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Learn-IT Conference

Our ninth annual Learn-IT conference was held on May 4, 2019. "Transforming Learning Space with Low Cost, High Impact Educational Technology" was our conference theme and we offered a day of workshop sessions aimed at influencing the future of teaching and learning.

More than 120 attendees, many of them students and in-service teachers from the northern Illinois area P-12 school districts, participated in our Learn-IT conference. Participants explored tools and strategies for integrating technology for learning and assessment in meaningful ways and got hands-on with robotics and experienced augmented reality and virtual reality. They also participated in workshop sessions on topics such as:

  • Sphero SPRK+
  • Video captioning and accessibility
  • Microsoft 365 applications
  • iPad management
  • Telling stories with technology
  • LEGOs

More Information

Save The Date

Learn-IT 2020, Saturday, May 2


Storm Robinson

From 3-D Prototyping to A.I., Using Design and Technology in the Classroom
Presented by Norman "Storm" Robinson III, Ph.D.

Norman "Storm" Robinson III is the executive director for Teaching and Learning at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora, Illinois.

This presentation discussed strategies using design thinking and technology to prepare students for career readiness in our high technology driven society. Examples of learning experiences using 3-D prototyping, computer coding and artificial intelligence were given.


Title Presenter Description

HTC Vive VR Experience

Aline Click

Come experience the HTC Vive VR headset to explore how VR can be used in an educational setting. Explore worlds far away with your students. Visit a museum. Walk with large wild cats. Learn about development for VR. Co-present with Rosarin Adulseranee, Ph.D.

Light Sabers and Simple Circuits

Jeremy Benson

Participants will incorporate knowledge of simple circuits to construct their own working lightsabers. While these simple sabers may not actually cut through blast doors, they are a great way to teach your young pad wans about soldering, basic circuits and optics and light.

iPad Management with Jamf

Michael Swope

Mobile Device Management (MDM) with Jamf. Learn to manage a classroom of iPads. No IT required!

Interactive notes and slides with Shiny and Markdown

Chris Kraner

Basics of using R Markdown for making reproducible documents. In addition, basic use of Shiny elements to create interactive graphs, plots and tables. A basic familiarity with graphing and tables in RStudio is preferred.

Enhancing Education using Virtual Reality

Fatih Demir

Virtual Reality (VR) is a widely used tool to enhance the engagement and experience of the students virtually. This workshop will discuss how to create virtual media to enhance learning instead of accommodating others' existing products. VR technology to create media and VR authoring, pros and cons of such technology will be practiced during the workshop.

Telling Stories with Technology

Kristin Brynteson



Join the NIU STEM Read team and special guest, Aaron Starmer, author of amazing YA books such as The Only Ones, The Riverman Trilogy and Spontaneous for a creative journey in writing. We will collaboratively write, create artwork, use Adobe Spark and other tools to produce a digital masterpiece. Get tips, tricks and tools to send students’ stories out of this world.

LEGO Education: WeDoSTEM 2.0

Colleen Cannon-Ruffo Learn how to use educational robotics to enhance curriculum across all disciplines. LEGO Education WeDo2.0 Robotics Kits are an incredibly versatile and flexible resource that engage and motivate K-4 students and are closely aligned with the NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas and the Science and Engineering Practice Standards. This resource can also be used to support Math, ELA and Social Emotional Learning goals. Participants will create and explore various builds and programs using the accompanying software to investigate, model and collect data. The presenter, Colleen Cannon-Ruffo, a LEGO Education Academy Certified Trainer, will share some of the lessons learned from teaching STEM rich lessons to students in the primary grades both in the classroom and in the Makerspace.

LEGO Education: STEM Robotics with Mindstorms EV3

Colleen Cannon-Ruffo Learn how to use educational robotics to enhance curriculum across all disciplines. In this workshop, participants will graduate to the next level of LEGO Education Robotics resources. This digital resource is designed to engage and motivate students from 4th grade through high school and beyond! The presenter, Colleen Cannon-Ruffo, a LEGO Education Academy Certified Trainer, will share how she facilitates and guides students in Computational Thinking by designing, building and programming "SMART" robots to address real-world challenges. Working collaboratively, participants will develop a better understanding of the Science and Engineering practices and have opportunities to practice them in hands on and practical applications.

Title Presenter Description

Sphero Robots to Teach Coding

Aline Click

Sphero Sprk + is perfect for students taking their very first steps into written programming code. You'll learn the basics of the block coding and JavaScript in an easy, non-complicated way using an iPad and a Sphero Sprk+ Robot. Co-present with Rebecca Griffith.

Video Captioning and Accessibility

Hal Hinderliter

As more courses are adapted to online presentation, instructors find themselves creating "video lectures" to post on YouTube or within their Learning Management Systems. This hands-on workshop will show you why, how, and when captions should be added to these videos. Includes a step-by-step job aid for your post-conference reference.

Getting Started in High(er) Tech Applications

Sam Watt In this workshop, participants will learn about some of the pros and cons of different levels of technology used in NIU STEM Outreach's classroom. After a short discussion, everyone is invited to the STEM Outreach Classroom, which serves as a mini makerspace, to do some short hands-on projects with the technologies discussed.

Microsoft 365 Applications for Education: Outlook and Beyond

Vicki Therriault School districts operating on the Microsoft platform tend to use Outlook while ignoring the suite of valuable tools available to them. This session will give participants an overview of OneNote, OneDrive, and Sway, as well as delve into Microsoft in the Classroom and using Skype for free virtual field trips, author visits and much more!