Kayla Delzer, a 2nd grade teacher at Westside Elementary School in West Fargo, won the TEDxFargo Open Mic event yesterday evening with a combined total of 629 favorites and re-tweets.

TEDxFargo Open Mic

Mark Lindquist came in a close second, with 540 total favorites and re-tweets.

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Kayla Delzer

The voting began when the pitches were given yesterday morning at the TEDxFargo Open Mic Event, and voting closed at 5 PM last night. In the evening at the TEDxFargo launch party, Delzer – known by her students as Mrs. Delzer – was officially announced the winner.

“When my second graders left school, I was still behind,” she said. (Her and Lindquist’s Tweets were neck to neck for much of the day.)

“They are going to be so excited to hear this tomorrow morning,” she said.

 Tech-savvy teaching

Delzer was the third person to give a pitch at the Open Mic event. The theme for her talk, as she wrote, was “Our world is changing, our schools need to change with it.”

In her two-minute pitch, she spoke to the audience about the need for teachers to stay tech-savvy, and integrate technology into the classroom.

“These students have never known life without iPads, smartphones, or Internet,” she said. “Saying you’re ‘just not tech-savvy’ is like saying you’re ‘just not good at learning.'”

TEDxFargo Open Mic Delzer

She explained how in her classroom, tablets, and mobile devices are intermingled with pencils and crayons.

In fact, her tech-savvy students were a big part of her victory.

“My 2nd graders live tweet throughout the day,” she said. “And they made paper posters and posted them all around the school.”

They also had a bar graph in the classroom that showed her progress. When the students returned from lunch to find she had fallen behind Lindquist, “I thought they were going to throw up,” she said.

However, with their help and with the help of a very supportive education community – a community that “really believes in this idea” Delzer said – she was able to pull through by 5 PM when voting closed.

Delzer’s 2nd graders, who tweet under the name @TweetingTopDogs, posted this after their teacher was announced the winner:

Delzer will be giving her full presentation on July 23 at TEDxFargo 2015. Tickets for the event are now on sale here. Word is that a quarter of the early-bird tickets are already gone, so if you’re planning to go, get ’em soon!

More details on TEDxFargo 2015 (including some sneak peeks at the planning process!) will be released next week. An extensive piece on how Mrs. Delzer utilizes tech in the classroom is also in the works. Stay tuned!

Check out Mrs. Delzer’s website here: Top Dog Teaching.

Photos courtesy of Annika Nynas and Twitter.

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Marisa Jackels