Thursday, October 13, 2016

Iowa Teacher Librarians Take Over #ITEC

Once again, Teacher Librarians were big players at this year’s ITEC Conference in Des Moines. We’ve asked several attendees (and presenters!) to think about their experiences and share with us their big takeaways!



Sarah Staudt
K-12 District Teacher-Librarian, Mason City Community School District, Mason City, Iowa
Going into ITEC conference, I was seeking out an overall theme of fusing technology and literacy together to build a culture of readers.  I was quite pleased with the sessions offered that focused on that theme!  Mission was accomplished.  All three presentations inspired me to “up my game” in fusing technology and literacy together to build a culture of readers; something that is lacking in our district.
  • Using Adobe Spark and Tackk to promote literacy
    • Presenter Tyler Hellman, Heartland AEA Consultant
      • These 2 tech tools carry out functions similar to Canva and SMORE.
      • Adobe Spark also carries out a function similar to Thing Link
      • Great way for students to be creative in using to promote books
      • AWESOME tool that promotes copyright safe
  • Using tech tools to promote literacy
    • Presenter Lynn Kleinmeyer
      • Use YouTube, Green Screen by DoInk, Chatterpix, & Animoto to promote books
        • Students create and share with Lynn Kleinmeyer, who then shares them out to the school
  • Using Google Docs to Support Content Area Literacy
    • Presenter Deb Vial, Heartland AEA Consultant
      • It is not just the literacy teacher and teacher librarian’s job to promote and teach literacy, but it is for everyone, including math, science, social students, etc. teachers! It takes a team effort!

Ernie Cox
Teacher-Librarian, Prairie Creek Intermediate School, Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Pernille Ripp (@pernilleripp https://pernillesripp.com/) provided the backstory to many of her global collaborations such as The Global Read Aloud. These stories highlighted the need to use technology as a way to expand real world connections, enlarge perspectives, and find the heart of learning.  One of her messages was so simple but so important - educators must replace old stuff to do new stuff.  We can’t add in new learning designs sporadically and think it will have transformational impacts. What is the old stuff we could ditch?
  • The (possible) death of traditional textbooks. One old thing that is being replaced by many districts are traditional print curriculum resources (e.g. textbooks).  As the number of districts that are 1:1 (or highly connected) increases more are taking a pledge to be “Future Ready”.  The U.S. Department of Education’s #GoOpen campaign encourages states, school districts and educators to use openly licensed educational materials to transform teaching and learning”.  Check out more information about this movement and the schools in Iowa that have taken the pledge.  We’ll be exploring these resources at Prairie in the coming months and years as a way to connect kids with authentic and relevant content and experiences.
  • Return of the podcast.  I’ve been listening to all kinds of podcasts on my commute and now I have some student-produced ones to add to the playlist.  Read more about the Podcast Pavilion hosted during the #itecia conference. My secondary TL colleagues from Prairie were so inspired we’ve decided to launch our own podcast to communicate with stakeholders.  I will be working with teachers to explore podcasts as a way to elevate student voice (and maybe to meet those speaking and listening standards)  More coming soon…..


Miranda Kral
K-12 Teacher Librarian, Solon Community School District, Solon, IA
  • Breakout EDU - I am wanting to bring this into my schools.  I applied for a grant through our school’s Educational Foundation and found out the first day of ITEC that I received it, which made attending the Maker Breakout EDU session, presented by an ISU undergrad student, that much more exciting.  The kits can be used for any “games” (what BreakoutEDU calls the activities).  Breakout EDU has a gallery of games already created or you can create your own!  Breakout EDU brings excitement to learning, builds problem-solving and collaboration skills, and actively engages the users.
  • Google Photos - my understanding of Google Photos prior to Chad Kafka’s session was that it was a place for me to backup photos I’ve taken.  This session expanded my understanding of the tool to things far beyond that!  In Google Photos, you can adjust the settings so anytime your phone connects to wifi it sync and upload the photos you have taken since the last update.  You can also create albums you share with others.  The user who created the album can access all photos and add or delete.  The contributors to the album can only delete the photos they have added.  This is a feature that I believe will be useful when collecting photos at school for various events.

Alyssa Calhoun
Teacher Librarian, Prairie Hill Elementary, Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Engagement vs. Empowerment -- George Couros made this great argument that we shouldn’t focus so much on engaging students as must as empowering students. There is a subtle, powerful difference. Yes, we want kids paying attention, but ultimately, our goal should be that they believe in their ability to learn in their own way. We should want students to believe that they can create, they can make a difference, they can change the world. That comes from empowering them, not merely engaging them.
  • George also talked about how we shouldn’t brag about innovative education and then require compliance from students. One big thing that kept getting brought up throughout the conference from multiple speakers was the idea of flexible seating. It seems to me that flexible seating is quite possibly the easiest thing we could implement, and yet so many teachers refuse to give up the control of where and how students are sitting. We mask it by calling it classroom management, or by stating that we have implemented procedures and routines. We become the kings and queens of bossing students around while claiming we are innovative. As a librarian, I have started ordering storytime cushions, as well as getting wobbly stools for students to sit on. I am going to force myself to stop forcing students to sit in the exact way that I want them to.


Beth Campbell
Instructional Technology Coach for Pleasant Valley School District, Bettendorf, IA

  • SeeSaw - We have dabbled with the app in our primary classes.  However, the presenters gave options for layering the thinking and communication. Students can create the video and then reflect on the video with text.  With FAST progress monitoring, students can record their reading, self-reflect and then type or record a goal.  Also, the options for global collaboration exist within a safe environment in SeeSaw. Teachers can pose a question or project and then work with other classrooms around the world.  Heartland AEA has a poster entitled 100 ways to use SeeSaw.  Teachers have the option to orally record their newsletter, send it to parents and then see which parents have viewed the newsletter.
  • Pernille Ripp’s humble demeanor and poignant message has changed my outlook and approach to teaching.  She was brutally honest and caused me to self-reflect about my own teaching and the reasons why I do what I do in my classrooms.
    • A colleague and I asked one student in the class to time us today as we talked.  Hold us accountable for what we say and the time we take to say it.  Actually, students were listening more because they knew we were only going to talk for 1-4 minutes (@pernilleripp https://pernillesripp.com/)  
    • We have a true engagement problem in our classrooms.  Our students are bored and disengaged - for a variety of reasons.  Teachers talk too much.  Classrooms use too many worksheets.  Students feel they have no purpose or power.  Learning becomes something to just get through.  We need to ask our students how to be a better teacher and then listen to them. We need to ask ‘How can I make this better?”  We need to be part of solutions and be the change!   “Do the tools we use amplify student voice, or control it?”
  • Google Expeditions:  While I’ve read about Google expeditions, I needed to experience it firsthand to truly understand how it works, and the student engagement that occurred while we traveled to the moon, to Egypt and to Mt. Everest. Teachers can narrate the adventure, pointing out specific key points, pausing the screen when necessary and giving specific information.  One of our teachers got on Amazon to order some of the glasses cheaper than the $10,000 price tag that was attached to the Google kit we were using in the demonstration. Students will then be able to use the glasses ($10 each) with their own iPhones to participate.

Michelle Hukvari
Teacher Librarian, Southeast Polk Junior High and High School, Pleasant Hill
  • Makerspace is still a hot topic!
  • The idea of a digital USE divide, not the digital divide itself.
  • Students and education first.

Chelsea Sims
Teacher Librarian & Instructional Design Strategist: Innovation, South East Junior High, Iowa City
George Couros is an energetic and inspiring speaker. For me, much of his message reaffirmed my feelings about how school can and should change. I walked away with three big ideas to keep thinking about.
  • Don't be a part of the problem: we want teachers and students to use tech independently and effectively, but at the same time, we spoon feed them the how-to. Are we developing their skills or feeding the mindset that they can't do it without us?
  • Make the students do the work: instead of spending hours finding just the right 30 seconds of a video to illustrate a concept, make the students locate and evaluate a video that does it. Guaranteed one of the Ss will find something perfect, and they had to do all of the thinking. The other videos will be a great resource for their fellow students.
  • Virtual Reality and green screen tech can help transport students to new places. Thinking of ways for students to use both to learn and demonstrate learning.