Scholarship Report: Jill B Nysse – Information Technology Educators of Minnesota

Event: Information Technology Educators of Minnesota — Brooklyn Park, MN – October 10-12, 2019

Attendee: Jill B Nysse–Online Learning Teacher, Winona Area Public Schools

What was your favorite session you attended and why?

While there were several great sessions, my favorite was “Raising Kids in a Digital Age” presented by Jen Leggatt. We have had several sessions and a lot of information on the dangers of digital devices in the hands of young teens (loss of sleep, bullying, emotional trauma, i.e., Fear of Missing Out, etc.), but this session had very practical tips that we can share with parents. The presenter got right to the crux of the matter, saying “digital devices connect our students to the world, but also are a distraction.” How can we let our kids try new things and still keep them safe? Recent revelations from computer scientists divulge how social media gets kids hooked: autoplay, notifications, Snapchat’s Snapstreaks, randomness, and in-app purchases. It is critical to pay attention to how kids act after interaction on a device. If they retreat to their room and hide, something may have happened. Another important tip is to go to the battery usage on an iPhone and you can see what apps are being used. another important tip is don’t sign in to other sites and apps with Facebook. Look at your privacy settings. She also encouraged parents to consider parent control software for 2019. All the mobile phone carriers can give parents the ability to shut off data and also to see where their child’s phone is at a certain time. Communication (discussing what’s OK and what’s not) and creating a family contract about that are also important.

What is one idea that you gained from the event that you plan to implement now that you’re back?

I really enjoy the author panels and being able to talk to authors, since I do a yearly grant from our district’s foundation for an elementary author to visit all our elementary schools. I really enjoy being able to meet and talk to the authors and find out what unique perspective they might bring to our elementary students. And yes, I did find an author I hope will be presenting to our students next Fall.

Another idea I am anxious to try is the Google Tour Creator. I have worked with Expeditions and found them really engaging for students and feel that Google Tour Creator will take that concept to the next level.

I am very grateful to SELCO/SELS for offering such terrific in-house training, as well as offering scholarships to library related workshops and conferences. It is truly a wonderful way to support professional growth and also support the profession as a whole.

Would you recommend this event to others and why?

I would definitely recommend this conference to media specialists, technology integrationists and librarians. It is critical that we support our profession and advocate for it, and of course attending the ITEM conference and getting involved with the organization is one of the best ways to do it. However I wholeheartedly recommend this conference to any educator. The strong focus on literacy is perfect for any educator, because we should all be teaching reading and incorporating informational text analysis into content. This year’s keynote speakers, Kelly D. Holstine Why Every Heart Matters) and Sarah Park Dahlen (Diversity in Children’s Literature) both brought fresh perspectives on diversity in our schools, a topic all of us need to know more about. Several sessions featured new ways to use technology in the classroom, and the vendors also showcased technology as well as books. One of the biggest reasons I would recommend this conference to everyone is that it is an outstanding opportunity to network with other educators who are passionate not only about the education, but who are also people who want to share their expertise with others. Teaching is an isolating profession, and apart from the new knowledge and learning that you always gain from this conference, the opportunity to exchange ideas, ask for ideas and just feel good about being with so many dedicated professionals is priceless.