The following two reports were submitted by the first two recipients of our new CMLE scholarship program.
Attending the TIES conference, which is held in Minneapolis every year, is a goal that every media specialist should have. This technology conference offers wonderful keynote speakers who provide much food for thought about the potential impact of technology in the classroom and how education needs to change to best meet the needs of employers, individuals, and society in the 21st Century. In addition to these speakers this year there were over 125 general sessions that covered topics as diverse as the ipod Touch in the Classroom and the legal ramifications of cyberbullying for schools. There are sessions for all levels of technology expertise and interest. While some sessions are specifically applicable to particular curricular areas or specific applications like SMART technology or Moodle, Jing and Podcasting, others are more general in their focus like 21st Century Learning, social networks and staff development. Between these sessions, you can enjoy visits to the Exhibit Hall where you have an opportunity to view, play with and discuss some of the latest technology tools that are being used in classrooms.
While I enjoy every aspect of the conference, I always am on the lookout to find applications, tools, or practices that will enhance the teaching and learning in our school. I think that is why a media specialist is the ideal candidate for this conference since our job spans all of the curriculums and encompasses all of the teachers and students in our buildings. The sessions that I felt gave me ideas for immediate use in our school were the ones on Google tools (lots of free stuff that provide so much functionality for the average teacher and classroom), the free Minnesota Online Resources (a wealth of reference material at our fingertips) and the WEB 2.0 tools (lots of fun and useful applications to turn up the interest in the classroom).
If you attend this conference and don’t come away with new ideas, renewed enthusiasm, a bagful of free goodies and the absolute conviction that technology enhances and changes education, then you weren’t paying attention. Don’t miss this opportunity next year.
Cheryl Whitcomb, Media Specialist, Becker Middle School
The TIES Conference, held at the Minneapolis Hyatt Hotel, was a great conference to attend. I learned a great deal about web 2.0 tools. Certain sites that I found easy to implement are Blabberize, Animoto, Voicethread, and Glogster. I found that session to be very informative.
I also found the 1:1 discussion panel very interesting. I listened to the challenges that arose when implementing a 1:1 program in a school. There were many different things to take into account when implementing a 1:1 program that need to be thought out beforehand. This panel was from some of the bigger schools in the state like Stillwater, Hopkins, and Edina.
Some of the best information I found was through presentations by vendors. I found new technology and low cost technology that I can easily implement in my school. I found a product through LANSchool that allows a teacher to control the lab of computers to help instruction. I also found new wireless slate products and software that we already have access to in our school. All of these tools will assist myself and my staff in teaching.
I found some new and exciting things at the TIES Conference. It is a very worthwhile conference and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in implementing technology in their school.
Mark Krueger, North Jr. High School, St. Cloud, MN