Sunday, March 13, 2011

SCASL 2011: Lessons Learned

My first SCASL conference was wonderful. There were many highlights but the #1 was meeting some of the awesome librarians in our state. My library heroes Cathy Jo Nelson, Fran Bullington and Heather Loy were so welcoming and invited me and my co-presenter, Carla Nash, to dinner. It was great to chat and get to know them in person. They introduced me to SCASL Treasurer Steven Reed and Kevin Merritt from the Upstate Technology Conference. I laughed so much that night.
There were several interesting sessions to choose from. I left with lots of ideas. I loved the sessions "Are Your Students Cyber Literate?", "AASLs Top 25 Sites", "Words 2.0h" and learning about the new SCASL website. I am currently working on a series of staff development events in my district so I learned about more tools that we can show our teachers. The cyber literacy resources shared were timely for me because we have been focusing on this issue during our mentoring program at school. The new website is exciting because it makes it easier to connect and communicate with other members and it is all in one place. I left feeling very impressed. We have a large pool of talented, creative librarians in South Carolina.
Not only did I learn about the session topics, but I also learned from watching others present their sessions and evaluating my own presentation skills. When teaching my students I get them involved as much as possible and make the lesson active and engaging. I think I left out some of those guidelines when I was putting together my presentations for the conference. I need to use those little tricks though because adults like to be entertained just as much as my students. Even though we can make ourselves appear interested doesn't mean we are. I did make a conscious effort to keep text short in the slides. I used Poll Everywhere to get the audience to participate, but I want to build on that participation. In Cathy Jo Nelson's AASL Top 25 Site presentation she did a great job of getting the audience involved and contributing. I want to make my presentations more active. I wanted to use a few short video clips, but after seeing others struggle with sound I decided to leave them out. Next time I will bring my own speakers so that I can use videos and songs.
I will be presenting at the Upstate Technology Conference on June 14-15 so I hope to continue to improve on my presentations and put some of these lesson learned into practice. I am looking forward to seeing some familiar faces at UTC and invite you to my sessions. I will be presenting with one of my special education teachers on Kindles and another session on using cell phones in the classroom.
After going to the SCASL conference I am even more excited about the future of the organization and I'm happy to be a part of the great things to come.


  1. You are definitely well on your way--you and Carla both!!! I very much enjoyed your sessions. Remember my "Lessons Learned/ReLearned" chart from my last session. It is calming to poke fun at yourself when you are nervous. You would think an experienced presenter wouldn't make some of the classic mistakes I made at this year's conference while presenting. Cloud computing is wonderful, but not necessarily the way to go in an presentation. I look forward to your session at UTC, and am going to specifically request that Kevin Merritt and Fran Mauney (UTC Conf organizers) to make sure our times do not conflict, just so I can be sure to make it to your session(s). :)

  2. You are just too kind, Tamara! You and Carla are the future of SCASL. It was evident in your Out of the Gates Running session that both you and Carla are very passionate about what you do. The two of you continue to amaze me at all you have accomplished in your first year as school librarians.

  3. Ditto what Fran & Cathy said. You and Carla have impressed me with your diving right in to being dynamo LMSers and with jumping right in and volunteering for SCASL committees. It took me a couple of years before I felt ready to join a committee, much less initiates into my library program - as you've done with the Kindles and iPods and more - much less present at conferences/workshops (of which I still dislike - public speaking=yuck!) Keep up the excellent work! I look forward to attending your UTC sessions since I only got to go to one of your SCASL sessions.