Tag Archives: CMLE Scholarship

Information Literacy Programming with SCRATCH and SMILE: A CMLE Scholarship

The following report was submitted by a recipient of our new CMLE scholarship program.

Submitted By: Betsy Miller

For generations our family has loved visiting the North Shore.  When I received an email announcing that MINITEX was sponsoring a free workshop in Grand Marais this past August, I decided to attend.  The combination of Lake Superior, learning something new and FREE was definitely a winner.

 The workshop was Information Literacy Programming with SCRATCH and SMILE presented by Jennifer Nelson of the Hennepin County Library and Keith Braafladt of the Science Museum of Minnesota at the Cook County High School Media Center.  They gave us a great deal of information as we experienced a hands-on workshop of practical Web sites I will continue to use.

SCRATCH is new to me but has been around for awhile both in time and geographically as it is used all over the world. It is a programming language used to create interactive stories, games and animations. The home page is found at http://scratch.mit.edu/ giving over a million projects that others have created.  This is also the page where the free download is available for you to begin your own Scratch projects. There are several online tutorials giving you step by step directions to get started or to challenge you once you get going.  As a teacher I find Scratch Ed to be very helpful, http://scratched.media.mit.edu/,  giving resources and ideas for using Scratch in the classroom.

SMILE (Science and Math Informal Learning Educators) was also part of the workshop. This is a great online clearinghouse for math and science activities. The site, http://howtosmile.org/,  partners with the Lawrence Hall of Science, Exploratorium, New York Hall of Science, Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Children’s Museum of Houston to bring activities of all kinds to kids of all ages. 

ISTE Conference Recap: A CMLE Scholarship

The following report was submitted by a recipient of our new CMLE scholarship program.

Submitted By: Laurie Conzemius

I attended the ISTE 2010 conference in Denver Colorado, from June 27 – 30 at the Colorado Conference Center. To say that the ISTE conference is big would be an understatement. Over 14000 attendees experienced this exciting event, which boasted over 500 vendors in the exhibit hall, over 600 presenters, representation from more than 20 countries and literally hundreds of sessions and activities to choose from.

The convention, titled Exploring Excellence, was organized around four themes:

  • School improvement
  • Technology Infrastructure
  • Professional Learning
  • Digital-Age Teaching and Learning
  • Virtual School/e-Learning

There are multitudes of ways to interact and participate that span almost 24 hours each day! Students and teachers from around the world are sharing at poster sessions, educational technology experts offer lecture, panel and spotlight sessions, model lesson sessions are offered, and the convention attendees enjoy a large number of “café’s” and “playgrounds” based on topics of interest. It is overwhelming – and frustrating, because there is so much to do and just not enough time to do it all!

 When I attend a national conference I find it helpful to consider my goals and objectives prior to even leaving home. ISTE provides a great online tool for searching the catalog and selecting possible sessions to attend and this is extremely beneficial. I wanted to attend sessions of best practice for media specialists. I was hoping to find sessions that dealt with leadership and school change that would be helpful in my own school. I always love the Web 2.0 tools and I wanted to catch some new tips and tricks for using Google Docs. I was hoping to do some networking, both with members of our special interest group, SIGMS, but also with some school districts around the country who might be interested in collaborating on some projects. In addition, I was hoping to briefly visit the exhibit hall and see the new options with interactive whiteboards and projectors.

 On the ride from the airport to the hotel the networking had already begun! I got one of the best tips of the conference there – when a media specialist from Virginia told me their kindergarten and first grade classroom whiteboards are mounted on adjustable mounts so they can be pulled down to “kid-level”. On Saturday, the day before the conference started, I attended an ISTE Leadership training day. We focused on leadership within our own special interest group and then broadened to leadership in our district and state. I got some great tips there.

 Sunday kicked off the official start to the conference with the opening keynote. From there the conference took off quickly. I spent much of Monday working in the 21st Century Media Center Playground, sharing ideas with media specialists from around the world. I was also able to attend a terrific session on leadership in schools by Cheryl Lemke from the Metiri Group.

 Session speakers from the next few days included Will Richardson, Joyce Valenza, Tammy Worcester, Doug Johnson, Alan November, Kathy Schrock, David Thornburg and David Warlick. I also listened to many presenters without big names, but with great ideas and suggestions. I was also able to make it into the exhibit area and not only learn about interactive whiteboards, but also make some other connections with vendors.

 ISTE provides an archive of recorded sessions through ISTEVision, so attendees are able to go online after the conference and view sessions they missed. There is a conference wiki where most of the presenters post not only their PowerPoint slides, but also links to their WebPages and a large number of additional resources. The conference will not end for me for quite a few weeks as I sort through these amazing materials.

 Although there are many more thoughts and ideas to share, there are a few take-aways that I have already determined I will use.

  • For our teachers in Sartell, who will be moving from Microsoft products to Google Apps this year, I have picked up a great resource of training and support materials.
  • For leadership among my ISD 748 media and tech team I plan to share a great session online that included a huge number of web 2.0 tools and great suggestions for using them with students. I thought I would invite them over for an informal gathering where we can actually watch the session together and further discuss the use of these tools.
  • For my own teaching I am now armed with a great resource of digital storytelling ideas and plans. I’m excited to incorporate these into my own teaching and into our school curriculum.

 I know that as I reflect on the conference over the next several weeks there will be a number of other invaluable lessons I will apply as well.

 As we left a particularly great session on Tuesday, the “Smackdown” for library media specialists, David Loertcher left us all with this great action plan for our new learning, and I believe it is important in my own staff development, in the SCSU classes I teach, and in my day-to-day work with students. He asked us to complete the sentence: “Today I learned _______” but to extend that with the question: “So what?” A web 2.0 tool, fun new technology gizmo or slick piece of software is only valuable if we use it to increase student achievement and success.

 Thank you to CMLE for the scholarship, which helped allow me to attend ISTE 2010. ISTE 2011 will be held at the end of June in Philadelphia. I would love to bring a large cohort from Minnesota. Will you join me?

31st Annual Children’s Workshop: A CMLE Scholarship

The following report was submitted by a recipient of our new CMLE scholarship program.

Submitted by: Mary Berning

The 31st Annual Children’s Literature Workshop was help on Monday, June 21st and Tuesday, June 22, 2010 in St. Cloud, MN.  It was sponsored by the Center for Information Media at St. Cloud State University. 

 On Monday morning Will Hobbs, author of 17 adventure novels for upper elementary, middle school and YA readers, shared where he gets the ideas for his books.  Much research goes into each of his books.  By visiting his website (willhobbsauthor.com) and clicking on the book covers, you can see photos and also learn about where Will gets his ideas.  In the afternoon, Susan Carr Brown, a librarian at the Minneapolis Public Library shared what she feels are the best of children’s books for 2009 – 2010.  Her list included Will Hobbs’s Go Big or Go Home and Derek Anderson’s Hot Rod Hamster

 On Tuesday morning, participants attended three out of four of the small group sessions.  Small group sessions included Secrets and Skullduggery:  Mysteries and More for Tween Readers, Motivating Readers through Technology, Hands-on Bookmaking and Award-Winning Children’s Books of 2009-10.  Kelly Killorn, a 6th grade reading teacher for Bloomington Schools presented Motivating Readers through Technology. She shared ideas for using 21st century technologies like wikis, blogs, graphic posters, social networks, voicethread, and videos to motivate readers.  To learn more about how she uses these technologies visit her wikispace (kidlittechnology.wikispaces.com).  In the afternoon, Derek Anderson, illustrator of eight books including the Little Quack series and author/illustrator of six of his own titles, shared photos and drawings from his childhood and young adult years that showed how he became the illustrator he is today.  Curtis Hed, a magician, ended the workshop with his Magic of Reading show; his show shared how reading and using the library has played an important part in his life,and how it can do the same for others.

Report for the DrupalCon Conference: A CMLE Scholarship

The following report was submitted by a recipient of our new CMLE scholarship program.

Submitted by Alex Jarvis

 With the generous support of the CMLE, I was able to attend the DrupalCon conference in San Francisco from April 17-22. Drupal is a free, open source content management system and framework that allows for the rapid development of websites and web services. The conference was an excellent opportunity that will have a direct impact on my work on Great Riverʼs web presence. The sessions were highly informative, giving me insights into new technologies Great River should consider adopting (such as Solr search), as well as optimizations and best practices for the online services we already provide. It also gave me the opportunity to meet with other libraries from across the country and talk with them about innovative ways of implement Drupal-based library products and services. These invaluable interactions have opened up exciting collaboration opportunities; some of the libraries I talked to have worked more extensively with Drupal than Great River has to date, and can help us improve our offerings, while others are still evaluating their options and would like to talk to us about our experience migrating a legacy site.

 Attendance at the conference will also help further Great Riverʼs goal of eventually hosting a Central Minnesota Drupal conference for libraries. At DrupalCon I spoke to several conference organizers who were kind enough to share their invaluable insights and suggestions for organizing a successful Drupal-oriented gathering.

 Overall the conference was a fantastic learning and networking experience, and I would like to thank the CMLE for sponsoring my attendance. I would also recommend Drupal to any library that is considering revamping their online presence. More information about Drupal can be found at www.drupal.org.

Report about Real Learning Workshop: A CMLE Scholarship

The following report was submitted by a recipient of our new CMLE scholarship program.

Real Learning for the Real World

Submitted by Laura Mackenthun

What does it mean to be a “librarian” in the 21st century?  How do we explain our positions and responsibilities to our administrators, teachers, public?  How do we share/collaborate with other media specialists?  How do we learn, keep up with, integrate all of the new information that is available?

At the Real Learning for the Real World workshop held in Alexandria on January 25, Buffy Hamilton, a practicing school media specialist from Canton, Georgia  suggested multiple technologies that may address these questions: podcasts, rssfeed aggregators, twitter, social bookmarking, social networks, wikis, blogs, flickr, ning, video/webstreaming—-most are free or minor cost.

One of her strongest suggestions for media specialists is that we create a Personal Learning Network—using Google Reader/iGoogle–to collect resources to from which we can find information, resources, and inspiration from the many people who share their “worlds” online.    With the Google Reader or another rss reader, one can find multiple perspectives from many diverse voices for anytime, anywhere learning.  When others update, among other things, their blogs, web pages, or wikis, the Google Reader will aggregate all of that information into one easy to read location—taking out the time it takes to go out and check for newly added information.

Buffy’s web site provides a vast array of information on ways to get started building ones own Personal Learning Network and also ways to consider integrating Personal Learning Networks for students.  http://theunquietlibrary.libguides.com/pln

Her web site also lists many options for creating Research Pathfinders for use with students/classes.  These allow a variety of types of online information to be displayed on one page.  Some of the online resources presented to use as Information Portals were Pageflakes, Google sites, and netvibes. Examples and instructions for each of these are also available at Buffy’s web site.