Sharing their story

The Northeast Hamilton second graders are becoming experts at facing adventure.

Last fall, they imagined, developed and produced their own adventure stories using their iPads with the help of their classroom teacher Laura Seiser and Leslie Pralle-Keehn, technology integration consultant for Prairie Lakes AEA.

Then last week, the students took their “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories to the Iowa 1:1 Institute in Des Moines where they gave presentations on their work before hundreds of technology educators from across the country and from around the world.

“The NEH second grade presentation at the Iowa 1:1 Institute was a tremendous success,” said their teacher Laura Seiser. “The kids did an amazing job of speaking to our large audience and sharing their ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ stories.”

The NEH students were one of the youngest groups giving a presentation at the conference, said Pralle-Keehn. Most of the student presenters were in high school.

Today, the Iowa 1:1 Institute is one of the largest of its kind held worldwide, said Pralle-Keehn. At the first event held in 2010, 500 educators, presenters and administrators attended the event. She estimated attendance at this year’s event was over 1,500.

The Northeast Hamilton students seemed to take their assignment in stride.

“The students were amazingly professional for their young age,” said Pralle-Keehn. “Some of the students told me later that they were nervous, but I never would have guessed it from how eloquently they delivered their parts.”

In fact, many students warmed up to the idea of public speaking, she said.

“Several of the students said that presenting their work was their favorite part of the whole project.” she added.

Currently, Iowa is home to many amazing leaders in the field of educational technology, said Pralle-Keehn.

“I’m so glad I live in a state where students are encouraged and empowered to build, create, and share their learning with a public audience,” she said.

While Seiser’s second grade students were in the spotlight at the institute, Pralle-Keehn said that there are many Hamilton County educators who are active in incorporating technology into the classroom.

“We have so many area schools and teachers doing awesome work with their students,” said Pralle-Keehn. “People like Michael Ross at Webster City (1st grade) utilizing Genius Hour to help his students follow their passion and Catherine Hines, tech integrationist at South Hamilton working with kids to publish their writing.”