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Leatherstocking Highlights Unique Learning Spaces

doug mcintosh The 31st annual Leatherstocking Conference focused on the growing trends of makerspaces and project-based learning, offering the school librarians, teachers and administrators in attendance a look at ways they can adopt or enhance new styles of teaching and learning.

About 100 people attended the event on Thursday at Vernon Downs Conference Center. Keynote speaker Doug McIntosh, a learning environment consultant from San Diego, talked about the power of new and unique educational spaces and the value of designing classrooms, labs and libraries that promote collaboration and hands-on learning. He shared examples of transformative spaces from across the country that have helped increase student engagement through group tables rather than single desks, movable tables, floor pillows and more. McIntosh also lead two breakout sessions on Transforming School Libraries, which focused on libraries as makerspace hubs.

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Anita Silvey, author of children’s and young adult books, was the featured speaker this year, leading two breakout sessions. Heather Shaffer, from the Mohawk Regional Information Center (MORIC), and Camden school librarian MarySue Brost also were among the breakout session presenters.

Leatherstocking is presented jointly by the School Library Systems from MOBOCES, Oneida BOCES and Herkimer BOCES as well as MORIC.

Before leaving the area, McIntosh will offer a third interactive session at MOBOCES on Friday morning for those interested in discussing learning environments more in-depth.