Teachers become the students at Virginia Tech biotechnology conference

By Erin Brookshier - Virginia Today Reporter

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Virginia educators are taking on a new role this summer, becoming the students as part of an education conference at Virginia Tech. 

The 2018 Biotechnology Educators Conference is focused on high school and community college level science teachers in an effort to update them on the latest technology. 

Many of these teachers have spent time at the biocomplexity institute before, but in the role of an educator, helping their students who are attending camp at Virginia Tech. Now, teachers at the three-day conference will become the students themselves, listening to guest speakers and taking part in interactive workshops that will update them on the new applications in medicine, infectious disease, and agriculture technology. 

“We’re looking at updating them on the current science that’s going on. That’s we found the teachers have been really excited about,” said Kristy Collins, the director of education at the VT Biotechnology Institute. “They’re able to ask questions back, able to learn and they’re able to interact.”

For many of the teachers to attend it’s been decades or more since they graduated from high school or college themselves, so this conference works as a reminder on some of the topics they may have forgotten about. It's also a way to learn more about newly developed technology.

More than 100 teachers throughout the state are expected to attend the conference, which is hosted by the Fralin Life Science Institute and the Biotechnology Institute of Virginia Tech. There will be hands-on workshops hosted by scientific experts as well as discussions posted by some of the nation’s top scientists.

Organizer say what makes this event different is what the teachers attending the conference are learning, as they’re spending their time focused on the material itself. 

“What they’re primarily taught in their teaching classes is how to teach,” says Collins. “A lot of them have certain classes they would’ve taken and biology or math, so it’s a really great opportunity to come back and learn some of these things that they have forgotten and a lot of this is cutting-edge technology.”

Registration is underway right now and is open to all high school and community college level educators in the state. For more information on how to sign up, click here.
 

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