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Coppin honored at White House as ‘Champion of Change’

Mark Coppin

Mark Coppin, director of assistive technology at the Anne Carlsen Center in Jamestown, was one of 10 educators Thursday who spoke at a White House conference on how using technology can enhance learning for students in and outside of the classroom.

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The White House honored the 10 educators as part of its “Champions of Change” program, the White House said. Coppin has presented at state, regional, national and international conferences on technology, teaching, special education, assistive technology, mobile devices in education and autism.

In September Coppin spoke at a United Nations conference about how special-needs students can use adaptive technology to express themselves through art. In a previous Sun article Coppin said he came up with the idea 14 years ago for a “technocamp,” where special-needs students could learn to use adaptive technology with computers and other mobile electronic devices to be more involved with their education.

Since then Coppin has held technocamps around the country and the world.

At the White House Thursday Coppin said he is excited about how mobile devices like tablet computers will help special-needs students in school and beyond.

“When you look at the increasing number of students with autism, we need to consider how we are preparing them to transition from school into the workplace. These devices (tablet computers) are helping with that,” he said.

Coppin said he is also seeing students better use technology to enhance how they learn in school and beyond.

“When I see a student access the curriculum (using technology) and doing authentic school work, that is wonderful,” he said.

In a prepared statement, President Barack Obama said the 10 educators being honored at the White House Thursday were working on one of the country’s top priorities.

“ … that’s preparing our kids and our workers for the competition that they’re going to face in a 21st century global economy,” he said.

Obama said the work that the educators are doing shows the need for bringing all schools and libraries in the country into the 21st century by making sure those institutions have high-speed Internet. He talked about a five-year initiative he launched earlier this year call ConnectED. The goal is bring high-speed Internet to 99 percent of American students.

“I’m committed to getting it done, because this is not just about wiring schools, it’s about changing students’ lives,” he said.

The “Champions of Change” presentation was streamed live over the Internet at www.whitehouse. gov/live Thursday afternoon.

Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at

Chris Olson

Hometown: Traverse City, MI College: Northwestern Michigan College and Michigan State University

(701) 952-8454