Tag Archives: CMLE Scholarship

TIES Report: Jenny McNew

This is a guest post from Jenny McNew, Media Specialist at Talahi Community School. Need a scholarship to attend a conference or participate in Professional Development? Apply today! 

I would like to thank CMLE for the scholarship to attend the TIES 2017 Conference: What’s Your Story! Both Keynote speakers Ken Shelton and Jennie Magiera delivered great keynotes on the how and why of sharing your voice.

In the past I have attended many TIES conferences and each year it gets better. As a Media Specialist in a working school library of very diverse learners this year’s title of “What’s your Story” really spoke to me. We have so many staff and students that really need the opportunity to share their voice. We need to believe that each person has an important voice, and we need to be a listening ear in order to create a community where everyone is welcome, seen, and heard. It really made me think of all the opportunities I can help provide so those I come in contact with have the knowledge and technology to share their all important voice while being mindful of the implications of sharing that voice on a digital platform. Ken Shelton referred to it as a digital tattoo which is so true.

What I love about TIES is it isn’t just about the newest and coolest technologies but it has embraced the application of those technologies in learning situations. I attended several sessions where again Leslie Fisher saved the day by showing me some cool new tools that will make my everyday job easier, or the presentation by Shelly Sanchez which gave me insight on putting together digital citizenship activities.  

This year I presented in the “coding playground” giving me the opportunity to share some of our story using Blue and Bee Bots, Lego robotics, and Edison robots. It was evident that even though I am not sure we are doing anything “exceptional” to someone else it is worthy and cool, once again proving that we all have a story to tell.

Thank you CMLE for providing the opportunity to attend this amazing conference. The ability to attend professional development is priceless!

TIES Report: Amy Moe

This is a guest post from Amy Moe, Instructional Technology Specialist at Pine Meadow Elementary School. Need a scholarship to attend a conference or participate in Professional Development? Apply today! 

I was able to attend the TIES conference with support from CMLE. This was beneficial for me in my first year as an instructional technology specialist.  The sessions available covered a wide variety of programs, implementation and tools. It was valuable to see that some are currently being used in my home district while giving the opportunity to explore new ideas as well.

“What’s My Story” was the theme of the conference.  Two keynote speakers focused on the power of sharing your vision and voice with the world.  Social media is one way this can happen.  I attended sessions on a variety of topics during the two-day conference including Makerspace, Google applications, library skills and apps to use with green screen (DoInk and Touchcast).  

I am most excited to share Touchcast with my staff.  This is an application that allows students to create a video “telling their story”.  Green screen capabilities can assist students in changing the setting of their story.  Other options can be included such as maps, lists, photos, polls and much, much more.  Teacher tech team members were excited to explore the capabilities of Touchcast and will help introduce to the entire staff in January.  I can already envision projects at each grade level happening-from facts about Minnesota to insect life cycles to book reviews.

It was also clear that collaboration with teachers in the areas of art, music, and physical education are possible.  I am excited to explore opportunities to integrate technology into these areas. The Winter Olympics is world-wide event that could provide just that.  I am also thinking of ways to collaborate with special activities for art appreciation, music in our schools month, and coding.  

TIES Report: Amanda Holstrom

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

Ties 2017 was a very intense and exciting conference. The sheer amount of people and the ideas that were being shared was enough to excite all learners. The focus of the keynote speakers was “What’s Your Story?” and the message was to focus on sharing ideas around the world and letting students share their learning with an authentic audience.  Jeanie Magiera, one of the Keynote speakers, did a wonderful job of explaining the impact of storytelling and how using technology to share her ideas and learning has helped her personally and professionally. This idea that sharing is encouraged rather than trying to keep thoughts and ideas inside was very motivating and gave me the reassurance that our new independent reading curriculum is beneficial to students.

In regard to reading/independent reading practices a shift was made for the 2017-2018 school year. Whereas past practice had teachers assign a given amount of AR points for students to earn by reading and taking a test of recall, after discussion on best practices in reading and reflection on the Common Core Standards a change was made to honor choice independent reading time and conferring practices into daily lessons. This overhaul on student reading and subsequent shift of the focus from points and books to sharing stories has made a huge impact. Students are required to read but they choose the novel as well as meet with the teacher to discuss their reading and learning that is taking place. Students are also encouraged to share their reading with others. This new shift in the reading curriculum has shown growth in student reading and natural conversations centered on reading are taking place.

Another speaker that I felt will help me in the classroom was Dave Burgess. He offered two sessions: Teach Like A Pirate, which explained his book and how he approached education in his classroom and Teaching Outside The Box, that covered how to use creative ideas in your classroom to harness student learning potential. One of his ideas was to capture trends and use them in your classroom rather than trying to ban them from school.  His examples included using fidget spinners for probability math problems, science experiments with data collection, writing exercises that focus on poetry for spinning, and learning about trends and inventions in social studies. His main message was to look at learning with lenses of opportunity rather than rules and rote memorization.

TIES Report: Brad Scherer

This is a guest post from Brad Scherer, Instructional Technology Specialist at Sartell Middle School. Need a scholarship to attend a conference or participate in Professional Development? Apply today! 

The theme of TIES this year was “Tell Your Story” and it really resonated with me. I think as educators we let others tell our story too often. The stories they tell are at best incomplete storylines and at worst, untrue versions of a story we live everyday. My favorite takeaway from the conference was seeing Dave Burgess (author of Teach Like a Pirate) present and his message of how we need to bring passion and lots of various hooks to draw our students into learning, which will make school something special for our learners! This session completely motivated me to come to school with the intention of making the learning experience for my students something extraordinary.

As a result of attending TIES, I know two immediate takeaways that I will use in our Makerspace (The HUB), our library, and school. The first is getting started using MinecraftEDU. We plan to implement this in a language arts classroom very soon and then see how else we can leverage it to improve student learning. The second takeaway is helping our teachers, students, and district tell their stories better. I feel like this might be more important than we even know since our students are currently curating their lives using social media. I think if we as a staff and a district can lead by example for our students, it may help our students grow into better people, which is more important to me than mastering content and specific state standards!



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.