Huntington Beach Union High School District Teams Up with UC Irvine and Instructure to 'De-Zombify' Education at Techoween Event

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., Oct. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Huntington Beach Union High School District's (HBUHSD) Techoween event on October 31 starting at 9 a.m. Pacific will feature insights on technology's role in education by Instructure and University of California, Irvine faculty teaching the massive open online course "Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC's The Walking Dead," on Instructure's Canvas Network.


Themed "Education De-Zombified," Instructure will explore the ways technology can expand the boundaries of learning through several interactive sessions, some of which will be led by students. To broaden the conversation, faculty from nine surrounding school districts, from Rio School District (Oxnard) to Riverside, will also be participating at Techoween, helping establish a culture of learning and sharing best practices throughout the area.

UC Irvine faculty will participate in the following panel discussion:

  • Bringing New Life into Education (9 a.m.)
    • David Theriault, Fountain Valley High School English Language Arts Teacher
    • Dr. Connie Mayhugh, HBUHSD Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction
    • Dr. Sarah Eichhorn, UC Irvine Instructor, Assistant Vice Chair for Undergraduate Studies in Mathematics
    • Dr. Joanne Christopherson, UC Irvine Instructor, Social Sciences
    • Melissa Loble, UC Irvine Associate Dean of Distance Learning and lead course designer of "The Walking Dead" MOOC
    • HBUHSD students

In addition to its work in higher education, Instructure has helped many K-12 school districts nationwide, including HBUHSD, create digital learning environments for students through its cloud-based Canvas learning platform. Canvas gives students access to learning beyond the classroom and provides instant communication channels between students and teachers. Through Canvas, teachers gain powerful, intuitive tools to provide feedback to students and to incorporate a wide variety of Web 2.0 tools in their classes.

Many instructors, including Chris Long, a physics teacher at Marina High School and educational technology coordinator for HBUHSD, are using Canvas as part of the blended learning/flipped classroom movement. These teaching methods shift from group teaching to personalized learning.

"Students need to have access to all their learning resources outside the classroom and increase their ownership of learning, and Canvas has proven particularly useful in designing an environment that cultivates engagement," said Long. "It is important to include students in our professional development now more than ever, because the role of a teacher has shifted toward modeling learning. We are excited to welcome Instructure and UC Irvine to Techoween, and look forward to a fun and engaging day of learning as we examine the best practices for keeping education fresh and up to date."

As part of its commitment to spur innovation from within the educational system, Instructure recently launched Canvas Grants, a program to award $100,000 in education grants for initiatives in K-12 and higher education.

"We are thrilled to help advance education at events like Techoween, which is further evidence of HBUHSD's dedication to stay on the cutting edge of K-12 technology," said Brian Whitmer, co-founder and chief learning officer at Instructure. "Educators will gain the innovative and practical tech tips they need to infuse life into their curriculum and transform learning, and students will have the chance to learn alongside them and collaborate to develop new avenues of learning."

Tens of thousands of people have already enrolled in "Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC's 'The Walking Dead." To enroll in the course, which is free and currently available to anyone in the world, visit

Techoween will take place from 8:30 a.m.3:15 p.m. at the HBUHSD office at 5832 Bolsa Ave., Huntington Beach. For more information, visit

About Instructure

Instructure is a technology company committed to improving education. We provide instructors and students with modern tools and resources that empower and simplify the learning experience. Instructure offers Canvas, the open, easy-to-use, cloud-native learning management system, as well as Canvas Network, an index of open, online courses by educators everywhere – from Ivy League institutions to community colleges.


Devin Knighton, Director of Public Relations at Instructure 
(801) 722-8187 | [email protected] 
Twitter: @devinknighton | 

Brad Plothow, Method Communications 
(801) 461-9777 | [email protected] 

SOURCE Instructure