Skip to content

ISTE 2017 – Bloggers Cafe

Holy Cow Batman! Most awesome Bloggers Cafe and PLN Lounge ISTE has ever put together! I know, I should wait until I have lots of stuff to talk about for the day, but this is so awesome, couldn’t wait!

The lounges are setup on the third level, just outside the Stars at Night Ballroom. And they are awesome! The tables have an #ISTE17 branded top with electric outlets and USB! Totally amazing! There are low tables, there are high tables, there are awesome block stools to sit on, wood chairs, or these dynamite couches. Perfect to quickly plug in, quickly charge, update your blog, chat with a few neighbours (Canadian spelling for those of you wondering), you name it. Looks like there will be some TVs setup too. Looks amazing, and incredibly helpful! Can tell you where you’re going to find me between sessions – rockin’ the awesome couch while updating my blog for my vast viewership. (Well, all four or five of you anyway!)

Check out these pictures – by the time things get started, they will be packed, and you’ll be jostling for a seat! Gotta run, things to do, people to see.



ISTE 2017 – Travel Day One

Hey everyone! Wow, has it really been months since I last updated my blog? Sorry, you must think I have such a boring life, and clearly have nothing to write about! Just the opposite! Life is so full, it’s hard to find time to do some writing! But here’s your chance to get updated on my random musings…

It’s ISTE Conference time of year! Yep, that one time of year when 13,000+ people who are involved in technology and education get together for a bunch of days of learning! I’m so excited! I get to come down a day early and spend time with other ISTE Affiliates, like ATLE, and share ideas, swap stories, and laugh, and learn! But you’ll hear more about that later!

So today started out a little earlier than I’m used to, up and out of bed by 5:30 AM. Had a 9 AM flight to Houston, and you know the drill – be at the airport 2 hours before departure, which means 7 AM, so I have to leave the house at 6 AM in order to get parked and everything. Today started out smooth – out of the house by 6 AM, got to the Park2Go by 6:45, at the airport by 6:55 AM. Looking great! Went to check in at the Air Canada kiosk – mere moments, had a great staffer who put the tag on my luggage – things are going well! Now onto the dreaded security line – maybe waited 2 minutes before I took of my shoes, belt, and put everything on the rollers. Whoa, quick! Next up – customs – be prepared to wait. NOT TODAY! Got through the customs kiosk and visit with agent in maybe another 2 or 3 minutes. Total time in the airport so far, maybe 10 minutes? Whoa! It’s 7:05 and I’m now waiting for my flight! Whoa! So cool! I think I just beat the crowds!

Stopped for breakfast, waited for my plane. With about 30 minutes to go before boarding, I head over to my gate, and there is no plane there. No worries. Then lo and behold, a TRACTOR pulls our plane up to the gate! Yep a for-real tractor. Not your normal funny little truck that pulls the airplane, a tractor. I’m thinking maybe our plane was just sitting somewhere overnight and they dragged it over to our gate.

So it’s been awhile since I flew Air Canada – not sure what to expect! Holy leg-room Batman, there was lots of space! I could’ve had my 15.6 inch Chromebook out and still have room for the tray! Sat next to a young guy going home to Peru – didn’t speak much English. I read a book. The flight was more than four hours long, and no snacks, just drinks. It was okay.

Arrived at Houston! Awesome airport! It’s big, but you can take a train from terminal to terminal, real easy to get around – got lots of steps in. Stopped for lunch at Hard Rock Cafe, and then sat and did e-mail, phone calls, and texts for a couple of hours, while waiting to board my United flight to San Antonio!

Well, there was less room on this flight – barely got my knees in behind the seat ahead of me! Mercifully it was a short – less than an hour flight!

And here I am now in San Antonio! It’s a little warm! So when I left my house, it was 8 degrees centigrade, and here in San Antonio – 39! Ouch! It is warm! Got to meet Kirk, first day as an Uber driver, who got me downtown to my hotel. Stepped out for a bite to eat, and now, ready for some sleep time!

Lots of things happening tomorrow, I’ll try and take more pictures and tell you all about it! Reminder to self – get some beach balls – ISTE Conference Keynote prep!

FETC 2017 – Tech Share Live

fetc_desktoplogoJen Womble introduced the day, reminded everyone to pick up their t-shirt and coffee mug, and the calendar dates for next year.

Tech Share Live
#TechShare #FETC

Adam Bellow, Kathy Schrock, Leslie Fisher, Hall Davidson

Adam made some jokes about the Samsung fire starting / exploding phones. Adam used his trademark humour and slides of emoji’s, exploding phones, and then decided to do his own Karaoke version of Be Our Guest. Had the whole panel singing along.

Virtual Reality in the Classroom. Smithsonian X 3D. Students experience things they couldn’t normally, travel to distant places, and use VR. VR could be full immersion, collaborative environment, but very expensive. So let’s talk mobile VR. This is not new, 1849 had the Brewster Stereoscope. Holmes Stereoscope (1861). Really the same principle as Google Cardboard. Want “Works with Google Cardboard” – Viewmaster VR ($20), Dodocase P2 ($20), Dodcase SmartVR ($40). Google Cardboard ($15) as Head Mounted Displays (HMD). New Google Headset called Daydream View. Comfortable, cushy headset, works with Pixel.

Lots of Educational VR projects for a HMD or touchscreen. Discovery VR (iOS / Android), viewed also in a web browser, or tablet. Google Expeditions – can be guided by the teacher. TES out of the UK, lots of Google Expeditions. VR Lessons by ThingLink – can move around with a finger on an iOS device – paid app. nearpod VR – 360 degree lessons. Mainstream VR sites (Weather Channel, USA Today Network, nytvr, ESPN, Guggenheim).

Three Flickr groups to look at: Equirectangular, 360 degree, 360 degree images for School. YouTube 360 Channel.

Virtuali-Tee – Kickstarter campaign to let students view items right on your chest.

Creating VR, other images:

Ricoh Theta S – $350, Images, 25 min continuous video, live streaming

Ricoh Theta SC – $300, Images, 5 min continuous video

Insta 360 Nano – $200, microSD card, Images, Video, iPhone 6/7 only

Phone App – 360 Panorama

Google Street View – can create 360 degree photo spheres, Share to Google Maps

Modern Android Cameras – app built right into the phone

Building Environment –

Hosting images –,, ThingLink VR editor code KSTLEDU, Littlstar, Jaunt @kathyschrock

Hall Davidson

AR = Augmented Reality (lays on top of what’s real) MagicLeap – coming soon.

Some school yearbooks starting to use Aurasma….

Rocketbook Wave Notebook – Scan the page and automatically post to cloud service. When you want to erase – put it in the microwave with a mug of water. Microwave erases the pen. Must use the eraseable pen.

Mobile Microscope Next Gen – Kingmas – clips on the iPhone, on Amazon

AI – Alexa vs. Google Home Companion. Hall compared both Alexa and Google Home Companion – found Google one to work better. Amazon Echo Dot available for $49. Bring it into class, and let kids talk to it.

Wear an Apple Watch for $49.99. Buy a Nano and add a watchband.

Wow Round

Snapchat custom filters for school: $5 (or Free) – – geofilters, build it online, decide when it should be available, and set the boundaries that it is available to. Hall built one for the outside front of the convention centre.

Leslie Fisher

Favorite New App of the Year – Google Photo Scan – Press photo button, will ask you to move around and take other pictures. Then it analyzes the photo, and then puts it together. Will even let you adjust the corners of the original photo.

Favorite Educational Website of the Year – – about putting courses, information online. Could be a one hour piece, or an entire semester. Can easily build online courses, just drag and drop. Add lots of extra gadgets, many for free. Can make it for students or groups of students to take.

Favorite Educational Gadgets of the Year:

OpenDyslexic – open source font created to increase readability – Pen designed to read into an earpiece (via bluetooth) the text just hovered over. 2015 Wozniak Award for Entrepreneurship. Currently available for pre-order with a February / March planned release. $400 release date, $299 pre-order. – introduction to making music – easily create, edit, and share music scores in your web browser

EarSketch – lay out a musical score, and then it will show the coding necessary.

Osmo – Interact with real objects using your iPad

Adam Bellow @OfficeofEdTech – CAD program to start designing items to be 3D printed.

Boost by LEGO – Block based coding, build in LEGO, and then code/control

Code Gamer – build the controller, then use real java script, and play games.

littleBits education – Gizmos and Gadgets Kit, and Arduino Coding Kit

Dash and Dot – software is amazing.

puzzlets – bluetooth connected board

Tickle – control various drones


Evolution of User Friendly

Kano Kit – build your own machine. Kano Blocks Program

Build your own pixel


Code Monkey  – challenge of a game, and curriculum connections

Going old school – Oregon Trail card game.

Coding and Making should enable Creation. Not regurgitation. Problem has to matter.

Lots of content, hard to take more detailed notes, but this should help to jog my memory.


FETC 2017 – Leftovers with Leslie

fetc_desktoplogoFETC 2017 – Leftovers with Leslie: Technology Gadgets, Apps and Websites You Have Not Heard About Yet!

Leslie Fisher

** Todd’s notes

All the things Leslie has not had time to share over the last few days, or things that have been tossed under the bus for now. Leslie’s presentations are always delightful, somewhat irreverant, but filled with amazing insight. Here are some of the tricks she showed today. – uses Google Spreadsheets to give you some great capabilities. Populate the content, and turn it into something else. Like making flashcards. Lots of sites do this, but Flippity makes it easier. Opens a Google Sheet, then you share it back, and it will create the flashcards. Flippity Quiz show, Hangman. All of it comes from a simple spreadsheet. Can share results directly to Google Classroom. Madlibs. Flippity Badge Tracker.

Chrome Extension: Google Tone. Sends a tone out, students would need Google Tone extension installed too. Sends to all extensions within earshot, can send url’s out. Very slick. Actually hears the audio and converts to a URL. Did you get that? You send the URL out via audible tone, and the devices within earshot “hear” the tone and convert to a URL. iOS and Android App -> Students open the app, and can receive via audio similar to Google Tone.

Timeline.js Take a Google sheet and create a timeline. Beautiful timelines are created, that are visual, and can be used by anyone.

Same group that makes Timeline JS, also makes a product called StoryMap JS Maps that tell stories. Free to use. Not using Google sheets, but a very easy, web-based interface to make it happen.

Thinglink – create links in pictures. Like gigapixel, and can be included in StoryMap.

How to create a bunch of e-mail accounts. When you look at your gmail account. If you add a + at the end of your e-mail address, ie, all e-mail from this address will automatically go to your original e-mail address.

PermissionClick – Online Permission Slips. If it’s just one person, doing it for their own group, you can send it out, and take credit cards. If it needs to go through a chain of command, it can do that. Just for one person, it’s free. There is a district level, where all the different forms can merge into one.

ZipGrade – iOS and Android. Go to the website, print bubble sheet, have students fill in details, and then scans all the bubble sheets for you, and assigns to students. Price for paid for version is $6.99 per year. There is a free version, does 100 papers per month.

Presenting iOS device through computer – uses a USB cable and can show the iOS screen. Showed that the touchbar on the new MacBook Pro shows the slides that she has in Keynote, and you can easily quickly go from slide to slide, in any order, and no one will be the wiser. Very amazing way to run presentations.

PlayDate – plastic ball, with a camera in it. iOS and Android App. Play with your pet when you are not home. Squeak Button, still camera with video, microphone and speaker. Slit for ribbon inserts for cats.

Leslie always has more content than she has time, and there was an audible groan from the crowd when she had to wrap it up!


FETC 2017 – Google Transition & District Buy-in

fetc_desktoplogoFETC 2017

Google Transition and District Buy In

Jay Salerno
Newington Public Schools


*** These are my notes from the session – Todd

Newington Public Schools
4,000 students K-12, 400 instructional staff
7 schools
Academies and Programs

  • STEM Exploratory Program (MS)
  • Academy of Biomedical Sciences (MS)
  • Academy of Aerospace & Engineering (MS)
  • IT & Digital Innovation Academy (HS)
  • Culinary & Hospitality Academy (HS)
  • Finance & Business Academy (HS)

Were losing some kids to other places, so started all of these programs and developed a 5 year strategic technology initiative.

Year 5: iPad carts for K-2, Chromebooks for all students Grades 3-8, phase 2: Chromebooks Grades 9-12

Worked on infrastructure. Knew this was the most important piece in building a 1:1 project. Got it setup.

Ran into some social media problems where the community was not in favour of 1:1 with Chromebooks. Did some town hall meetings and had a lot of time with parents.

Worked with teachers with a new program “Keep Calm and Newgle On”

Key part they said to the teachers: Chromebook is just a tool, like a pen, paper, book, chalkboard, etc.

Planning to “Date the Device. Marry the Ability

The Core

  • Initial group of educators selected:
    • All became Google Educator Certified
    • Sent to an EdTechTeam Google Summit
  • PL provided to Administrators and their Support Staff
    • Embed the integration of GAFE (Docs & Surveys)
    • Little things like sending newsletters out as links to Google Docs, not attachments.
  • Introduction to Educational Technology Resources
  • Detailed planning and finding “Friends” locally & across the nation
  • 8 Actions You Need to Take to Promote GAFE Adoption

PL to Staff

  • Staff Proficiency Surveys to develop District & Building Plans
  • Embedded learning with Newsletters
  • Google Proficiency Challenges
  • House Parties and Open Houses
  • Newgle Unconference
  • Google Educator Certification for all staff
  • EdTechTeam Google Summits and “Core of Ninjas” as presenters
  • PL Days – team challenges
  • Social Media Twitter and Google Plus
  • Don’t make the extra step! Make extra STEPS!

Innovate like a Turtle – go Slow


  • Device
    • Self-insure program – $50, use to replace hardware
    • Inventory Management (Follett Destiny – used in libraries)
    • The Take Home Debate
    • Setup Policy & Procedures
  • Each building in charge
    • Deployment and Management Teams
  • Parent Nights
  • Check Everything … the $50K mistake (Have a Great Partner)

Using SAMR Model for Technology Integration

Support & Next Steps

  • Board of Education Presentations (3 times per year, by students)
  • CT Data Privacy Law
  • Apps and Extensions: Whitelist or Blacklist? (Recommend a whitelist of actual extensions. Have had extensions loaded that kids over-use a key – ie flappy bird type extension)
  • Hour of Code
  • District Website
  • Newgle Nuggets & Student Challenges
  • Newgle Ninja Challenges
  • Microsoft vs. Google
  • Visits from other districts
  • Schoology and a Digital Content Specialist

Support & Next Steps

  • Training for Google Apps
  • Professional Learning
    • Rewarding Presenters (Rubber duck – end of year duck race, top 3 won professional learning)
    • Student Enrichment & Assistance (Techsperts & Genius Bar)
    • NHS Tech Support
    • EdTech Enrichment
  • Google Certified Trainers & Google Certification Bootcamps
    • Bring a Bootcamp to your district!
  • Classroom Mgt (Promevo, HP Classroom Mgr, GoGuardian, LanSchool)

Great Partners

  • EdTechTeam: Bootcamps, Summits and Custom PL
  • texthelp: Premium Version Free for Teachers
  • Amplified Lab Discount Code: Salerno
  • DocentEdu

FETC 2017 – Get Your Chrome On

fetc_desktoplogoFETC 2017 – Get Your Chrome On

** These are my notes from the session. – Todd

Jo Jacobson
Digital Learning Coach
Eastern Carver County Schools

Terah Robinson
Digital Learning Coach
Eastern Carver County Schools

Presentation Link:

Why is Chrome Different?

Chrome is just a browser until you sign in. Once you sign in, your data is synced to whatever machine you are logged into. Don’t forget to logout on a public device.

Jo and Terah demonstrated a lot of Chrome Extensions that they use. It was great to see them actually in use, not just telling about them. Each one worked the way it was supposed to, and they obviously knew what they were doing, as the extensions were just second nature to them.

Chrome Extensions


  • Turn your extensions on and off based on when you need to use them.
  • The more extensions you have on at one time the slower Chrome will run

Share to Classroom

  • Push websites, videos, and assignments out to your students without being in classroom
  • Create assignments right from your browser
  • Students can push back to teacher, but no one else

Move it

  • Reminds you to do something at intervals
  • Set a time and get moving
  • Every 15 minutes for example
  • Get the wiggles out


  • PDF document viewer and markup tool
  • Students can highlight text and write on a text, then save it to drive

Adblock Plus

  • Blocks ads on websites
  • Marks how many ads have been blocked per page
  • Not pushed to all students, because some of the math sites, math expression use pop ups, etc.

Google Similar Pages

  • Quickly preview other pages that are similar
  • Students do not have to leave the browser to find other sites


  • Quickly summarize the website in a paragraph to see if you want to continue reading
  • Reads the first couple of sentences


  • Cites a highlighted portion of a website or an entire website
  • Creates a spreadsheet in drive and saves all resources by date accessed


  • Print only what you want, or PDF
  • Make font bigger, add notes to document

Google Translate

  • Translate any webpage into any other language
  • Do not have to leave Chrome

Note Anywhere

  • Add a note to any web page. The note “sticks” and is remembered the next time you visit the site
  • Find all websites you have notes on through options

Select and Speak

  • Read any text in the browser
  • Highlight text and hit play button-Pause in toolbar

Save to Google Drive

  • Save any website as a PDF to your Google Drive and read it later

Awesome Screenshot

  • Take screenshots of portion or whole page, and annotate!

MB Ruler

  • Measure angles and distances
  • Pops up on screen
  • Shows grid and web measurement


  • Draw on websites, highlight, add text
  • Save as an image

Distraction Free YouTube

  • Take away all the distractions of YouTube
  • It does not filter ads from beginning of video
  • Sidenote: (will display videos without ads prior, mid, or post)

Reading Ruler

  • Double click to highlight a row on a webpage
  • Use the arrow key up and down to move from line to line

`Keep Awake

  • Keep your browser awake, useful on a TV or projector
  • Switch between modes like on (system is prevented from sleeping), or power saving settings are left unchanged

Talk and Comment

  • Allows you to comment in the browser and Gsuite
  • Supplies a unique URL to hear the comment, then copy and paste into students’ doc to hear your feedback


  • Playback the revision history of any Google Doc
  • Watch how a document came to be, as a teacher you can see how a students’ work was completed.


  • Insert bitmojis into any document or project as you type
  • Copy and paste them virtually anywhere

Tab Resize

  • Allows you to show multiple screens at one time (tabs)



FETC 2017 – Mad Caucus for School Technology

fetc_desktoplogoMad Caucus for School Technology

Hall Davidson

Hall would bring up a technology and compare it’s uses, or bring up two technologies and the audience would have to choose which one they would use. We would go back and forth really quick, some of my notes may be missing some details. (Remember, these are my quick notes, may not be useful to you, but they’ll help me remember the key information.)

Demonstrated a $3 microscope, that can work with a smartphone, doesn’t need a plan, just camera, wifi, apps, file transfer.

Mystery Skype or Google Lit Trip

Mystery Skype – students Skype with another classroom, can can only ask Yes/No questions to figure out where they are.

Google Lit Trip – using Google Earth tools, learn about things that took place in the book, and follow along where things happen. Kids can build their own, and do a little bit of coding to create the trips for others to use / share. Another product called Tour Builder, that works on a Chromebook, that works with Google Earth to do something similar.

Holes in the wall – wall opened up so students can see plumbing in the wall

Step and Repeat Wall #gocrickets – media festivals, can take selfies and photos in front of the wall. Like an Oscar Wall

Blackboard desk, use glow in the dark or bright colored markers.

VR in techbook

VR of classroom using Theta camera

AR for STEAM. From Quiver plus Osmo. Osmo records the drawing, speeds it up, and then turns into augmented reality.

Google Cardboard camera


Ricoh Theta SC camera

VR files, can now embed extra files, and such right away, like a google form, or other tools. The ability to build content into VR could change the world. Much more engaging that just watching.


PhotoMath or Digital Math Text

PhotoMath App will look at math equations and determine the answer. So now you can give the kids the answer, and ask them for the question.

Digital TechbookMath

Real Time Math Data or Real Time Solstice – that is put a stick in the ground, measure the shadow, do the same thing in another place, and you can figure out the circumference of the Earth. Similarly with real-time math data, ie. stats from the NBA.

Handout is at