Back in the fall of 2016, my friend Tracey Wong asked me to present a session with her at the Computers in Libraries Conference in Washington, D.C. Tracey is a school librarian in New York. I was very excited about this opportunity since I had never attended an out of state library conference. This was a chance to attend a national library/ technology conference and share our best practices!
Tracey had her session, "Game Design as a Catalyst for Learning", accepted by the conference. We both applied for the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEExpert) travel program and were accepted. (Read this earlier blog article I wrote about being an MIEExpert if you want to know more.) With the travel program, Microsoft would send us to the conference and provide for our travel and room accommodations. Now we were ready to start creating our content.
Both of us had cool tools we wanted to share. Tracey had been using VR Quest as a way to teach her students about virtual reality game creation. She and I had also both been using Minecraft with students in our school libraries. We decided to focus on both VR Quest and Minecraft in our presentation.
Earlier this year, I wrote about my first experiences with Minecraft with students in summer school. I also wrote a post about how several of our learners took the lead with Minecraft. This was one of my favorite articles to share because a few of the students created screenshot videos of them describing why they like Minecraft as a learning tool. I decided I would focus on a few of these examples from the current school year. Tracey and I also thought it would be great to Skype with one of my students during the session. We began to create and curate our slides and other content for the presentation.
Flying to DC
|The jet that took me to Dallas/ Fort Worth International Airport|
Meeting New Friends
On the day of our session, we arrived early to check that all our technology was working. We weren't sure how many might come to the session. 20 minutes before starting time the room began to fill up.
Approximately 110 people attended the session. We were excited about the turnout since there were about 1300 attending the conference! Tracey started the presentation by talking about VR Quest and the potential for deeper student learning through the creation of games. She brought her VR setup and asked for a member of the audience to assist. To our good fortune, there happened to be a young person in the session named Alex. He jumped at the chance to demonstrate the VR Quest device. The audience could see on the projector screen what Alex was viewing through the VR headset.
|Tracey helped Alex with the VR Quest headset|
|Jordan presented via Skype!|
During the final 10 minutes, we Skyped with Jordan back home in Arkansas. I'm very grateful to my colleague, Kaitlyn Price (@Kait_Price11), for helping set this up for us. He and the attendees exchanged waves and greeted one another. Jordan seemed so fearless as he shared why he liked using Minecraft as a learning tool in the classroom. After a few moments of sharing, it was time to begin wrapping up our 45-minute session. The crowd gave Jordan a wonderful round of applause! After this, we answered a few questions and allowed attendees to try on the VR headset.
Highlights of Other Sessions
I attended many sessions during the conference and learned many new concepts from each. These were some of my favorite sessions:
Smithsonian Museum in a Box
I attended a session shared by Sara Cardello, Education Specialist at the Smithsonian Libraries in Washington, D.C. She shared that the libraries have been working with a company called Museum in a Box. She shared that the pilot program intends to allow photos and artifacts to be sent to schools anywhere. Students can hold the artifacts near a box with a computer in it. The computer inside the box would then play audio that provides more information about the specific artifact to the users. She showed us several examples! I hope this program becomes a reality soon. Our students and teachers would love it! Watch the sample video on the Museum in a Box website. (They are the London-based company that the Smithsonian Libraries are using for this program.) I also noticed that Shannon Miller wrote about this session on her blog.
Evolving With Evidence
Transformation & Community Engagement
|A pic I took over Dallas/ Fort Worth|
Other Posts That Might Interest You:
Our Civil War adventures in the library.
How our students took the mic at a TLChat webinar.
My table of contents for the blog is here!
I have a monthly email newsletter for the subscribers of the Library Media Tech Talk blog. If you are interested in exclusive content not appearing on the blog, be sure to subscribe by submitting your email address! Subscribe here!