Our annual Teacher Librarian Day, which was originally scheduled for February 4th, was postponed due to a monster snowstorm courtesy of Mother Nature. Fourteen inches of snow fell on the Denver Metro area the night before the conference, which led to Auraria Campus closing the following morning. Not a team to abandon all hope, we at TPS Metro State quickly decided to reschedule our flagship event.
We feared the worst: TCAP testing resulting in a small crowd, and TLD taking place on a Thursday, but after a quick poll of registrants showed interest, we proceeded to reschedule the conference for Thursday, March 8. We now had an extra month to put all the pieces back together for the conference!
Despite all of our concerns about educators being able to attend, registrations for the reschedule came flooding in the day we sent out the invitation. With less than an month to register we had an amazing 116 registrations! We were simply blown away by the interest the reschedule garnered. We knew we had loyal attendees, but this was amazing to see, and made all of our extra hard work worth it.
Based on last year’s positive feedback we once again adopted the TED-style conference format. This year, we also did things a bit differently based on requests for longer periods for reflection in-between sessions, a more diverse profile of speakers, and the novel approach of showcasing specific features of the Library of Congress website distilled to a brief 60 seconds.
This year’s theme was “Primary Passion.” We asked our speakers to give talks revolving around things they are passionate about, with an emphasis on how those passions relate to primary sources and education. We had a amazingly diverse set of presentations:
- a poetry slam by Theo Wilson, focusing on the power of language.
- historical Chautauqua characters re-enacting Nikola Tesla, Molly Brown, and Amelia Earheart, all dressed in authentic, period clothing that truly brought history to life
- a presentation by Sally Bonkrude, who enticed the audience to move and sing along with in her lecture, which focused on music as a powerful way of getting students involved in classroom learning and memorization.
- 2011 Colorado Teacher of the Year, Michelle Pearson, used the metaphor of Angry Birds to describe how teachers can change their pedagogical philosophy to more effectively match their students’ interest in games.
The conference turned out to be our most successful one yet. Here’s a few quotes from the participants:
“This conference has helped me awaken to the idea that as an educator we have to both a teacher and a learner.”
“It encourages you to pay more attention then if you were at conference where you bring your own computer where you would be off task and multitasking. So I really love the format, and that it’s quick, succinct, and engages you at the same time.”
Another participant loved Stevan Kalmon’s presentation:
“I found it interesting when Stevan was talking about knowledge not necessarily being bricks, and laying a foundation, because that’s how I’ve always described it, and instead, looking at it as an energy field where there’s always movement. I like that theory and I want to look more into it.”
When asked which presenter was most inspiring, one participant said,
“Theo Wilson and his slam poetry. What an impact with his words, and he talked about using words, and how those have a lifelong impact. And that’s one of my passions: I believe students should be reading speeches and script from history, to understand what was happening at the time. It really hit home. It was really appropriate.”
Participants also got in on the act as they were asked to use a Twitter backchannel to comment and share what they were experiencing at TLD 2012. We were excited to see the participants’ instant feedback, and that some were even shooting video on their phones and sharing it with their social networks. Keith Patterson with TPS Metro State worked backstage getting the presenters ready to go on. He said “The presenters were really excited about the instant feedback Twitter was giving them. I showed them the Twitter feed as they were coming off-stage, and they were surprised how quickly it validated that their presentations were engaging the participants, and the connections that were being made.”
We’d like to once again thank all of our presenters for making the conference a huge success, and of course, all the participants who not only signed up for the original event, but took the time out of their busy Thursday to make it to the reschedule. It’s nice to know that after 7 of these things we have built and maintained a loyal list of attendees. See you in 2013!
Below is a gallery of images from the event. Click on the picture to open.
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