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Favorite Person?

Sue Levine grabbed a selfie with me, first day!

I met up with Sue Levine upon my arrival in Philly. Sue allowed me to room with her at the Home2 Suites right across from the convention center, and it was divine! Almost a full kitchen in our room, Sue especially took advantage, storing all kinds of items to create smoothies, snacks, and more. We each had a thermostat to control the room temperature where we slept, which I very much took advantage!

Favorite Events  (How do I decide?):

  • Numero Uno on my list was the #DENisTen evening event held Monday at the Lucky Strike Bowling Alley in Philadelphia.  It was great to connect with so many fanatical Discovery Education Network friends.  I had to choose between this event and the Google Mixer (Google Certified Teachers only), and I finally opted for this one since I will be attending the DENSI2015 (Discovery Education Network Summer Institute) next week. It was not a mistake. I dropped by the Google booth in the exhibit hall several times to connect and take in mini sessions, and I also visited the Google Tools Playground. Hate I missed reconnecting with my GTA cohort though. Right after visiting the #DENisTen gang, I went over to the Hard Rock Cafe for the Tweetwood Mac get together, featuring Kevin Honeycutt‘s band and plenty of live music, dancing, karaoke, and connecting with even more friends. It ran a close second to the DEN get together as a favorite. After munchies from both of these gigs, I didn’t even need a supper.
  • Each morning a gang of us showed up at the Down Home Diner in the Reading Terminal Market. Orchestrated by Kevin Jarrett, we had anywhere from ten to fifteen meet up each morning over there for breakfast. My northern friends were astonished at my choice of “grits and eggs” for my breakfast fare, but not nearly as much as my southern lilt. It was a great way to start each day of ISTE.

 

Informal Learning Highlights

So much of what draws me back to ISTE each year has to do with the depth of informal learning that happens. There are so many impromptu opportunities to gain at this conference from conversations, birds-of-a-feather, walks to and from sessions, posters, even standing in line one can engage in meet-and-greet style learnings. The bloggers cafe was a rocking place to meet up as well. I choose this place for both the opening keynote featuring Soledad O’Brien and the Tuesday Keynote, just so I could bounce ideas off people as we watched. Even connecting with the #TLNews folks for their live broadcast from ISTE’s PLN Lounge (another informal gathering spot) was a smash in my book. I reconnected with so many friends–far too many to name without leaving someone out.

 

Regrets:

  • This year I had so much going on at the homefront that I couldn’t get to ISTE early for any of the pre-events (like the Hack-Ed event and the Mobile Learning gig.) Both were said to be extremely dynamic, so I am disappointed I missed them.
  • This is not really a regret, though I have read from several in my PLN that it was a waste of time–the sessions that featured tool after tool after tool. I have to confess half of these sessions did not impress me, but I do love to hear certain folks at every conference (i.e. Kathy Schrock, Leslie Fisher, etc.) and so I purposefully attended them to be wowed by something new, build a little gadget lust, and be entertained by good speakers–both of them ALWAYS manage to engage me. If I’m feeling tired, I know these people can rejuvenate me. So guess what? I’ll attend their sessions next year too.
  • Ignoring the Exhibit Hall – I didn’t spend hardly any time in the Exhibit Hall this year. The ISTE Expo definitely catered to those looking for Learning Management Systems–there seemed to be a plethora of those–many I’d never heard of before, as well as the typical swag and exhibits the featured small classroom setups. I sat through only one, but made sure to visit a few vendors that I use regularly in my school library. I missed getting trinkets, pens, buttons, candy, and other fun gadgets that I usually bring home to put in prize packs for teen read week. Shame on me. I only brought home two t-shirts, and I didn’t get either one in the Exhibit Hall. I needed some of those freebie tshirts for my upcoming Denovator Faire at #DENSI2015 (which I will likely blog about next week.)
  • I didn’t take near enough photos. I really thought having my phone with me would make me take more. Oh well, #fail.

 

Favorite Sessions!

  • There are some who confess they never attend a single concurrent session, banking on the informal gatherings, poster sessions, special interest groups’ gatherings, and more to provide where many find sessions lacking. I too value those informal areas and groups for learning. But I am nerdy enough also to utilize the ISTE planner and read through sessions, selecting ones that appeal to me based on content or knowledge of a speaker or panel. Some of my favorite speakers this year were in “ticketed” type sessions, so I missed them in sessions, and instead tried to follow them and interact in the informal spaces instead. Others I found provided many conflicts in my schedule, forcing me to pick and choose.
  • My absolute favorite session without a doubt was George Couros’ session “Developing the Innovator’s Mindset.” A packed room received a heartfelt session, and George’s passion showed throughout.  He pointed users to this link, and the posts he references are very much worthy of a read! The session was amazing, and I am not lying when three or more times his presentation brought tears to the eyes of attendees momentarily. It was emotionally moving several times. He was fascinating and thoughtfully engaging. Spot on with his message and presentation.

 

Best New Tool I learned about:

One that is coming soon, MotionSavvy – I am speechless and cannot wait to share this with some friends and teachers!

Chemistry4D – an amazing tool that uses Augmented Reality to show/teach chemistry and the periodic table of elements.  Freaky!! I first saw it in the Librarians Playground, but then saw it demonstrated several more times in sessions and in informal spaces. COOL.

 

Best Tool Attendees Brought to ISTE:

The selfie stick was seen throughout the conference over and over.  My own roommate Sue Levine had one and used it QUITE a bit to capture “selfies” (which were renamed “us-ies” and “Weesies” by Leslie Fisher during ISTE 2015, and she also renamed the selfie stick the “narcisstick.”) While the name calling by Leslie was funny, I found myself captivated looking at the many photos in my friend and roomie Sue Levine’s timeline on Facebook. I reckon I’m a sucker for it as well.

 

Until next year….I hope to make it to Denver in 2016. I am enjoying reading the many ISTE 2015 reflections and rants.  What was memorable to one seems to be a complaint to another. Isn’t it always that way?

I can’t wait for my summer learning opportunities and interactions with current and future friends and PLN members! I will be attending #ISTE15 and #DENSI15. I’ll be sure to share my takeaways.

Now to just shake this summer cold! Bah!

I just watched this Classroom 2.0 Live Webinar in the following recording, and I’m excited. I served on the AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning when Canva was selected for 2014 as a winning site, and I have used it a good bit. But watching the webinar today has given me tons of new ideas for using it with students, teachers, and even for myself!  Lookout folks, my creative juices are flowing out of control.

 

Here is a link directly to the webinar’s archived video.

Okay, so we’ve been common “crafted.”

Wow, a Library Common Craft Video. I can’t decide if I’m happy or sad that it has come to this–needing a video from Common Craft to explain what we do. And in a school setting, it is even much more complex.  But yay, at least libraries are getting represented!

See all the other videos they have here.

Friday was the first chance I really had to connect with my two visiting friends, Gwyneth Jones and Jennifer Legarde!

Regional Breakfast
Day three began with the Regional Breakfast. It was great to see these librarians face to face and to thank them for their hard work acting as a liaison for SCASL Leadership. We enjoyed a myriad of discussion topics while eating, and I even have encouragement from the group to take my Library March Madness to a session next March. Well, maybe a “poster session.”   Why didn’t I get a group shot? I have to do that next year!

 

General Session Two – Alice Ozma
Next I attended the 2nd General Session featuring Alice Ozma. She uses a style I like quite a bit, that of engaging the audience through sharing. We were encouraged several ties to turn and talk with our neighbors, and then even share to the entire audience. I like it when i am part of the presentation. Too many speakers plan a “sit and get” presentation, so this was refreshing and enjoyable.

One of the many pair/share opportunities during Ozma’s morning keynote

 

Top Ten Topics For School Librarians with the USC SLIS Faculty

I went to this one because Dr. Gerry Solomon told me she planned to use some of our material’s session from Wednesday in this one. My roommate Heather Moorefield Lang was also one of the presenting faculty members, and with Dr. Karen Gavigan, they did not disappoint. Everything was totally relevant and spot on. The only topic they talked about that I am dragging my feet on is the Make Space trend. These ladies just might have been the catalyst I need to plan something.

 

Please, Not Another PowerPoint
I had a full room for my own session, which was scheduled as one of the last sessions of the conference, My audience was quite receptive, and I think I made a believer out of many for using BlendSpace as not only a tool to curate sites, videos, links, handouts, etc, bt also a tool to use to PRESENT. I struggled some though. This year we went to windows 8.1 at school. This was the first time Id tried to present using BlendSpace in a PC platform. Usually I use my MacBook Pro, but because i was presenting with librarians from  my district, we decided to stay with the PC issued by the district–so they would be comfortable. Hindsight, I WISH I had just used my own laptop. Nothing was wrong mind you, but everytime I got close to the side, a W8 menu would peak out and mess with the pres. Grr.

 

Regrets, Yes I had several!
This ends my March 11-13, 2015 SCASL conference recap, as I opted out of the Book Award Luncheon, the final gig at our annual conference. I wish I’d stayed, as I would have seen the new book trailer awards we implemented this year. I’m asking constantly for the location of these videos! We created a SCASL Youtube Channel, but I’ve yet to be told the URL, and worse, those book trailers are not there yet…least I don’t think so. I’m hoping they get posted soon. So my regrets are:

  • Not attending a preconfernece session! There were so many good ones to choose from. I had signed up to attend Nancy Keane’s book talking session, but when I discovered I’d have to leave early for my own first session at 3PM that same day, I decided  not to go. Wound up being a good move since our group had that kink to iron out (missing slide set for one presenter!) I had hoped to reconnect with Nancy during conference, and maybe have her join us for dinner one night. I missed opportunities, and I’m really mad at myself over that! It was GREAT having her at SCASL15. Many were very complimentary of her precon and concurrent sessions. SO not only did I miss a good precon for which i had a ticket, I missed a chance to hang out with my friend. Hanging head in shame.

    Nancy Keane leading a session at SCASL15

  • Not going to lunch with my Spartanburg 6 Librariasn. we had planned a lunch together after the first genreal session, but I had committed to attending the Awards Luncheon. I think i would have enjoyed their company as much if not more than the Awards Luncheon, even though Teri Grief was inspiring, and each award winner so very deserving.

    Gwyneth Jones posed with me, Eli Graham, and Mandi Cox, my Spartanburg 6 friends that Thursday!

  • Missing Frances lee O’Neal! I was delighted to have her at the exhibit hall opening. She was scheduled to speak and talk about our 40 years as an organization and an original member of the AASL Affiliate Assembly. Frances went missing though, and since we were on a tight schedule, the SCASL leaders made our welcoming remarks. Frances has been my mentor for years in SCASL. It was so good to see her. I gifted her with my 40 Years SCASL pin, and it brought tears to both our eyes.

    FLO worked the “40 Years Strong” display on the opening day of conference. She is still as beautiful as ever!

  •  I missed seeing a lot of friends! I cannot sit here and name you all. I distinctly remember seeing you in passing and some brief hellos, but I wanted to connect, talk, and see what is happening with you all!

Library Girl Jennifer Legarde is surrounded by the E-literate Librarian Tamara Cox and the Daring Librarian Gwyneth Jones.

Day Two began with a session from none other than Super Hero Library Girl Jennifer Lagarde. Plenty of SCASL attendees had already enjoyed her preconference session the day before, and the room was filled with our Librarians wanting so much more. Her session “MacGuyver Librarianship” certainly left us all wanting more.  It was a test of age and pop culture too, and Jennifer even threw in a Kahoot quiz to have us interact, and I want you to know “The Daring Librarian” Gwyneth Jones almost walked away with winner’s accolades, leading the quiz with speedy points and accuracy after every question. Many take aways from this one, and I’ve already seen a friend, Linda Waskow hard at work doing a project “MacGuyver” style in her library.  I wanted to speak to both of these dear friends, but conference duties stole me away. But I did make quick dinner plans with them. It wasn’t a keynote, but it certainly felt like one with our ballroom location and jammed packed room.

Linda Waskow’s “MacGuyver-ed table,” me getting a quick hug from Gwyneth while trying to scan badges at the end of Jennifer’s session, and Jennifer doing her presentation.

 

 

First General Session and Keynote

At 10:30 we had our first general session and Keynote with the Daring Librarian Gwyneth Jones. One of the things I dislike about conference is that we have a brief welcome from our leadership, a keynote, and a business meeting all crammed into this one and a half hour time slot. The time always catches our keynote speaker by surprise. I guess it is not emphasized enough that they may not get a full hour to speak. Year in and year out, I’ve noted the startled or totally surprised shock as a keynote speaker is rushed to wrap up their speech.  Gwyneth Jones gave us an excellent keynote, and even though she was rushed at the end, it certainly did light a fire for many of our librarians, and she had jam packed sessions the rest of the day. Our President Diana Carr welcomed everyone, and SURPRISE, gave the microphone to visiting newly elected SC Superintendent Molly Spearman. Then the mic was handed over to visiting AASL President Teri Grief, who gave a teaser for her Awards Luncheon keynote scheduled for later that day. I think all of us in the know were freaking out at the unexpected lengths of these two guests and their welcoming words. I was slated with introducing my friend Gwyneth Jone, and had planned a funny intro, but after noting the chipping away of her time, I made a brief and quick intro. We had to stop her way too soon, as we had our annual business meeting to get to, where we approve the slate of officers for next year, among other things. Whew. Now we were running into lunch, so it is no surprise many did not hang around for the fabulous door prizes my district among many painstakingly created.  SCASL, we have to fix this! It’s a little embarrassing.

All this happens in the first general session and keynote. It’s almost too much: welcome, annual business meeting, surprise guests, and a keynote! Oh and let’s not forget the door prizes!

 

Awards Luncheon

I attended the Awards Luncheon with a colleague, Peggy McQuade. We enjoyed the talented student strings program playing some rock and roll music! It was nice to see all the award winners get their recognition, and my most favorite USC professor, retired now, Donna Shannon, was named our “Distinguished Service Award” Recipient!  YAY!!

 

Authors in the Round

We had two sessions of plenty of authors, one for elementary and one for secondary, and after these two sessions a book signing bonanza. I took a few photos for conference, so didn’t hang around either of the sessions very long.  But all seemed to be having a rich and rewarding experience talking to all our visiting authors. We had in our midst: Alice Ozma, Nancy Keane, Alan Gratz, Sara Pennypacker, Sharon Flake, Sharon Dennis Wyeth, Steven Sheinkin, Megan Miranda, Jessica Khoury, Chris Grabenstein, Dave McDonald, Gregory Mone, Jewel Parker Rhodes, Dr. Annette Laing, and Carrie Ryan. I’m sure I’m missing some!! So many authors this year!!

 

Library School Get Together
Next I went to our USC-SLIS Tea. It is always nice to see new and veteran librarians as we reminisce about library school and catch up.  Im very excited this year since my AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning is a new professor in Columbia at USC. And best, she is my hostess which kept me from having to pay for a hotel room.

 

Last Session – More Gwyneth

I chose Gwyneth’s 4:30 session as my last session, Mobile Media in the Classroom. I didn’t get anything new, but Gwyneth’s enthusiasm and chipper personality is definitely infectious. Also, since I had made dinner plans with her in Jennifer LaGarde, I figured I should be nearby to square away how we were all going, as it had grown to a larger group. In the end, Gywneth let us out earlier, as she had started way early since her room was well jam packed long before she was to start, and so she didn’t disappoint the early arrivers, but winged it, giving the group a whole extra dose of Gwyneth-for free! SCORE.

 

Waiting on Friends

After being assured by Gwyneth Jones and Jennifer Lagarde that they new how to get to our dinner destination, Hunters and Gatherers, I waited for my other friends still in sessions, which weren’t over until 5:30. We immediately descended into the restaurant, and were seated in a lofty area with really bad acoustics! But we still managed to have a delicious dinner and talked about quite a bit, library related and not.

 

After Dinner

My roommate and I returned to her town house rather early, 8:30ish. I needed to finalize my Friday presentation materials and work through my Regional Network Breakfast Meeting scheduled for 7:15AM the next morning. After a phone convo and various text messages with my hubby about our favorite show American Idol, which I didn’t watch but sort of streamed through Twitter, and another chat with Heather M, I packed it in for bed.

Pictures are thanks to the many posted in Tweets and Facebook about our conference.

I arrived sometime around 11:00 AM with a ton of baggage! You see, not only did I have to set up in the “Committee Exploratorium” for Regional Network, I also had to set up a poster session table to showcase weeded book art projects. I was disheartened to learn I’d left at home the center board for my Regional Network Display, but PLEASED as punch with the location of the weeded books display. President-Elect/Conference Planner Jennifer Tazerouti and I decided to set up some of our projects. I found hers, and set out to make our display eye catching and a definite conversation starter. BEST, it was located right behind the table for the wine/cheese reception scheduled later in the evening. Everyone who attended would see our powerful display! Did I mention the weather was freaking fantastic in Columbia Wednesday and Thursday? It took three trips to get all my stuff in. Note to self–next time ASK for a flatbed cart!

Work and then SCASL Board Luncheon

I returned several times throughout the day to help Kevin Merritt (our SCASL honorary husband) to give out e-tracking scan cards to attendees. The SCASL Board Members had a working lunch, and we were showered with gifts from our President Diana Carr including a SCASL 40th Conference Commemorative pin and a cool USB bracelet–very useful. For the first time in many years, the boxed lunch didn’t present itself like a boxed lunch, and was actually quite yummy! Kudos to the Columbia Metro Convention Center caterers.

 

Session One – We’re Up!

After the luncheon, my afternoon began with Session One. Immediately my group from Spartanburg 6 was scheduled for the 3PM slot to lead our session “Flipped Libraries in Spartanburg 6.” A little nerve wracking, as one snafu we experienced was one of us not having any of our slides. Emergency resolved with OneDrive, which Spartanburg 6 recently rolled out with Office 365. I was able to make some contacts and get our tech guys to send the missing materials by going in, copying, and uploading materials to OneDrive belonging to the presenter who didn’t have her slides and videos. Our district has made this available to all professional staff, and it’s not just OneDrive, but OneDrive with1TB of storage space in our OneDrive. SWEEET!! My collaborative presenter decided to actually present from Office365. I think I made here a believer.

 

Project Connect

This year SCASL leadership brought into the mix a panel discussion under the sponsorship of Project Connect. Our organization worked hard to secure dynamic political leaders, school leaders, and school library leaders to have this awe inspiring session. Never have we done this before, but I’m proud to say I was a part of its planning (very small) and it was absolutely terrific. To hear attending school administrators in the audience and school librarians exchanging ideas and understandings about where we are in education in regards to student achievement, teacher (librarian) performance, and growth was quite inspiring. My favorite ah ha moment of the night was when our legislator Vince Sheheen was dumbfounded when a fellow librarian (Elizabeth Gregory) asked why 3 and 4 year olds are not counted towards school funding. He promised to return to congress and ask that very same question.

Exhibit Hall Grand Opening

This is always a fun event! Meet and greets take place all around between fellow librarians, friends, vendors and more. We get to eat and drink (wine or soda) to celebrate the opening of our conference. it really is a party atmosphere. The exhibit hall had a new floorplan from years past, and most memorable to me was that the SCASL store was up front and center–no excuse not to get your bookmarks, conference tee’s, or book award stickers this year!! Food and beverages were at the back, drawing all the Grand opening attendees deep inside! Excellent design choice by SCAL President elect Jennifer Tazerouti.

Finally, SUPPER

To culminate the evening, a few of us close friends went to dinner. We had some great choices nearer the conference center in the Vista, but opted instead to head out off the beaten trail to avoid lines, and wound up at Carrabas. Always good fun and fellowship when the three muskateers get together, along with friend Patsy Davis. I can’t believe we didn’t get a single picture of our threesome (me, Heather Loy, and Fran Bullington), especially since Fran is officially retiring (again) from k12.  But she has promised to attend next March, so we have a chance to fix that!

Apologies, and…

I was still to wordy! I’d love to know what your take aways were from Day 1! Do share.

Our annual library conference held in Columbia, SC was one of the most memorable in years.  Ten or so years ago there was no doubt that our conference drew upwards of 1200 attendees. In recent years though, with the downward turn of the economy and schools tightening their wallets, fewer of our librarians have come. Recent years we have averaged just over 500 attendees. This downward trend has effected us so much that next year we will be in a smaller venue (Myrtle Beach’s Kingston Plantation). This year’s attendance was somewhere over 600, and I swear it felt like an even  larger crowd. But our Conference Planner/President-Elect Jennifer Tazerouti worked hard to make this year’s event something NOT to miss. It was, in a word, spectacular. As Regional Network Coordinator for SCASL, I had some obligations, but not nearly as much as the President Diana Carr and President Elect Jennifer Tazerouti. Even today as I process my conference this year, I am reminded of just how much work our executive board puts into conference each year.  They just have to forget they have families and not even consider illness (even pink-eye!!) due to their huge responsibilities to pull off our conference.

Both of these made me feel so very welcome to Conference this year!!

Usually I give a rundown of the events I attended, my take aways, and how I plan to return and use/implement new ideas. This year I’m spending more time reflecting on what I thought was MEMORABLE!! Yes, I presented twice, once on my own and once with a small group from my district. Perhaps I’ll spend another day sharing those sessions and the materials, but today I must give props 100% to SCASL.


So tune in to the next post for day one’s rundown of what was “memorable to me.” Then I’ll share a few regrets afterward (which are few!!) I’m already looking forward to this time next March (horrors, during Dr. Seuss week!!) when we’ll travel to Myrtle Beach, SC.  I already have a dinner date with my friends at Bimini’s Oyster Bar, a favorite locals dive at the beach!  Cant wait to stick my toes in the sand. I sure hope it’s warm!

Each week we’ve voted with a Google Form that was set to allow students to see the results after their vote.  There are quite a few steaming students upset with me since this week’s round has closed results! I want it to be a surprise when we announce our winner Friday, March 27th.

Being at the #SCASL15 Conference last week, I’m a little late posting it.  Here are our current Library March Madness standings.

 

 

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