Amanda TIES Conference Summary: A CMLE Scholarship

Amanda Holstrom
Sartell Middle School
Instructional Technology Specialist

At TIES this year I was exposed to many great things and returned with more ideas than I can count. The two things that come to mind as great takeaways are: the importance of giving children choice and makers spaces are not just for technology gadgets. Buddy Berry talked about surprise and delight with education including giving children the choice to find their own educational path. This thinking amplifies the needs for free learning and exploration in schools. The session on Makers Spaces opened my eyes to the importance of incorporating non-tech items into the Learning Lab. This need was highlighted over and over again throughout the presentation. Makers Spaces are about making, not just working with electronics.

In our Learning Lab this year we have done many robotics and coding items that take some level of patience and background knowledge. I plan to incorporate crocheting into our Learning Lab and link it with coding to provide that needed background knowledge. Reading a crochet patterns is a “code” that needs to be followed in order to reach a desired end. I feel that bringing that into out Learning Lab will teach and highlight a skill many do not have as well as provide background knowledge for those not experienced with coding. By bridging this gap in our lab I hope to reach more diverse students with the desire to learn hands on and gravitate towards our space. I am very excited to see what other ideas we come up with to add to our space that are non-tech. I think the students will be excited to build and take things home.