Category Archives: Conference

eMINTS Conference: Session 3 (Thursday)

Google Docs in the Classroom

Presenter Stephanie Madlinger presents online collaboration & instructional strategies using Google documents, providing a 24/7 global approach and differentiated instruction for all learning styles. Participants create, share and edit online by using the basic abilities of word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet software. Additionally, teachers create an online form to collect information, chart and graph in a snap. As a Google Certified Teacher, Stephanie Madlinger shows us how to open up one classroom to new learning today! All one needs is a Google account to get the most out of Google Docs.

Sites Worth Quacking About!

Glenda Admire and Ashley Sutherland of Lebanon R-III show us how using technology to enhance existing lessons doesn’t have to be difficult. Quick and free sites easily adapt for classroom use in a matter of minutes. Sites shared range from classroom management to tools that will help enhance lessons through use of technology.

Journals, Blogs and Wikis to Enhance Reading and Writing

Presenter Denis Knight helps participants gain a better understanding of various web-based instructional opportunities to use to enhance reading and writing skills. Educators learn how to use online journals, blogs and wikis to develop innovative ways to not only communicate with your students, but provide an avenue for creative written expression. Teachers generate online journals for students to reflect on classroom activities; blog for addressing constructive response questions and article reviews to address reading comprehension. They learn to create a classroom wiki to provide opportunities for interactive discussion and peer evaluation. When used with appropriate assessments, these online sources give the teacher the flexibility to use internet sites as a way to move from the paper and pencil past to a new and exciting learning experience.

SMART Board: More Than Just a Fancy Whiteboard!

Heidi Beatty of Horace Mann Laboratory School demonstrates how to make one’s SMART Board/SMART Notebook work for teachers to motivate students, promote peer interaction and independent success! In this workshop, participants explore SMART Notebook and how it can work to enhance lessons and engage students. Students should be comfortable using the SMART Board and by attending this presentation, teachers are more confident in their own skills as well as letting a 6-year old or a 12-year old use this expensive piece of equipment! The presenter models and assists in guided practice.

Thursday #eC12 – eIS Smackdown!

Such a fun session to attend…with 4 Instructional Specialists tag-team presenting their favorite online tools everyone had to see an interactive website they hadn’t seen before. I walked away with some new goodies to add to my bag of tricks and pass them on to the teachers I get to work with.

What tools would you share?

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center and presenter at the eMINTS Conference 2012.

eMINTS Conference: Session 2 (Thursday)

Using Google Forms for Formative Assessment

D. Zach Holden of Joplin School District demonstrates how to use Google Forms for assessing learning or tracking data. Teachers create a Google Form that can be used to track data and assess progress. Information will then be transferred to a Word Document for distribution. This strategy is especially helpful for walk-through evaluations and preparing for the online MAP test.

Unlimited Questioning Through Inquiry Circles

Michelle Gilmer of Sikeston School District provides participants with an explicit structure for lesson design that they can use to encourage students to question, research and produce a product. Students need to be asking questions and to be the driving force in inquiry-based learning, but perhaps some are not certain of how exactly to go about facilitating that activity. This session introduces participants to a structure called Inquiry Circles that can be used to facilitate student-created questions, research and products. This presentation is based on the books Comprehension and Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action by Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels and Reading & Writing Together: Collaborative Literacy in Action by Nancy Steineke.

20+ Ways to Integrate Technology

Presenter Marilyn Otte introduces participants to programs or tools that will improve student engagement, maximize inquiry-based learning and provide creative presentation tools to take back to their classroom the next day. 20+ Ways to Integrate Technology is designed to give participants resources to use technology in their classroom in all areas of curriculum. Attendees gain a basic understanding of how to incorporate technology in twenty plus ways using different programs and tools for themselves as well as their students.

Apps with Aptitude

eMINTS’s own Cathie Loesing shares ways to foster creativity, higher order thinking, and communication through the use of apps for iPad, iPhone and other mobile devices. Participants become acquainted with a variety of iPad apps that support higher order thinking for K-5 students.

SMART Notebook 201: AKA ‘I didn’t know you could do that’

If you are not at the “SMART Notebook201: AKA I didn’t know you could do that” session presented by Brooke Higgins, an eMINTS instructional specialist, then you are missing it! She is showing advanced SMART Notebook functions for those of us that have had the basic training, but are ready to learn more about what this program has to offer. I have been to many SMART Board workshops, and I even learned lots of cool new things to use! (Chris Lohman, eIS)

eMINTS Conference: Session 1 (Thursday)

Don’t Bookmark It – LIVEBINDER it!

Roger Brallier of Mexico School District helps educators organize all of their online resources in ONE central location through Livebinders. This simple and easy-to-use online virtual “3-ring binder” is a great time saver for teachers. With Livebinders, one can create links to sites, files, even use it to organize a WebQuest. The best part might be that Livebinders is FREE!

Standards-based Grading – How to Get There

Becky Schafer of Mexico Middle School shares how to give a grade that truly represents what a student has learned in their class. The objective of this session is to review standards-based grading, from a teacher’s viewpoint. Participants learned how to make the transition from traditional grading to standards-based grading. Becky walked participants through the process, sharing challenges and accolades.

SMART Board 800

Laura Brockman, a SMART Technologies trainer, demonstrates how collaborative learning becomes an extraordinarily natural experience with the SMART Board® 800 series interactive whiteboard. Two people can instantly work together anywhere on the surface at the same time using either their fingers or a pen. This interactive whiteboard also features a multiuser Pen Tray with buttons that make it easy for users to switch ink color, right-mouse click and bring up the On-Screen Keyboard.

Design Patterns 2.0

WebQuest guru Bernie Dodge shows how the best WebQuests are those built around tasks that resemble the authentic work that people do outside of school. Design patterns provide us with a way to describe that work and make it easier to create WebQuests that better prepare our students for life. This session is the world premier of a new set of design patterns that will kick lessons up a notch. Basically, Bernie suggests teachers anchor their content in a person, place, thing, activity, or problem. Then, students do something with that anchor, involving the verbs deciding, designing, creating, analyzing, or predicting. Bernie’s presentation can be found here.

eMINTS Instructional Specialists Smackdown!

Presenters introduce participants to Web 2.0 tools, resources, and lesson ideas that they can integrate into their instruction. The session is a high energy smackdown of sorts with eMINTS Instructional Specialists from around the state sharing their favorite Web 2.0 tools, resources and lesson ideas. There will be more posted on this session by the end of the day including the resources shared.

District-wide eMINTS Initiative & Implementation – eMINTS ETS Tools and Tricks for Survival

Presenter Nicole Whitfield of Morgan County R-II School District  shares tips, tricks and tools to consider when implementing eMINTS district-wide and how to survive the process as an eMINTS ETS, technology coordinator or administrator. The goal of the presentation is to communicate to participants how our rural Missouri district implemented an initiative to bring eMINTS professional development and technology into classrooms PK-12 and how she survived training 50+ teachers over two years (Comprehensive, eMINTS4All and modified program teachers).

To follow all the eMINTS Conference action, return to this blog and follow the hashtag #eC12.

Thursday keynote: Dr. Todd Whitaker – What Great Teachers Do Differently?

Dr. Todd Whitaker of Indiana State University is delivering our Thursday keynote address. In his talk, he poses the following question:

What are the specific qualities and practices of great teachers that elevate them above the rest?

Dr. Whitaker identifies what the most effective teachers do differently than their less-effective colleagues. The goal is for participants to walk out knowing what great teachers do differently; why these things make them more effective; and learn how to immediately implement each of these into their own classrooms and schools.

A key discrepancy Dr. Whitaker makes early on is that to find the most effective things great teachers do is to differentiate between what they do and what ineffective teachers do. If we only look at great teachers and schools, it’s hard to determine what’s being done right. Unless we know both what great and not-so-great teachers do differently, it’s hard to determine what we should do to be the most effective teachers we can be.

A major issue is that people have no idea how they come across. Dr. Whitaker points out that the issue is not what teachers do; it’s how well they do it. For example, he asked the audience what’s wrong with the phrase “poor classroom lecturer”. Dr. Whitaker helped the group out by limiting the choices to “poor” and “lecturer”. Because we’re eMINTS educators who believe in inquiry and less-traditional forms of teaching, we identified “lecturer” as the problem. As Dr. Whitaker points out that the real problem is that these teachers do it poorly.

Check out what the audience had to say. Some of the quotes are particularly juicy.

The talk is inspiring as Dr. Whitaker identifies the characteristics that great teachers have. Ironically, the things that make a teacher great are similar to the things that make people successful in the rest of life. Dr. Whitaker’s books and talks are highly recommended.

To continue following the discussions happening at the eMINTS Conference, check in with this blog or follow the hashtag #eC12 on Twitter.

eMINTS Pre-Conference Sessions

Every year, we at eMINTS offer some pre-conference workshops the day before the conference commences. This year, we have three such workshops underway. There are sessions covering Weebly, SMART Products, as well as Google Apps.

Roger Brallier of Mexico, MO is back again this year to present on managing a classroom website using Weebly in “Wock Your Webpage with Weebly”. Roger is an experienced and knowledgeable eMINTS trainer who is best when it comes to do-it-yourself projects. With Weebly, Roger can demonstrate how easy it is for one to create and manage a website using this free online tool.

In “Applying Research-Based Strategies Using SMART Products”, presenter Martha Bogart of Cooperating School Districts (St. Louis) shows participants how SMART Boards and SMART Notebook can be used effectively in  the classroom. While I was stopping by, Martha was sharing the wonder of pull tabs in Notebook as a way to reveal key information or instructions for students using the SMART Board. Throughout the session, a connection is made with the nine McREL (Marzano) research-based strategies and SMART Tech products. It’s always great to learn how pedagogy meets technology in the classroom.

Centralia’s Matt McKenzie presents on the many benefits of Google Apps. These free tools offered by Google can fill classroom, team, and school district needs with just a Google account. Matt is extremely knowledgeable in this area as his school district has made some major strides in integrating Google Apps in nearly every aspect teacher and student work.

Pre-conference sessions are typically three hours. They are often extended versions of the hour-long sessions we provide during the meat of the conference. The three sessions above are just a taste of what the eMINTS Conference has to offer participants over the next few days.

Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.

Follow the 2012 eMINTS Conference on Twitter

Our hashtag is #eC12, but you can follow the action below…

Or follow the #eMINTS hashtag…


It’s eMINTS Conference Week!

Every winter, the eMINTS National Center hosts a conference for educational technology practitioners and eMINTS teachers to get together and share resources, methods, and loads of great technology. The conference is part of our professional development program, but many other educators and alumni love to come back for inspiration and energy to carry them through the winter months.

Typically, we post updates from the conference on another blog space, but this year we’re moving the operation here to Networked Teaching and Learning. I’ll do a couple of pre-conference posts here and there, but full updates should start on Wednesday. You may also want to follow me on Twitter and the hashtag #eC12.

Conference sessions begin Wednesday with some pre-conference workshops. Thursday and Friday are the main days for the conference with keynote speakers set to open each day. Thursday’s keynote is delivered by Dr. Todd Whitaker where he’ll discuss “What Great Teachers Do Differently”. Friday’s keynote speaker is our old friend Bernie Dodge. Bernie will present on “The Power of Student-Made Questions”.

Even if you missed your chance to register for this year’s conference, you can follow the action here or on Twitter as mentioned above. It should a be a fun few days of some great educational discussions.

Zac Early is an instructional specialist and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.

eMINTS Pre-Conference Announcement

These 3-hour hands-on workshops are offered from 1:00 – 4:00 on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 to kick off this year’s eMINTS National Center Conference.

Wock Your Webpage with Weebly – Learn how to transform your online classroom webpage with Weebly – and you can link to the world!

Applying Research-based Strategies Using SMART Products – Participants will gain a deeper understanding of how to connect the Nine Instructional Strategies to your SMART Notebook lessons to improve student achievement.

Digital Journey to Authentic Learning – Participants will learn how to blend creativity into student-centered activities and how to use Share software to create and publish in the 21st Century classroom.

Unlocking the Potential of Google Apps – Participants will experience the benefits of using Google Apps within their buildings, grade level teams and even with students.

Using Open Source Content in the Blended Classroom – explore technical tools that are freely accessible online for public use and how these tools can economically extend your classrooms into the 21st century- expanding the learning experience and opportunities for all.

Visit http://www.emints.org/conference-2012/conference-schedule/ for more information on these workshops, keynotes, and all of the breakout sessions offered at our annual eMINTS National Center Conference. Hurry! Registration closes on February 3, 2012.

We hope to see you there!

Cara Wylie

eMINTS National Center Conference Coordinator