TIES Conference Report: Tom Kuhn

This is a guest post from Tom Kuhn, Instructional Technology Specialist/Library Media Specialist at Sartell High School. Need a scholarship to attend a conference or participate in Professional Development? Apply today! 

Attending conferences is an effective method of learning new information, validating current practices, and connecting with other educators. The TIES conference delivered on all fronts this year for me.

In the session “Brick and Mortar Libraries in the Digital Age” by Doug Johnson, he said that libraries used to be where a patron would go to “get stuff.” Now he agrees with Joyce Valenza who said that we need to stop thinking of libraries as grocery stores where one goes to gather supplies but rather as kitchens where one goes to create.

In other sessions the message was more cerebral. The presenters challenged me to think differently about how to present lessons or create projects that were authentic for students so they were working on creating something for an authentic audience rather than just for a grade. One presenter’s question really stuck with me and that was, “Would you want to be a learner in your own classroom?” They suggested activities where students had to collaborate using one device to encourage human interaction.

Other sessions presented more practical options, such as Ken Shelton’s information/media literacy and Google search techniques. I learned about refining searches using site and file type searches among other things. I also learned about a million chrome sites, add-ons, apps, and extensions in one session and digital citizenship/cyber safety options in another. Yet another excellent session provided strategies and tools for teaching how to fight fake news. One of my favorite sessions explored Google’s Art and Culture project. Impressive.

Thank you for supporting all of us that want to attend conferences continuing our lifelong learning passions.

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