As I settle in at home form two whirlwind days at the South Carolina Association of School Librarians (SCASL) 39th Annual Conference, I am sorting out and reflecting on all I learned, all the new people I met, and all the friends I got the opportunity to spend time with. This conference seemed to go by really quickly! In the first session I attended, Cathy Jo Nelson toured all the Regional Networking Representatives around the new SCASL web site, giving us the ins, outs, and shortcuts around the site. After that, the keynote speakers, American Library Association representatives, encouraged us to step up our leadership roles in our professional organizations. The next session I attended was going to be about integrating technology, but it was totally full! I decided to sit in on the Book Boot Camp instead and was so glad I did! The ladies who have been running the boot camp gave me some great ideas about using the boot camp strategies to encourage more teachers to create a community of literacy by reading from every genre and being comfortable sharing it with their students to encourage them to read! I’m ready to start get a plan together and implement this in the fall. The School of Library and Information Science hosted an Alumnae Tea next! As always, it was fun socializing, sipping coffee, and catching up with friends we don’t often get to see. Too bad it’s only once a year! The next session I attended was about transforming your traditional library media center into an open-air learning commons. I love the idea of mobile furniture that can be cleared out at a moments notice to accommodate large crowds. There were so many positive outcomes discussed, I’ll have to research it more to see if we could really make it happen at our school. The next general session was by an author and librarian who gave many illustrations of how we as media specialists can help make the Common Core State Standards happen by collaborating with the teacher as we have all been trained to do.
My favorite session was about creating a maker’s space in your library to meet the standards. Being a crafty sort of gal, I loved this idea! Using every scrap of paper and cardboard, using beads for bracelets, making Duct tape wallets, altered books, designing personalized t-shirts, using plastic bags for plarn crafts. I was thrilled! I am on fire for this idea of empowering children to explore, play, find their creative passion and purpose, and experience success in my library!
I got to be a presenter in the last session, “Don’t Worry, Be Appy.” It was a really cool round table, TED Talks-style session where ten or so library media specialists got up to share a new and fascinating app or web tool. I had the honor of presenting the possibilities of using the game Minecraft in education. I have been inspired after watching my son and all of his friends play the game. They have been obsessed with creating these intricate worlds and interacting with each other and people all over the world. Since our school district has moved to being one child to one device (1-to-1), our technology integration teams have been exploring gaming in education possibilities. I did some preliminary research and hope to have new evidence, ideas, and experiences to present at next year’s conference. Check out how some educators are already using Minecraft to meet our kids where they are, and to take them where they need to go in this pathfinder I created with the tool, Smore, at https://www.smore.com/qz2x-minecraft-in-education . Have you had experience with Minecraft in Education? I’d love to know!