Staff members from Inver Grove Heights school district shared how they have had a district wide TIES type conference that is open to the parents and community. The staff set it up, but the sessions are presented by students. Elementary students came to show us what they presented earlier this year. The session they had was about educational apps, but other sessions offered were about many other topics such as creating video or using different devices. This could be done on a much smaller scale and is a great way for students to show their learning and for the parents and/or community to see what is happening in the school. One of the students explained that she was nervouscited, but that once she starts presenting, it gets better.
Another great session was presented by Suzy Boss. She spoke about innovation. She gave us a phrase for inspiring innovation: "I want to be the one who..." and "If not me, who?"She explained that innovation comes more quickly with others working together so another question is "Who will join me?" She said we can encourage students to innovate by remixing, looking at scale and embracing optimism. She also shared this quote, "Many of us have little idea of our own change-making potential." David Bornstein
I attended a session on using Twitter in the classroom. The presenter, Tricia @CarlsonTricia, is a kindergarten teacher and she has been using it with them. I came away with some excellent resources to share with staff.
It was also cool to pop into Tami Brass's session for the last few minutes to see some 3D printing. Way cool.
The second day started with a fantastic keynote by Mizuko 'Mimi' Ito. She shared about the changes that are happening in social interactions around technology. She explained that for students whose culture or identities are not represented in their school culture, the online world is a lifeline. There were tough questions too like - how can we use technology to address the equity gap?
Here are a few tweets that went out during her keynote:
Connected learning is the intersection of interests, academics and peer culture. #ties13
— Jessica McMahon (@SPPS_McMahon) December 17, 2013
Educators help students connect the dots using technology...social...interests...academics...Connected Learning! #ties13
— Christine Gray (@_Christine_Gray) December 17, 2013
After that, I went to some sessions aimed at matching student interests to tech and academics. I was able to go to a session about coding and I also met some more students willing to teach us what they have learned. The demonstrated Goldie Blox, Makey Makey, Algodoo, Kodable, Hopscotch, Voltage Village and many more fun ways to use technology and creativity. Their school, St. Paul Academy & Summit School, has two 45 minute periods a week devoted to high interest activity groups. They call them minis. Their mini was technology, but other minis might be knitting, a language, sport, or anything that teachers may know how to do that they can share. These were some excited students that love what they are learning.
I also attended a session on using e-readers and another on the changing role of library media specialists. They focused on our role as curators, but also on the need to teach students how to curate their own resources. There was a lot to learn. My brain was packed with information that needed to be curated.
I have already begun to use some of the information that I gathered there with some of my classes and I look forward to more great learning when we get back to school after break.