school districts to help them deploy and manage computers, tablets, smartboards and many other kinds of learning technology, so hosting an event like this is a natural extension of that work," said Graham.

What is Greenbush?

Greenbush – The Southeast Kansas Education Service Center serves learners of all ages through partnerships with schools, communities and agencies statewide. Greenbush serves all Kansas USDs through 150 programs in 50 locations. Underlying their diverse range of services and supports is one central mission, ensuring equal educational opportunities for all.

Greenbush began in 1976 to help schools pool resources and stretch their dollars through collaborative projects. Classified as Interlocal No. 609, we have all the rights and privileges of a school district except the power to levy taxes. Greenbush is governed by a board consisting of one representative from each of the five charter schools: Erie, Girard, Yates Center, Riverton, and Fort Scott Community College.