When 20-year-old junior Alyson Spagnoli was in elementary school, her classroom’s technology was an overhead projector with a loud fan and some desktop computers.

Today, it’s a different story, as iPads, SMART Boards, 3-D printers, and one-to-one computer initiatives become the norm—not the future. Yet Spagnoli, an elementary education major, will be well prepared to teach in a 21st century classroom thanks to Illinois State’s College of Education.

“We feel it’s important for our teacher ed candidates to enter the workforce with a pretty good idea of what it looks like to teach—not only effectively, but effectively with technology,” said Ken Fansler, M.M.E. ’96, Ph.D. ’05, assistant dean of technology and facilities for the College of Education.

Spagnoli has been a frequent visitor to Studio TEaCH, the college’s hub for educational technology and collaboration, located in 307 DeGarmo Hall. She also recently attended her first T21CON, or Teaching in the 21st Century Conference, an annual ed tech event hosted by the College of Education.

“I’m really excited as a pre-service teacher to get that opportunity to attend T21CON, and to have it right on campus, and to have the College of Education backing us up with it,” said Spagnoli.

Spagnoli is also president of the College Mentors for Kids student organization. She hopes to teach in grades 1 through 5.

Learn more about how the College of Education is using technology to train and inspire future educators like Alyson in the video above.

See more photos from the T21CON 2014 at the Bone Student Center.

Bob Tomaski can be reached at rdtomas@IllinoisState.edu. Ryan Denham can be reached at rmdenha@IllinoisState.edu.