eMINTS Conference: Session 2 (Friday)

Design Patterns 2.0

Our good friend Bernie Dodge presents on 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 will be the world premier (since yesterday’s session) of a new set of design patterns that will kick lessons up a notch.

Journals, Blogs and Wikis to Enhance Reading and Writing

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

Personalize Your PD

Presenter Stephanie Madlinger helps teachers expand and take ownership of professional learning by creating a PLN (Personal Learning Network). Having a PLN allows one to learn and share with others around the world, 24/7. A PLN is a reciprocal network created and based on your interests and needs. Generate multiple opportunities to learn from, connect with, gather information and resources, then create and share with people like you. Participants learn which online tools to use to personalize their own PD. They explore online learning communities like Google Groups and SchoolTown; social networks like Facebook and Twitter; and social bookmarking like Delicious and Diigo.

Put Some WOW into Your Website

Krissy Venosdale of Hillsboro R-3 School District helps teachers explore ways to use the classroom website to enhance the learning environment. Using various Web 2.0 tools, sprucing up certain areas of one’s site, and encouraging interaction on the classroom site will enhance learning both in and out of the classroom. Digital portfolios, online projects, and weekly contests can all be used to engage students in a site and most of all, in learning.

Class, get out your cell phones please for bellwork. Seriously!

Presenter Roger Brallier of Mexico Public Schools help participants learn how to use cell phone technology to add an extra spark to bell work or preassessment in the classroom. Roger demonstrates how to reduce “under the table texting” and unlock the power of the cell phone (which may be greater than some of our older computers). Additionally, participants learn the basics of “Poll Everywhere” – a free online tool that shows real time results using the texting feature of a cell phone. Even without a phone, one can still use a webpage link.

The Flipped Classroom Approach in an eMINTS Classroom

Presenter Melody Paige of Monett School District presents a flipped classroom approach that entails “flipping” instruction in which students watch and listen to lectures for homework or at other non-instructional times. This gives learners control to pause or rewind lessons for understanding. Precious class time is then used for what typically was done as homework: tackling difficult problems, working in groups, creating, collaborating and researching. The concept is simple; but how does one make the “flipped” approach work in the real classroom? What software is needed? In this session, teachers watch videos of this concept in action and provide many resources for creating flipped content. There are many free completed lessons and videos ready for use in the classroom.

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.

Friday 4ALL: The Changing Face of Books & Reading

I have a family member, that will remain nameless, who can’t even fathom reading anything other than a REAL book. She doesn’t understand why anyone would want to have a Kindle, Nook, iPad, or any eReader for that matter. Reading to her isn’t just about words, its about words on a piece of paper held in her hands. It’s about feeling the texture of the paper, smelling the pages as she turn each one of them, sinking into a chair and losing herself in the story, and it’s about passing on that love to others (as she did with me). She is shocked, and a little annoyed, that I might “let” her Grandson read a book on our iPad.  She asked me how he will learn to love a book if he can’t hold it in his hands and turn the pages back and forth.

Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised when I got a frantic text from her the other day letting me know that Borders, the second largest book store to Barnes & Noble, is closing their doors for good. It made me think of You’ve Got Mail, the movie with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, where the big book store puts the Mom & Pop store out of business. But I wonder….is this such a bad thing??? Are ereaders going to be the end of the world…Judgement Day, Armageddon, 2012, The Apocalypse?

Now I realize, all book stores are not closing, just like not all magazines or newspapers have shut down, but there is something in the air….a shift….a transfer of practice…a growing change in reading habits. A study that was done in September of 2010 found that only about 8% of Americans read on ereaders. But of that 1-in-10, 21% say that they now read more than they did before.

What this means to me is that a small portion of readers have changed reading habits and maybe it means that those that once didn’t read have now found a new way of reading that works for them. I don’t really care either way. What I care about is that people are reading. Whether they grab a book or their iPad, they have found the love of reading and that is what we, as teachers, try to instill in kids.

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, realized that readers want more and that the use of interactive environments and social networking is very popular. In June, Rowling announced a new online environment where the stories and characters of Hogwarts will continue to develop in the years ahead. Readers around the world were so excited that her announcement video has over 1.6 million views on YouTube. Learn more about Pottermore, and possibly even be a beta tester for the site, by visiting the website July 31st. Maybe this is an example of another way to hook reluctant readers and encourage kids (and adults) to read.

I believe that reading is: fundamental, power, fun, important, essential, etc. Whether you choose to read a book or an ebook it’s really win/win. So what might this change in practice mean for schools, teachers, students, testing, bookbags, trees, etc?

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialist with the eMINTS National Center. You can read more at her blog Higgins Helpful Hints Blog.

lib-girl (Photographer). (2011). Diving into Digital Books 5. [Web]. Retrieved from
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lib-girl/5682456926/