Partner Spotlight: Illinois Computing Educators: Teaching and Learning Through Technology

NAMLE had the opportunity to spotlight one of our new organizational partners, Illinois Computing Educators (ICE). ICE supports the development, growth, and use of technology in all facets of the educational process.

When did ICE launch and why?

Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) is a statewide organization dedicated to leadership in education through technology.  Formed in 1986 by a group of 30 educators, ICE has grown to over 12,500 members comprised of teachers, technology coordinators, library media specialists, administrators, higher education representatives, school support staff and other constituents in Illinois education.  ICE continues to support the development, growth, and use of technology in all facets of the educational process.

What does ICE do? What are its main goals? Main projects?

  • Professional Learning: Support and provide opportunities in teaching and learning through technology and collaborative communities
  • Advocacy: Be a leading voice for teaching and learning through technology in Illinois
  • Membership / Chapter Development: Strengthen and enhance chapter participation through increased member engagement
  • Outreach: Become the recognized resource in education tech practices
  • Finance: Increase funding sources to maintain financial stability in order to support member benefits
  • Collaboration: Encourage collaboration and connectivity within the membership

What makes ICE stand out? What would you say is the most unique thing about ICE?

We believe that ICE stands out because our members, board, and staff are passionate educators who strive to make a difference in education. With over 12,000 members, we have a network of educators knowledgeable about educational technology as well as innovative strategies to transform education. As an organization, we value every educator and work diligently to empower them in making a difference for students.

What are recent projects or new resources that ICE would like to share with other NAMLE members?

  • Professional Development and Other Resources:  ICE members have the opportunity to participate in additional professional development opportunities throughout the year. We are excited to share our most recent professional development offering as an ISTE Certification Approved Provider we are now offering cohorts for ISTE certification. In addition, we have partnered with and offering the following:
  • ICE Conference:  ICE sponsors the annual ICE Conference. Over 5000 educators convene to learn and share ideas with each other regarding the effective use of technology in education. The multi-day conference includes hands-on workshops, breakout sessions, snapshots, and many other networking and learning opportunities. 200+ vendors exhibit their wares and services, featured speakers inspire attendees.
  • TECH 20XX:  This annual event is held at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. Hundreds of students come from schools throughout the state to present the most comprehensive and diverse student demonstration of classroom technology in the Midwest.  TECH 20XX demonstrations allow lawmakers, business leaders, teachers, and administrators from Illinois schools to see firsthand how technology is used in classrooms throughout the state.
  • ICE Chapters ICE has local chapters scattered throughout the state. Individual chapters hold regular meetings that provide local area members an opportunity for networking and professional development. Many chapters sponsor workshops and mini-conferences to members.
  • Newsletter:  Members receive an online ICE CUBE (ICE Computer Update Bulletin for Educators) filled with articles on topics such as technology leadership issues, classroom ideas, new technologies, etc.
  • Technology Educator of the Year Award Each year, two awards are given to outstanding educators throughout the state.  The ICE Technology-Using Educator Award is designated for individuals such as media specialists, university and college staff, technology coordinators, computer coordinators, etc., while the ICE Technology-Using Classroom Teacher Award is targeted for pre-K-12 classroom teachers.
  • ICE Scholarships:  This program is open to all ICE members in good standing and their children attending college. Scholarships are available from $100 on up for members to pursue an advanced degree or to take additional for-credit college courses. This scholarship program can also be used to attend professional development workshops and conferences. Children of ICE members may apply for a scholarship to pursue a degree in Education.
  • ICE Mini-GrantsThe purpose of the ICE Mini-Grant Program is to provide ICE members throughout the state with funding for educational technology projects that showcase innovation and creativity and directly benefit students in PreK-12 classrooms.

Be sure to check our website and follow us on Twitter @ice_il for updates!

What are the connections between your work and media literacy? Why is media literacy important to you?

As the Illinois affiliate of ISTE, our work is very focused on showcasing and developing professional learning that meets the ISTE Standards. Media literacy is also an important component of the ISTE Standards for Students.

  • The Knowledge Constructor standard expects students to evaluate the accuracy, perspective and credibility and relevance of information, media, data other resources.
  • The Creative Communicator standard, a student must create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations and publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.
  • The Global Collaborator standard expects students to use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.

Our work as educators who use technology is to ensure the safe use of technology as well as helping students understand the information that is available to them through online sources. Analyzing media is one critical skill they must have to success today and in the future.

Anything else you want our readers to know about ICE, your mission, your staff?

Illinois Computing Educators is currently undergoing a strategic rebrand. Over the past year, we have researched and studied our mission, vision, and values as an organization. This fall we shared our updated mission and vision:

  • ICE’s Mission: To inspire, connect and provide the  educational community with opportunities  that transform teaching and learning through technology
  • ICE’s Vision: Connected and empowered educators inspire today’s learners to become tomorrow’s leaders

In February, at our annual conference, we will unveil the next step in our strategic rebranding, with our new organizational name. We are excited to embrace our strong past while looking to the future and continuing to make an impact for educators, students and continuing to grow our partnerships with organizations such as NAMLE.

The views and opinions expressed in the Organizational Spotlight blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NAMLE or its members. The purpose of the Organizational Spotlight blog is to highlight our Organizational Partners and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.