TIES 2014: A CMLE Scholarship

TIES2014_web_logo_stackedThe following post was submitted by CMLE scholarship recipient Brad Scherer, Instructional Technology Specialist at Sartell Middle School.

“Because of the CMLE Scholarship, I was able to get another day and night at the 2014 TIES conference. This conference is always one of the premiere educational technology conferences in the Midwest. The keynote speakers, sessions, networking, and ideas are never in short supply. I always leave the conference more enlightened than when I arrived and this year was no different.

I have three major takeaways from the conference. The first is that I need to try and utilize our Learning Management System (LMS), Schoology, more. The “Student Completion” feature that allows students to progress through content at their own pace could be a game-changer. I was really inspired by a session I attended by Beth Hamilton a math teachers from Farmington Public Schools. Letting students work through material at their own pace as they learn it and not at the pace the teachers sets, seems to make so much sense. Schoology’s Student Completion makes this so much easier for teachers.

My second takeaway is that I really need to explore using Minecraft in the classroom. It is a platform that my students are already using and it has incredible potential for education. My plan is to explore the Minecraft Pocket Edition for our iPads this year and see if I can pilot using it in a few classrooms next year. I would like help teacher created content for specific curriculum and then for a unit or two we could have the students create content as a final assessment.

My third and final takeaway is how we need to continue to work on our MakerSpace (we call it our Learning Lab) at SMS. The Maker Movement was all over the TIES conference and I it got me motivated to continue to explore what is possible. I plan to invest in the book “Invent to Learn” a must read for people who want to create Maker Spaces. Thanks again for supporting my trip to TIES!”