TIES Conference Summary: A CMLE Scholarship

Jenny McNewThe following post was submitted by CMLE scholarship recipient Jeanette McNew, Talahi Media Specialist, St. Cloud School District.

I would like to thank CMLE for the scholarship to attend the TIES 2015 Conference:  Breaking Through: Transforming Pedagogy with Technology!

In 1990, I attended my first TIES conference and was inspired by Roger Wagner’s HyperStudio. Things have really changed since then, but once again I was thrilled to be able to attend. As a Media Specialist in a school library working to integrate a MakerSpace, I was eager to listen to Sylvia Martinez author of Invent to Learn. Although she made many good points about authentic learning in the area of STEM, George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset, stole the show. He is a gifted speaker and truly inspired us to think about being a kid in our classroom while making us laugh and cry all in the same moment. Listening to his keynote really motivated me to improve on what I do for myself and my students each and every day.

What I love about TIES in the recent years is it is no longer about the newest and coolest technology, but has embraced the application of those technologies in real-time situations. Many times during the two days I would hear the comment, “My brain is full!” There is something for everyone and rarely do you find someone there who is not inspired by something they heard in a session or while collaborating with a new connection that was made. Do not misunderstand me – I was one of those in the “playground” this year checking out the Lego robotics, Swivl, and the Bee-bots.

Several sessions I attended really made me think about branding. Who are we allowing to brand our school and why do we let them control what is being said about us? How can we make social media work for us in branding our school and teaching digital citizenship? With that comes staff development. How do we best meet our teachers’ needs for staff development in a differentiated manner? There were several really good sessions with some great ideas to implement meeting these needs of students and staff.

Once again, thank you CMLE for the opportunity to attend this amazing conference.