ISTE 2015 Link Round-up

ISTE 2015 Link Round-up |

I’m getting on a plane in just a few days to head up to Philadelphia and I have a feeling that many of the other educators getting ready to go to ISTE are getting super excited too.

There’ve been a lot of great posts lately about getting ready for ISTE – sessions to check out, things to pack, etc.  I jumped into the fray too with my 10 Tips for Surviving and Thriving at Conferences and My Plans for ISTE 2015 posts. To make life easier for all of us, I decided to create a post rounding up all of these great links so that we can all be extra prepared for ISTE.  I am a scout-master’s daughter after all :)

  • ISTE Convention – Discover Philadelphia curated all kinds of great resources and info about the city.  Plenty of ideas for places to eat, things to see, etc.
  • Tech 4 Ed: Tips for ISTE Newbies:  This post is from last year, but the information is timeless.  Lots of great tips for those new to large conferences (and good reminders for conference veterans too)

10 Tips for Surviving and Thriving at Conferences

10 Tips for Surviving and Thriving at Conferences |

In recent years, I’ve had the pleasure of attending a variety of both state and national conferences, including several trips to FETC and a trip to ISTE in Atlanta last year.  With these conferences under my belt, I’ve learned a few strategies for managing large conferences.  Giant conferences like ISTE can easily be overwhelming to both newbies and conference veterans alike.  With some good planning and preparation though, large conferences can be amazing, life changing experiences.  Here’s some of the strategies I’ve learned.

My faithful Lululemon Crusier backpack

My faithful Lululemon Crusier backpack

1. Save your back and organize your stuff

I spent a few conferences trying to be all cute and stylish with a fancy messenger bag and/or shoulder bag.  And by the end of the day, my shoulders and back were dying.  So I’ve come to embrace the backpack as my mode of carrying stuff at conferences.  Yes, it does make you look a little like a college student.  But this is a professional conference, not a fashion show, and you can still get some beautiful backpacks that don’t wreck your look.  I bought my favorite backpack right before FETC 2015, and it was a lifesaver for me.  It’s technically a men’s backpack, but Lululemon has fabulous prints, and it allows me to be super organized.  There’s a place for my water bottle, my business cards, my wallet, my laptop, my glasses.  And my back doesn’t kill me by the end of the day.

I also highly recommend Timbuk2’s laptop backpacks – they have lots of great styles and many of them are TSA friendly too.

And while we’re on the subject of comfort, invest in a pair of comfortable, professional-ish looking shoes.  Now is not the time for three inch heels or tight dress shoes.  And pack some Moleskin for the inevitable blisters.

Always. be. hydrating.

Always. be. hydrating.

2. Stay hydrated and fueled

I can’t emphasize this one enough.  You want your body and your brain running at full capacity so you can soak up all the awesome new ideas you’ll get at your conference.  Letting yourself get dehydrated and not eating enough food is setting yourself up for a hangry meltdown.  Don’t be like me and forget to eat your breakfast, then scavenge at a vendor event and get dirty looks for packing extra apples in your backpack.

I’m a big fan of reusable water bottles, so I always have my Swell bottle on me.  They keep drinks cold, don’t sweat all over your stuff, and they’re pretty stylish.  But you can always buy a plastic bottled water and refill it too.  The main thing is to make sure you’re drinking enough water.

Try to pack some snacks with you everyday in case you have to delay a meal.  I usually keep a couple of apples and Epic bars in my bag for when I need them.  And make sure to block off time to eat lunch everyday.  Fifteen minutes in between sessions doesn’t count as enough time for lunch – the lines will be way too long and you’ll be rushing.

522 different things just on Monday!

522 different things just on Monday!

3. Don’t overschedule yourself

There’s SO MUCH AWESOME going on at these conferences, it’s impossible to see everything you want to see.  You cannot physically attend every session, see each vendor in the vendor hall, and participate in every event.  Most conferences have apps or website dashboards that let you favorite sessions – start by favoriting everything that you’re interested in, and then make a separate schedule somewhere else (like in Evernote) where you figure out what your absolute priorities are, ie. what you’ll actually go to.  You can still have your favorites as a back up if one session doesn’t work out.  As you block out your time, be sure to leave some time to eat, visit the vendor hall, socialize, etc.  And learn to be okay with not seeing everything – you will burn out quickly if you try to do it all.  Plus, you want to give yourself some flexibility to be spontaneous :)

Socializing is good for you

Socializing is good for you

4. Connect with your tribe

Socializing is the new networking.  Make sure you allow for plenty of time to meet people.  Large conferences are a great time to meet your Twitter friends and PLN face-to-face.  There’s often social events focused on particular groups (like the ISTE Librarian’s Network social) and these can be tons of fun.  It’s also great to just hang out in the blogger’s cafe or other social lounges and strike up conversations.  Some of my best conference experiences have been getting to know other awesome educators.

Make sure you have some awesome business cards to give to people so that they know how to get in touch with you.  I was inspired by Gwyneth Jone’s awesome tutorial to make my own mini Moo cards and I love them.

Hands-on learning for the win!

Hands-on learning for the win!

5. Find what learning style works better for you and stick with it

Some people thrive on big keynote talks.  Some love to get their hands dirty in intense, hands-on workshops.  Some love to browse the poster sessions and glean a ton of new ideas in one fell swoop.  Find what learning style works best for you and stick with it.  Personally, I find the big keynotes too much of a hassle to get into, and poster sessions overstimulating (although I’m giving one this year, so we’ll see how that goes).  I tend to like more focused hands-on sessions and lectures that focus on one or two new ideas or skills.

Downtime is good for you

Downtime is good for you

6.  Make time for downtime

I’m an introvert by nature, and by a certain point in the day at large conferences, I feel the need to get away from things for a bit.  Find a quiet corner (preferably with an outlet), and take some time to chill and reflect.  You’re putting all sorts of information and stimulus into your brain at these conferences – allow yourself time to process everything that you’re learning and take a breath.  You’ll be glad that you did.  Sometimes I like to put my devices away while they charge, break out a paper notebook, and jot down what I’ve been learning and thinking about throughout the day.  A device break can be good for you.

Keep your devices charged

Keep your devices charged

7. Stay charged

One of the worst things ever is having your device die in the middle of a conference and suddenly being unable to take selfies with your EduHeroes, type up notes on a session, or jam out some tunes.  Okay, it’s not the worst thing ever, but it still sucks to have your phone die.  Carry a portable battery charger with you and all the cables you’ll need. I love my Jackery Giant+ as it can charge my phone multiple times, charge two devices at once (great way to make friends) and it fits easily into any backpack or purse.  I also like to bring a power strip for the hotel room, as there’s never enough outlets.  While we’re on the subject of cables, I’m a big fan of Cocoon Grid-It Organizers for keeping track of all my cables, dongles, chargers, etc.  They have lots of sizes and fit easily into most bags.

The massive vendor hall

The massive vendor hall

8. Have a vendor hall strategy

The vendor halls at these types of conferences are massive – you could easily spend the entire conference just talking to vendors and visiting their sessions.  Make sure you have a plan for how you want to tackle the vendor hall.  I personally tend to be pretty ruthless about my vendor time.  I plan out who I want to see and I take a map of the vendor hall to plan which rows I’ll visit each day.  I block out specific blocks of time to visit.  If I’m not interested in what the vendor has to offer, I politely but firmly decline any offers of literature.  I do enter some giveaways, but I don’t spend a lot of time on them, as it takes away from time when I could be having valuable conversations with vendors I want to meet.  One of the best parts of the vendor hall is seeing cool products in person, so I spend a lot of time at the vendors that I am interested in.  If I get a business card from someone, I jot a quick note on it to remind me why I took it.  If I do end up with literature for a vendor that I’m not interested in, I discard it.  I only take swag if it’s something I will actually use.

Bear in mind, this is just how I handle the vendor hall.  Everyone has a different way of exploring the vendor hall and that’s fine.  Just make sure that you have a plan.

Know your hashtags

Know your hashtags

9. Share it out

Our professional learning should be social.  Not everyone can make it to every conference – by sharing what you learn, you empower others in their professional learning.  I’ve participated in many conferences vicariously through the tweets of others.  I’ll often live-tweet while I’m in a session and copy and paste my tweets into Evernote, which also lets you share your notes with others.  It’s also great to Instagram, Vine and blog about your experiences.  Don’t keep all the great things you’re learning to yourself.  And make sure that you use the correct hashtag (the conference will usually tweet it out) so that others can find your posts.

Organize your vendor literature

Organize your vendor literature

10. Have a post-conference plan

Once the conference is over, take a deep breath and relax.  But not for too long.  You don’t want to lose all the awesome things you just experienced.  Take some time to process everything.  Organize your vendor literature.  Follow up with people you met (you took notes on their business cards right?).  Read back through your notes.  Develop an action plan – find a few specific goals that you’re going to tackle as soon as you get back to school.  Bonus points if you blog about your action plan so that others can hold you accountable.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for tackling large conferences?

My Plans for ISTE 2015

My plans for ISTE 2015 (1)

I am beyond excited that ISTE 2015 is only weeks away.  I had an amazing time at ISTE 2014 in Atlanta, and I know that this year is going to be even more awesome because it’ll be my first time presenting at ISTE.

When the sessions first got posted on ISTE’s website, my initial inclination was to favorite just about everything.  But when I realized that I might like to a) eat b) visit the vendor hall and c) have some down time occasionally, I cut back on my schedule a bit.  So here’s where I’m tentatively planning to be at ISTE.  I’ll let myself be open to impulses and changing my mind, but this is what I’m going to have on my agenda.  Feel free to stop me and say hi – I plan on hanging out in the Blogger’s Cafe a lot when I’m not at sessions or in the vendor hall, and I’ll be tweeting and Instagramming up a storm :)


  • Hack Education Unconference:  I missed this event last year and was really disappointed when I heard how great it was.  It’s like a giant EdCamp with all of your EduAwesome heroes from Twitter and the blogosphere



  • PLN Leaders Breakfast: I’m honored to be receiving the ISTE Librarian’s Network Secondary Award at this event :)
  • Digital Age Library Playground: This was one of my favorite events last year.  It’s a great place to catch up with everyone in the ISTE Librarians Network and hear about what they’ve been working on.
  • The Stewart Library Makerspace: STEAM in Action:  I’ll be presenting a poster session on how we started our Makerspace at Stewart, and I’m really excited about.  The posters will focus on how we got started, transforming our space, creating a Maker’s environment and the tools of our space.  This is a great time to come pick my brain about anything and everything Makerspaces :)
  • Hacking Keynote:  Adam Bellow‘s Keynote slideshow at FETC 2015 was stunning.  I’m excited to learn how he does it and hopefully take back some skills to improve my presentations
  • ISTE Librarians Network Reception: Because I love hanging out with my ISTElib peeps



I also want to give  a shout-out to some of my Twitter friends and their sessions.  There’s so many awesome offerings – I wish I could clone myself :)



Whiteboards for the win!

Whiteboards for the win!  | RenovatedLearning

or Writable Surfaces for Interactive Learning Spaces :)

Towards the beginning of this school year, we created a whiteboard wall in our library as a part of our Makerspace.  Around the same time, we gave our instructional space a makeover which included four Bretford quarter round tables with whiteboard tops.  Later in the year, we also added an Interior Concepts Collaboration table with a whiteboard top to our Makerspace.  I’ve loved observing how students use these interactive elements of our library.  This post is a reflection on how my students have used our whiteboard surfaces (and why every library should have them).

Whiteboards for academic uses

Whiteboards for academic uses

Left: Students brainstorming a language arts project. Right: Mu Alpha Theta team practicing


I’ve seen students come up with many creative academic uses for our whiteboard wall and tables in our library.

Everyday during 7th grade lunch leading up to their competition, our Mu Alpha Theta team would come to the library to practice.  They would write out their algebraic equations on the whiteboard wall and work together to solve them.  It made for a very comfortable study environment for them – they could easily switch from standing, perching on the Hokki stools, or laying back on our comfy chairs.

A group of 8th graders would regularly come down during their lunch to brainstorm their end-of-the-year language arts project.  Their topic was the controversy over whether teachers should be allowed to carry guns at school.  They would draw out brainstorming diagrams, create informal polls that students could answer, doodle ideas, etc.

I’ve also made a conscious effort to bring in the whiteboards to lessons.  I used Written Conversations a lot this year, and I would frequently have the students use the whiteboard tables to write out their summaries.  Check out Buffy Hamilton’s blog post for more examples of using whiteboard surfaces in instruction – she’s made an amazing use of her space.

Whiteboards and Makerspaces

Whiteboards and Makerspaces

Being positioned in and near our Makerspace, students frequently used the whiteboard surfaces in collaboration with maker projects.  Students would draw diagrams of projects they planned to build, brainstorm ideas, build draw-bots with whiteboard markers.  One student created a track for Sphero on our larger whiteboard table and challenged other students to program it to follow the track.  Another student created a whiteboard marker “extender”.  Brainstorming is an essential element of a Makerspace, and our variety of whiteboard surfaces definitely promoted creative thinking with our students.

Just for fun

Just for fun

Part of the joy of having whiteboard surfaces in our library is seeing how much fun students have with them.  I think that this is a very valuable aspect of our space.  I want my students to enjoy being in our library.  I want them to feel comfortable and at home.  And the whiteboards have helped with that.

Students will use the whiteboards to keep score while playing board games.  They’ll draw pictures of characters from their favorite books and invite other students to read them.  One student would frequently come in the mornings to draw comic strips.  They were many games of hang-man. Once, students created a collaborative story, where each student would add a new line throughout the day.

Advice, tips & tricks

Getting started:  Students may be apprehensive at first about writing on the new whiteboard surfaces.  Get the ball rolling by writing messages inviting students to write and draw on the boards.  Add a few doodles yourself.  Ask a student who you know is a talented artist to create the first whiteboard artwork for your space.  Make sure to have lots of markers near the surfaces.  It won’t take long for your students to get the hint :)

Cleaning & Maintenance:  When you add whiteboard surfaces to your library, they will need to be cleaned frequently.  I’ve made it a part of my student assistants’ job to clean up the whiteboards when they start to get a little messy.  And they will get messy, trust me.  I also keep a cleaning cloth and some soapy water spray near the whiteboard wall so that students can clean it themselves if they want to add more.  Word of caution: if you use whiteboard paint, that surface will never be purely white again.  Even with regular cleaning and good whiteboard markers, there will be some ghosting.  I think it’s worth the trade-off, but it might bother others.  The porcelain whiteboard top tables clean much better, though the do show some scratches.

There will be hashtags

There will be hashtags

Inappropriate drawings/language: This hasn’t really been a big issue at my school.  Every once and awhile I’ll find a bad word, but for the most part my students censor each other, and will quickly erase something inappropriate.  Once, a student even censored him/herself by using asterisks in a swear word.   Most of the time, the worst thing we end up with is a bunch of hashtags, Instagram handles and Kik names.

Make sure you buy good quality markers, and a LOT of them

Make sure you buy good quality markers, and a LOT of them

Quality of your markers: I thought at the beginning of the year that I could get away with cheap markers.  My whiteboard wall quickly started to look awful as they didn’t erase well.  It’s worth it to buy name-brand whiteboard markers.  And while you’re at it, make sure you buy a TON of them, as they will quickly get used up.  Also, make sure to have some microfiber cloths near the whiteboards for students to erase with.

Our whiteboards have significantly contributed to the interactivity of our library space.  I love seeing students use with them everyday.  They were worth every penny.  If you want to try out whiteboards in your library, think creatively.  DonorsChoose is a great way to get whiteboard paint, and you could use it on tables, doors, poles, an empty wall, your circulation desk, etc.  Porcelain topped whiteboard tables do cost a bit more, but can be well worth the investment if you can get the funding.  Even having maintenance mount a traditional whiteboard from another room can make a big difference in your space.

Do you have whiteboard surfaces in your library or classroom?  How have they changed how students use the space?


Stewart MakerFair 2015

In April, we held our second annual Stewart MakerFair during our final parent conference night of the year.  Last year’s Mini Makerfaire was focused more on introducing our parents and community to what we had started with our Makerspace program.  This year, our program was already well-established, so we created a fun event focused on STEAM exploration in a variety of no, low and high tech stations.


Interactive Maker Stations - Stewart Makerfair 2015 - RenovatedLearning

Our interactive Maker Stations with littleBits, Cubelets, MaKeyMaKey, Sphero

 Maker Stations
We set up stations throughout our media center where students, parents and community members could try their hands at a variety of maker activities.  We wanted to have a nice mix of both interactive stations and make-and-take activities where our guests could create something to take home with them.  I recruited students from my after-school STEAM club and Media Advisory Board to help run all the stations.


For our interactive activities we had: a MaKeyMaKey celery piano, a littleBits table with task cards to guide our guests, a Cubelets table and Sphero battles and races (check out the video!).


Make and take stations - button maker, perler beads, loom weaving

Make and take stations – button maker, perler beads, loom weaving

For our make-and-takes, we had: Perler bead art, potholder loom weaving and our awesome, old-school button maker.


Special guests at our MakerFair – Tampa Hackerspace and Chuck Stephens


Special Guests
We  invited several members of our local maker community to visit and share some of what they’re working on.  Tampa Hackerspace brought one of their 3D printers and a bunch of cool 3D printed goodies.  They shared with our guests throughout the night about the resources they offer and explained how 3D printing works.  We don’t actually have our own 3D printer in our makerspace (yet), so this was a great way to let our community learn about this important aspect of the Maker Movement.  We also had Chuck Stephens, who brought his amazing recycled musical instruments.  Our students and guests had a lot of fun trying out the instruments, and I heard the Super Mario Bros theme song on the Arduino-programmed synthesizer more than once.


STEM Demonstrations: K'nex launcher and roller coaster

STEM Demonstrations: K’nex launcher and roller coaster

Throughout the night, we held several demonstrations of maker activities.  I showed our guests how they can easily make their own DIY slime at home out of glue, water and borax and gave our recipe cards for them to take home.  This one was a popular demonstration last year, and guests really liked it.  Check out the video to see it.


Our slime recipe cards

Our slime recipe cards

My students also completed their K’nex roller coaster (made from instructions, but that doesn’t make it less awesome) so we had it running throughout the night.  Guests would constantly stop to watch it and snap pictures and videos with their phones.
 A couple of my students in the after school group have been working tirelessly on what they call “The Shatterer”, a K’nex rail cannon that uses rubber bands to launch K’nex arrows.  After an unfortunate incident involving a cracked television screen, we decided to hold this one outside :)  They demonstrated several launches, and answered questions about how they designed it.
All in all, it was a fun, successful evening.  Everyone enjoyed getting to try their hands at the fun activities, and I was so proud of my students for taking the lead and helping explain all the awesome things we’ve been doing in our Makerspace program.  I can’t wait to see what our Makerfair looks like next year :)

Sharing Your Awesome: Why we need to move past the discomfort

Sharing Your Awesome- Why we need to move past the discomfort -

I was raised not to brag about my accomplishments.  Do good deeds in secret.  Don’t broadcast your good grades to the world.  Take leadership positions, but always be humble about it.  Never put yourself on a pedestal.

As a professional adult, I’ve struggled with reconciling my discomfort with self-promotion and the need to advocate for the value of what I do.  I’ve been warned at many conferences that school librarians are at the risk of “humbling ourselves out of a job” because we never want to seem like we’re bragging.

Since I began blogging about being a school librarian and starting a Makerspace, I’ve found great joy in sharing about the successes of my students, offering advice to educators looking to start Makerspaces and revealing my failures as well.  I’ve discovered that I love presenting at conferences, sharing the things I’ve learned, and helping others.  I constantly encourage other educators to share out their experiences, because we all have so much awesome to give one another.

But when it comes to sharing personal accomplishments and successes, I still feel a sense of discomfort.  I worry that it will make me seem like I’m trying to promote myself, or like I’m saying that I’m somehow better than other teacher librarians.  When I first found out that my friend Elissa Malespina had nominated me for a Bammy Award, I was surprised and honored.  But I wasn’t sure how to share about it.  There’s so many amazing librarians nominated, including Sherry Gick, Laura Fleming, and Vandy Pacetti-Tune.  I’ve learned so much from each of these women.

Then my friend Tammy Neil wrote a post about her own struggles with being nominated for a Bammy, and I realized that I wasn’t alone.  And that by not sharing about my own nomination, I’m also holding back a part of my story and how so many others have helped to shape it.  I encourage my friends and colleagues to share their awesome with others, yet I want to hide part of mine in the dark.

What I’ve come to realize is that sharing your awesome is not about bragging.  It is not about standing up and telling everyone to look at you and how amazing you are.  It’s about uplifting others, encouraging others.  Sharing your successes so we can celebrate together like the edu-family that we are, and sharing your frustrations so we can console one another.  As educators, we accomplish amazing things.  We help our students to learn to think critically and independently.  We find that “just right” book for a child that insists he hates reading.  Watch watch the joy on a student’s face when she learns how to light up an LED for the first time.  We are doing awesome, amazing, and inspiring things, and we need to stop hiding them in the dark.

I make a difference in the lives of my students.  And I’m proud of that.  The Bammy Awards are one way for us to share the awesomeness of educators with the world.  I’d be honored if you voted for me, but I’m also just ecstatic for you to vote for anyone who’s nominated and share about the amazing things that they’re doing.

Now, go out and share your awesome :)

Gulf Coast Maker Con 2015

Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015 |

Last year, I attended Gulf Coast MakerCon just as our makerspace was gaining momentum.  That was where I first connected with The Hive (then called Community Innovation Center), FreeFab 3D, and Tampa Hackerspace.  This year, I brought my students along and helped to organize the Young Makers section of the event.  Four parents and three students joined me to share about what we’ve been doing at the Stewart Makerspace.  And we got to have some fun too :)

Our booth at Gulf Coast Makercon |

Gulf Coast MakerCon is a fantastic annual event in the Tampa Bay area run by Eureka Factory.   It features a variety of booths including local makers, makerspaces, robotics clubs, electric car racing, robot battles, a tech take-apart area (deconstruction zone) and more.

Making buttons at our booth

Making buttons at our booth

I wanted our booth to focus mostly on interactive activities that visitors both young and old alike could enjoy.  We brought a bin of LEGOs and a large baseplate and saw some neat creations throughout the day.  We brought an old-school button maker and invited visitors to decorate their own button (this one was super-popular, and we ran out of supplies half-way through the day).  We also had our Cubelets out, which were a hit with our visitors.

Little LEGO makers at our booth

Little LEGO makers at our booth

It was a lot of fun to see all the little makers at our booth.  I’ve pretty much always worked with middle schoolers, and it was a lot of fun to see how our activities worked for the younger set.  It was also a lot of fun to see how great my students were with the little ones – they did a fantastic job explaining things to them and helping them use the button maker :)

Cubelets makers at our booth |

For me, this event was a great networking opportunity too.  I got to meet a TON of local makerspaces I wasn’t aware or hadn’t had a chance to connect with yet, including many public library spaces, schools and colleges.  There was a short makerspace unconference where we all got a chance to meet one another and learn about each other’s spaces.  I’m so excited to see how the Maker Movement is growing in my area, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.


Gulf Coast MakerCon PromoHere’s a great article from Gulf Coast Makers featuring our makerspace.

*Have you ever participated in a local Makerfair style event?  What was your experience like?*


Hillsborough Women in Tech

Hillsborough Women in Tech

Last month, I had the honor of giving a Pecha Kucha talk at the Hillsborough Women in Tech event.  A Pecha Kucha is an ignite style talk, with twenty slides that automatically advance every twenty seconds.  This was my first time giving this style of talk and it’s a lot more work than the forty-five minute conference presentations I’m used to.  You have to be really concise about what you share – there isn’t time to go into a lot of details.  I chose to give a quick overview of the Maker Movement, briefly share how our Makerspace came about, and then explain what types of learning makerspaces support (future post coming from that section).

Awesome artwork on display at the event featuring each of the talks

Awesome artwork on display at the event featuring each of the talks

The event featured a lot of excellent speakers and programs, including a young girl named Priya who shared about how learning to code has changed her life.  There were booths from the local tech community, including organizations that teach adults how to code, Hillsborough High School’s robotics team, and an organization that supports local startups.  It was an excellent opportunity to connect with the local maker/STEM community here in Tampa.

eureka tweet large

I think connecting with the greater Maker/STEM community is vital for anyone trying to promote the Maker Movement in their school.  We all have the same goals at heart, and there’s so much we can learn from one another.  My connections with the HIVE, Tampa Hackerspace and Eureka Factory have all been wonderful – I feel that we’ve all been able to learn and grow together.  As maker-minded educators, we need to be connecting with public libraries, local makerspaces, non-profit organizations that support STEM, and tech professionals who share our vision.

hackerspace tweet large

during pecha kucha

Here’s a YouTube video about the event:

And here’s some press coverage from the Tampa Bay Times.

My Pecha Kucha slides:

*Have you ever given a Pecha Kucha style talk before?  What was your experience?*

Defining Makerspaces: Part 2


(Wordcloud above created from the Twitter posts below)

Last week, someone criticized my makerspace as not being a “real” Makerspace because it does’t have power tools and suggested that I research what “real makerspaces” are.  Part one of my response to this criticism was my post last week where I looked for definitions from a variety of research and writing on makerspaces.  Today, I’m looking at what the Twitterverse had to say.

Here’s my original tweet out:

And here’s what Twitter had to say:

I later asked for people to share pictures of their #realmakerspaces.  Here’s some of the amazing tweets I received:

I am so grateful for the amazing, supportive community of my Twitter PLN.  I think this post shows that makerspaces can come in all shapes and sizes.  The important part isn’t the tools or the space itself – it’s about what’s happening in the space, what the students are learning and experiencing.  Thank you all for being so awesome :)

STEM Collaborations: Partnering with Your Science Teachers


Being at a STEM magnet school, I’ve always strived to bring STEM into our library.  In my recent article for the ISTE Librarians Network newsletter, The Scanner, I go into detail about how I’ve collaborated with our science teachers and created a STEM learning environment in our library.  Check out the article here.