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MCALLEN, RGV – Well known for embracing technology, McAllen ISD hosted its 3rd annual iPadPalooza last Thursday at McAllen High School.

At the event, teachers from all over the Rio Grande Valley learned about the different technology that can help them teach in the classroom in a fun and enjoyable way.

iPadPalooza is an all-day event that allows educators to focus on creativity, social collaboration, engagement and the fascinating ways schools have integrated technology into their classrooms. In addition, iPadPalooza provides friendly competitions for the teachers, speakers from across the nation, a variety of food truck vendors, and live music to enjoy.

“I like to see an environment where learning is fun,” Ann Vega, McAllen ISD Director of Instructional Technology and Library Services said. “So, we try to make it as fun for them as possible.”

Other than competitions, music, and food, the iPadPalooza event also featured areas where visitors can test out Virtual Reality devices, work with robots, learn about different ways social media can be used in the classroom, and many more lessons about possible technology techniques to use inside the classroom.

Ipadpalooza was founded by Carl Hooker, director of innovation and digital learning at Eanes ISD in Austin, Texas. Hooker first came up with the idea of iPadPalooza when he realized he wanted to create an event where teachers could have an enjoyable time while at the same time learning how to infuse technology into their curriculum. In fact, Hooker prefers to call the event a ‘learning festival’ not a conference.

“As a teacher, I think of how I can use this [technology] to motivate and engage my kids,” shared Hooker.

While at the ‘learning festival’, teachers and educators also present learned how well technology has improved their students’ skill set and behavior. For example, Donna Bzibziak, Wilson Elementary Assistant Principal, said that through a set called ‘make your space,’ kids express themselves well through the different types of challenges. She said she has seen a lot of her students use problem solving, critical thinking, and teamwork within the ‘make your space’ set.

“There are a lot of kids that need that kind of push to get them to really express themselves,” said Bzibziak. “A lot of these kids do express themselves through these different types of scenarios that the ‘make your space’ creates for them.”

iPadPalooza showcases these latest waves of technology to bring these techniques to the attention of teachers who can allow students to grow by using creative techniques with technology. Organizers say the classroom can now become an even more engaging and exciting environment for the student than ever before, while at the same time a teacher can effectively teach their lessons with less difficulty. With the help of iPadPalooza, supporters say, students and teachers are taking steps towards a better classroom and greater education.