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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Feb. 6, 2015

Northwest, Horace Mann to host Technology Night for families

By Erin Dillon, media relations assistant

Northwest Missouri State University computer science faculty will host Technology Night at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, at Horace Mann Laboratory School. The night is designed for pre-K through sixth grade students and their parents and is open to the public.

The event will feature a technology panel of four experts discussing the importance of technology and their experiences. Nate Blackford, vice president and chief operating officer at Northwest Medical Center in Albany, Mo., will discuss the importance of technology in business and health care; Yuvonise Thurmond, an IT supervisor for Kansas City Power & Light in Kansas City, Mo., will share her insights to technology careers; Lesley Martin, a business and computing teacher at Staley High School, will talk about the benefits of Project Lead The Way; and Shea Zion, a freshman interactive digital media and computer science major at Northwest, will discuss her experiences as a student.

Additionally, a supper will be served in the Horace Mann gymnasium at 5:30 p.m., and attendees may attend one of four workshops offered during the night.

Scribblers (Recommended for grades four through six)
While not quite as cute as Baymax from “Big Hero 6,” Scribbler robots do look somewhat cuddly, and they most definitely are fun to play with and program. Programming is easy: students take virtual blocks that provide fundamental abilities – to move in a straight line, rotate or speak – and snap them together to accomplish more complicated tasks. With just a few minutes of instruction, children will have their robot drawing all sorts of interesting designs, taking pictures, and, time permitting, solving a small obstacle course.  

Scratch (Recommended for grades two through four)
Scratch is a free programming language made available by the MIT Lifelong Kindergarten research lab. Scratch initially was designed for teaching younger students basic problem-solving and programming skills. Since its release, the use of Scratch has expanded. In this session, instructors will introduce students to Scratch and lead them through an example program to learn the basic commands and how to interact with the Scratch environment. 

ScratchJr. (Recommended for pre-K through second grade)
Students will learn basic programming concepts through an interactive application called ScratchJr., which enables young children to create their own interactive stories and games by snapping together graphical programming blocks to make characters move, jump, dance and sing. ScratchJr. is currently available as a free download for iPads.

Career technology panel
The panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities for students who are exposed to technology in the K-12 curriculum. 

Technology Night originated from discussions among Horace Mann Principal Sandy Seipel and faculty in Northwest’s Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, who are collaborating on the event.

“Hosting a Technology Night is a good way to strengthen the partnership with elementary students, Northwest undergraduate students, Horace Mann faculty, computer science & information systems faculty and the Horace Mann parents,” said Dr. Carol Spradling, associate professor of computer science and information systems. “Computer science faculty want to share the benefits of incorporating technology into the classroom at an early age. Because technology plays an important role in most careers and society, we want to demonstrate ways to integrate technology into the classroom and curriculum so that students, teachers and parents learn to view technology as a tool that will support learning.”

For more information about Technology Night, contact Spradling at or call Horace Mann Laboratory School at 660.562.1233.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468