ITEM Conference recap

The Information and Technology Educators of Minnesota (ITEM) Fall Conference was held in Minneapolis, October 13 – 15, 2016. “The theme this year is Innovate-Integrate-Motivate, and we’d like to help our attendees connect and collaborate with our exhibitors to create a partnership that will benefit students and enhance learning in our schools.”

This was a fun conference, because there were many interesting learning opportunities available, and also many opportunities for participants to network and spend time together. The full schedule is available here; look through it to see the complete range of possibilities and programs, and to identify some of the people who are doing things similar to the things you like in the profession!

Check out those winners!

There were many great things happening in this conference, but for me one of the most fun was lunch on Friday – where two CMLE people won awards!! See the prior post on the great awards for Angie Kalthoff and Maria Burnham. It was great to see the audience so excited about these awards, along with awards for other library people across the state!!

At this lunch event, there was a very fun Author Panel! As people who work with books (as well as other good tools!), it was really neat to hear from so many local authors. Kim Haugo (@haugok) was the host, keeping the audience’s attention with the great questions for each author, and giving everyone a chance to talk for a few minutes about their books!

There were also great keynotes delivered. Thursday evening started off in style with dinner and presentations. “This event is a chance to kick off the conference with a dinner honoring those leaders who have served the organization, followed by author Jen Bryant.” Check out her website and her Goodreads pages – lots of great stuff there!!

Over breakfast on Friday morning, Shannon Miller (@shannonmmiller) talked about helping kids to reach their potentials. “Shannon…has empowered her students and others to embrace and talk about the things that are important to them.  In this presentation, you will hear the voice of young people as Shannon shares stories of choice, experiences, access, space, collaboration, creativity, and so much more.” During Saturday breakfast, the keynote presentation was given by Jen Hegna (@jenhegna). “What does 100% engagement look like? How do educators empower their students to own their learning? In this keynote, Jen will share examples of powerful instructional design practices (straight from the classroom) that inspire students, of all academic abilities, to go deep with “their” learning.”

Learn stuff -and write about it!

In between these anchors for networking and connection, were all kinds of topics covered by presenters. GIS, podcasting, ethics, grants, videos, teacher development, innovation in the library, and looking to the future – it was a jam-packed conference!!

These were lovely desks!

Even the vendors at this conference were fun! There were all kinds of people there, helping to support the mission of K-12 libraries and their staff. It is always great when vendors know about library issues in your area -and these people did; and it is good to chat with them about their specialty. (And the Brody guy gave me Halloween candy at a tired part of the afternoon – so I was happy!)

If these topics sound interesting to you (and they were!), consider attending a future ITEM conference! And apply to CMLE for a small scholarship amount, to help defray costs.

Thank you to everyone I met and talked with at this conference! It was really great to get to know more library people from CMLE, and from around the state!! One of the best things about going to any kind of library conference is the way everyone reaches out to share ideas, and to talk about great things happening where they are!