All the BER news for you!

BER Gears Up For National Institutes This Summer

BER has been working hard this winter to prepare for the number of National Institutes that will be held across the U.S. this summer. All departments have been busy, working with instructors to develop content and handbooks, designing brochures, booking hotels, and even registering the first participants!

Although BER sponsors thousands of seminars each year, presenting programs in new formats can bring added challenges to departments as they work to change existing structures and build new ones for the unique needs of these programs. One of the most visible changes for these programs is the new brochure design. Matt Tolman, Graphic Design and Production Assistant Manager, was responsible for the new design of the printed brochures and web pages. “We had a short timeline to create totally new formats for the new National Institutes,” he says, “but we all worked hard and created something that turned out really great. I think these brochures will help our audience easily recognize that these programs are new and much different than the one-day seminars and even regional conferences.”

The new institute formats this summer include both a new, four-day Train-the-Trainer Guided Math Institute, taking place in Chicago in July, as well as both regional and national institutes. A change from previous programs that have been offered, select national institutes will also give educators a chance to attend a one-day pre-institute. The pre-institute will give them a broad overview of the subject matter, while the institute will delve further into specific topic areas.

More information on these institutes is available on our website at

Spotlight on BER Technology Presenter Joanne Troutner

Joanne Troutner has never been afraid to get out and try new things. She has always looked to the forward edge of technology and worked to incorporate the newest tools and ideas into her program.

Joanne started exploring technology in college when she took a class titled, “Computer Science for Humanities Majors.” In the class, she learned multiple programming languages and to “always keep those punch cards tightly together with a rubber band!”

After graduating, Joanne became a library media specialist and librarian. She found herself working in the library of the junior high at Minot Airforce Base, where they had an Apple II computer. She remembers that she and her colleagues were “enchanted as we were able to watch the rings of Saturn paint onto the screen, courtesy of the Air Force feed from NASA. I was hooked! This was a teaching tool I needed to promote!”

Over the years, Joanne became an expert on many different forms of technology and saw how it could change students learning. She sees that most often when educators struggle with technology, it is because “they can’t know all the answers and have to improvise when the technology doesn’t work. Overcoming this isn’t easy. The first step is to just take a deep breath and ask for help. Students are a great resource for this. Technology allows you to become a collaborative learner and flip your classroom. Your students will always know something you don’t about the techy part of a device. The second step is to always have a non-technology plan in your toolkit of options.”

For Joanne, the greatest part of teaching educators about technology is “the fact that technology is always changing, and hence we are always learning. I love to share the ideas and tips I gather as well as see what fellow educators are doing with these tech tools. For me, a successful presentation is one where I feel I’ve connected with the audience and when my fellow educators feel comfortable sharing resources and ideas with the group and with me.”

For the future, Joanne hopes to see technology move toward a 1:1 ratio. She sees mobile devices providing the opportunity for students to learn 24/7, in the real world and in meaningful ways for them.

When not playing with tech gadgets and sharing her favorite apps and tools (currently, Joanne’s favorite app is the iPad® app Sock Puppets), she enjoys watching her Purdue Boilermakers - even if they don’t win. She also tries to get to Chicago fairly regularly to visit her favorite restaurant, Roy’s, and take in the live theater.

New Seminars Available in MP3 Format

We are proud to announce that we have three seminars now available for purchase and immediate download on our website,

Both of this year’s annual books programs, What’s New in Children’s Literature and How to Use it in Your Program: 2013, by Dr. Peggy Sharp and What’s New in Young Adult Literature and How to Use it in Your Program: 2013, by Debby Hipes, are being offered in both CD and downloadable formats. These programs highlight the best books published in the last year and offer educators innovative suggestions on how to use them in their own programs.

Also being offered in downloadable format is Motivating the Unmotivated: Practical Strategies for Teaching the Hard-to-Reach Student, by Chick Moorman. Chick offers listeners a wide variety of proven strategies to prevent power struggles, increase self-motivation and help students build positive and productive relationships.

Now Being Sponsored by BER

  • Best iPad Apps to Support Content Instruction (Grades 6-12), by Patsy Lanclos

  • The Most Effective Strategies to Help Your Struggling Readers Meet the COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS FOR READING (Grades K-5), by Denise Gudwin

  • Six Trait Writing Beyond the Basics: Practical Strategies to Take the Six Traits and Mini-Lessons to a NEW Level (Grades K-2), by Angela Cameron

  • Increase Your At-Risk Students’ Achievement with Practical, Classroom-Proven ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT Strategies (Grades K-5), by Kathleen Kryza

  • Powerful, Practical Strategies for Reaching “I DON’T CARE!” and UNDERPERFORMING STUDENTS to Increase Their School Success (Grades 3-12), by Maryann Brittingham

  • Practical Strategies for Helping Your KINDERGARTNERS Meet the New COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS, by Darla Wood-Walters

  • GUIDED MATH Beyond the Basics: Practical Strategies to Take Your Guided Math Instruction to a More Advanced Level (Grades K-2), by Amy Stark

  • THE HIGHLY ENGAGED CLASSROOM: Practical Strategies to Boost Student Achievement and Motivation Through Active Participation (Grades K-6), by Susan Hentz

  • Efficient and Effective Therapy Techniques for Articulation Errors: A Systematic Approach to Frontal Lisp, Lateral Lisp and Distorted R and S Remediation, by Stephen Sacks