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ISTE 2017 – Geekbumps and Nerdgasms

Todd’s notes: This is one of those crazy amazing sessions where the presenter talks about a whole bunch of new things that he has seen, gadgets, software, you name it. Some of them are practical, some are crazy, some are crazy expensive. This is just a sample of some of the items we talked about. You can link to all of the info in the presentation below. It is always fun to listen to Steve’s somewhat satirical look at some of the crazy things that are out there!

A Trek Beyond the Bleeding Edge
Steven Dembo

Steve reminded us that this session could be expensive..

Pyro Mini Fireshooter ($150) – intended for magicians, and stage acts, literally launches fireballs, about the size of a package of cigarettes.

iBag 2 – timer that locks bag during high spending times. Warning LEDs blink when wallet is removed. GPS tracker vibrates when entering spending zones. Bluetooth tracker if bag moves a distance away from you.

Sweep N Sing – broom with karaoke microphone attached to the end.

f.flashes – Interactive LED lashes

LEGO Tape – $5.50 – tape that you can connect LEGO to.

Ninja Flex – filament and instructions to make your own LEGo tape

Kerastase Hair Coach – Wi-fi enabled hair brush. When you are brushing your hair, it will sense how healthy your hair is.

Hidrate Spark ($46.95)  – reminds you when to drink

Foldimate – Robotic clothes folding. Put it next to your dryer and it folds automatically.

Predator X21 ($9000) – Most powerful laptop out there, and it’s large.

Amazon Echo – family of products to talk/interact with. Echo wand – will scan a barcode, and add into your shopping cart in Amazon, once you get to $40, it will ship your items for free. This space of products is starting to fill out – lots of options! Now an echo ring – voice translator and personal assistant.

Bouncy Bands ($15) – stretches around bottom of the desk, kids put their feet on them and bounce around. Could do it with a tire tube too!

Rotablade Stubby ($120-650) – Fancy spinner and fidget toys

Tech Tats – temporary tattoos, soundwave (permanent tattoos).

Silhouette Temporary Tattoo Paper

Bare Conductive – Touch Board Starter Kit – may actually work on skin – not that it’s been approved or tested… Nudge nudge wink wink

Circuit Scribe Maker Kit ($70) – use a pen to draw a circuit. And all kinds of pieces to make circuits.

Levis Commuter Smart Jacket – $350, Jacquard – you can use different motions to interact with your phone, like answering, making calls, etc.

Game of Drones

Kitables Drone Kits ($50-$70) – Build your own drone, but you do have to solder some wires, and some zip ties. Can 3D print your own drone frames to improve.

Flybrix – $249 with a controller. Some parts are built with LEGO, but way more than a LEGO drone. Software is awesome, you can access and record all the data – around how the drone is flying, etc. Even logic around how the lights work, and in the future, how it flies. There is a Chrome extension that lets you see all the data about the drone, in real time.

Eachine X200 Wizard ($130-200) – modular

Quadcopter -> just flies

Drone -> brain

Parrot Mambo ($100) – One button to take off. One button to land. It takes care of itself. Has bumpers around the rotors, so you can bump into things. Can attach a camera.

Raspberry Pi Zero W – Now has bluetooth and wi-fi for $10.

  • Pi-Hole – Black hole for Internet Advertisements

Prusa i3 MK2S ($700-$900) 3D Printer Ridiculously reliable. Upgrade kit – multimaterial upgrade kit -> Now 4 different colours at once.

Polar 3D – continuously 3D print, printer is on a track.. Cloud connected, you don’t need to dedicate a computer to it.

Rocketbook Everlast ($75). Make notes, take pictures, then microwave the book and it erases. Seriously! You take notes in it like a regular notebook. Take picture of the page, which will automatically store it, then erase the pages by microwaving the whole book.

Elbow Cassette Player – USB connected.



ISTE 2017 – Keynote Jennie Magiera

IMG_3808Morning everyone! We’re getting ready to start the Tuesday morning keynote, and we have another live band – looks like a group of high school students – and they are marvelous! You’d have to be to get up so early in the morning and start playing music just before 8:00 AM for a crowd of thousands of people. Way to go Charlie Bell!

IMG_3810IMG_3809Mila welcomed everyone to the day. And talked briefly about ISTE Awards, and showed some slides of the recipients who were recognized yesterday at the Awards Luncheon. As you saw from my post yesterday, I appreciate how ISTE spends some extra time and effort recognizing people who make a difference.

IMG_3811Clara Alaniz @techclara – Plano Independent School District

Clara’s parents grow Cilantro in their garden.

Collaborate, Learn, Instruct, Create, Know (CLICK) – Education and Technology Tips for students and teachers.

Perhaps as professionals we are gardeners – cultivating our garden and encouraging kids. Empowered professionals have the responsibility to be advocates, so that all learners have access to everything they need. All of our students deserve to be the surprising Cilantro, who grow wherever they can.

ISTE Standards are not things to do, but a way to be. When you consider future goals against the Standards, you have to think about “What do I want to be?” The student standards help students become empowered learners.

It’s nice to be surprised when the Cilantro grows, but make the effort “Grow!” Make it happen, even though you’ll have setbacks of your own!

And now here’s Richard – ISTE CEO

Richard invited a group of students from Texas, Chicago, and Michigan to have a conversation. From Grade six to first year College.

IMG_3812Richard asked: Can you tell us about the most memorable learning experience you had? There were examples about how students were engaged in hands on activities, or in person things – not just paperwork. Using a 3D printer for one of the first time, spent too much time on one thing.

If someone asked about gaming, what would you say?

Games are great because they make education fun, and when it’s fun, people learn things. Children want to learn, but they want to have fun doing it. (This from the Grade six student). Created a game in scratch. Another student would like to start his own YouTube channel. Was inspired by all the people who used YouTube to inspire others in so many areas – and get paid for it too!;) Perhaps would like to inspire basketball players and get his name out there.

If there was one thing they wish we would stop doing in Education? Homework. Desks. (Yep, from the kids)

Hilda had a chance to join a program for girls who code, and was so excited to participate. But it was hard to convince her family, who had recently moved to the U.S., but with the help of translators and lots of support, she made it happen.

What type of tech should be used more in Education? Definitely VR. Saw a glove that had resistance, so you could reach out and touch a virtual object, but also feel that you were holding something. This creates a more immersive experience for students who are doing a more in-depth project.

What do you want to do when you grow up? An engineer or professional basketball player, Biological Oceanographer, game developer, computer scientist, a teacher (elementary school), and then President.

Any advice for teachers? Make education as fun as possible! Know your students, know what they like / don’t like. Hands on doesn’t just have to be with science, with words, math, etc. use real life experiences, not just worksheets.

Great conversation with a group of kids! Way to go kids, good job Richard!

Keynote – Jennie Magiera
Chief Innovation Officer
Des Plaines, Illinois

IMG_3816Book: Courageous Adventures

Nervous about speaking today a little, because it’s like speaking in front of your family.

Jennie opened with a story about a little girl in Korea. Dad moved to the U.S., and then after some time invited the kids to move to New York City – which was dazzling. Excited because her mother was taking her to city hall to get an American name – which meant she could re-invent herself. And she would get a new name “Carol”. City Hall clerk asked how to spell it. However with language barrier, Carol became Kello. When she went to school, it was difficult as she was made fun of, and this became her single story – the girl with the mistake name.

In fourth grade things changed, and the teacher asked what she wanted to be known as. She thought it was great to be asked, and she decided to be called Katie. When she turned 18 years old, she legally changed her name to be Katie. She grew up to be funny, amazing, and outgoing and adventurous, and that was Jennie’s Mom.

Teachers can help you be your whole self – advice from her Mom.

Ted Talk – The Danger of the Single Story

Stereotypes aren’t wrong. They’re just incomplete. – Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie

Single Stories, or Untold Stories. What are our untold stories:

Chapter 1 – The Single Story of Student Self-Image – The Untold Story of Limitless Potential

Jennie told us about when she first received some Dot and Dash robots, and a young girl said “I can’t code, I’m a girl.” Jennie had a video with a group of young girls who had coded a robot to dance. They started on Monday, and by Thursday had made a video of the robot dancing. They got Dash to be their fourth dancer. Solving their problems through code. Afterwards they were embarrassed that they figured they couldn’t do it at the beginning.

You can be whoever you want, and you can be the first.

Chapter 2 – The Single Story of Teachers – The Untold Story of Wizards

Jim is an attorney, but that’s not who he is, that’s his job. He does other things. But for Jennie, being an Educator is not just what she does, but it is what she IS. Jennie’s fourth grade teacher who burst into the room looking for her pet dinosaur, getting started as an adventure. Jennie reminded us that her favourite book was the Hobbit, and Gandalf was looking for someone to share his adventure. Anyone can start their own adventure and invite people around.

Teachers are Wizards

Chapter 3 – The Single Story of Resistant Colleagues – the Untold Story of Friendly Dragons

Jennie’s first ISTE conference was in 2012 and thought it felt like a wizard convention. These are teachers who get it. But going home is really hard, back to our mortal realms. Going home from ISTE is devastating.

I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging…. and it’s very difficult to find anyone.

Going home it’s hard because you’re leaving your people who understand, who are running towards you. But going home some people are running away. Are we losing some of our wizarding magic? How can people be like this?

Jennie’s Mom told her the fanciful story of people in Korea who couldn’t go up the mountain, because a dragon was in the way. A brave villager decided to get there, and discovers the dragons arm is covered in thorns. Helps the dragon, who then transforms into a friendly dragon, who happens to be the village chief.

Therefore when you are working with someone who is pushing back, take a step back and listen to them, and help with their problem first, before you expect them to listen to you! You can help them turn into a wizard.

Chapter 4 – The Single Story We Tell the World – The Untold Story of Our Inner Selves

New York Times – Don’t let Facebook Make You Miserable

Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides. Of course this is difficult advice to follow. Jennie shared a personal story about how she looked for help through Facebook, and within a day had over 100 people call, text, e-mail, or even show up at her house to encourage her.

There are fails in school, but that’s not a reason to pack up your teacher bag and leave it.

Chapter 5 – How Technology Helps Us Shatter the Single Story

Technology should enhance our connection to each other. Your story can only be told if you have an audience. It can only be told if you are connected to someone else. I can create a blog post, a piece of media, etc. and I can share this with the world. Our kids love to share their untold stories. They love to post to YouTube, they love to see that people are looking at their videos and listening to their stories. They said the best things in school was sharing thoughts and stories with video.

When we allow our students to have those voices, and the audience cares about what they have to say – it unlocks something within them.

Jennie shared a story how the local media only reported about the violence that happened in their city, and they started telling their stories, and they were picked up by the media, and they sent people out to talk to the kids. And the kids had a voice. And the kids were heard.

It is incredible what we can do today, how small the world has become.

Challenge: Tell your #ISTEStory. Take video, post it, and Jennie’s students will review.

Epilogue – The Blue Bird

Teachers can help you be your whole self. Jennie returned to see her fourth grade teacher to thank her. The teacher had been in touch with her Mom as she grew up, and she knew what she was up to. Her teacher told her she had to be herself. It’s great that she wants to be more like her teacher, but she needs to be her own teacher.

If you try to be me, then who will be you?

What story do you have left to tell? What stories will inspire our students to be better?

Find the untold stories and set them free!

What makes a great speaker? Is it amazing slides? Is it videos that have been made by kids? Is it awesome music and soundtracks? Is it a live band? Is it because you have accomplished something amazing?

It’s when you speak from the heart. It’s when you tell your personal story. It’s when people can connect with you because you reached out to them. Jennie was this and more. Thank you!


ISTE 2017 – Day Four

Here we are on Day Four! This is a bit of an unusual conference day for me! Started with some sessions in the morning, check my other postings for some of those.

By the way, my hotel has make-your-own waffles – shaped like the State of Texas. Had one this morning – was delicious!


But then I had a chance to participate / volunteer with the ISTE Awards lunch.

ISTE does a really good job of recognizing the work and effort put forth by it’s members. There is recognition for the many volunteer hours put in by ISTE members, which include certificates and signed letters from the President of the United States. There are other individual recognition awards given for various reasons. There are people recognized from each of the Professional Learning Networks.

There are Making IT Happen awards done by many affiliates on behalf of ISTE, and there are Marking IT Happen awards made nationally by ISTE to deserving people!

Many of these folks are invited to this special lunch today, and it was an amazing lunch, followed by many awards presentations! It was wonderful to be a part of this! What was my role? You know, it was pretty small, my job was to run the slide show and try and keep the secret information secret until the recipients were revealed. I was extremely impressed with the ISTE staff who ran this day, and made a lot of people, who were very deserving, feel very special! I’m proud to part of an organization that does it’s best to recognize people! Thanks ISTE!

As soon as it was finished, around 1:30 PM, I had to quickly run to my volunteer shift. For a number of years I have been a Volunteer Champion. The ISTE Conference needs a lot of volunteers to run, and I find it a GREAT way to get to know people, and help make a difference! As a Volunteer Champion, I have to put in eight hours of volunteering throughout the conference – I do this in two different four hour shifts.

Today’s shift was in an Ask Me booth. We are placed in a high traffic area, available to try and answer whatever questions we can from the 21,000 people who are here. Most questions are around “How do I get to ____?” So we really have to know the facility, and how to use the ISTE 2017 app, and just general area. We get questions like “Where can I get a coffee? Where is the parking lot? Where can I get food? How come I can’t find room 217?” and so on. Here’s a picture of my with my co-volunteer – 

Ask Me

It is an absolute blast to chat with people all afternoon long and help them get around. Everyone should volunteer, even if it is only an hour or two. You will never regret it!

Was hoping to go to Lulu’s Bakery tonight to try the 3 lb Cinnamon Roll, sadly I couldn’t get a big enough group together – there’s no way I’m going to eat one all by myself! So went for a quick dinner, and spent the evening catching up on e-mail, and organizing my notes and gear for tomorrow!

ISTE 2017 – Must-have Google Add-ons and Features

In case you checked in late good friendly user, these posts are a series of my notes from the various sessions and presentations at the ISTE 2017 Conference in San Antonio. Can’t vouch for the entertainment value of these notes, but can vouch for the valuable information you might find within!

Bret Gensburg, University Of Akron

Presentation and files at

You know you’re in the right spot, when you walk in and the crazy music is blaring and Bret dancing around in his cray loud pink shirt!

Bret reminded us of how to share Google Doc URLs, adding /export?format=pdf means it will automatically download the most recent document, as PDF, without requiring a Google account/login.

Sheets can also be published, and then the link stays the same, even though you may continue to update the sheet. You can even publish only certain sheet tabs, so that people can access what you give them access to, and you can keep other data secret/private/inaccessible. Diagrams -> Connect more Apps, use for later.

Google Docs

  • You can use the File menu within any doc type, to open any doc type.
  • There is now a Page Setup, so you can choose sizes, and backgrounds
  • Bookmarks, links within the document to help yourself.
  • Can set headers, and use it to jump around in the document
  • More Fonts, you can add more like Princess Sophia font

Docs Add-ons

Remove Line Breaks – highlight text in your doc that you copied from somewhere, and line breaks are messing you up. Tool will remove all the line breaks. Very quick and easy.

** Don’t forget that you can also search for double spaces ”  ” and do a replace with a single space.

Text Cleaner – Can do things like remove line breaks, multiple spaces, etc. But you can configure it to remove all kinds of things, and preserve different things like Bold, underline, smart quotes, etc. Very cool.

URL Shortener – Longer the URL, more difficult the QR codes, so shortening them helps out. Have a long one in the doc, can shorten right there within the doc.

** will also track how many times people use your shortened URLs

Capitals – can change cases, have every word changed, or sentences, or whatever. Very slick.

Doc Tools – Sort things, all kinds of useful things within Docs – Can work on concept maps, collaboratively. Can use them right within Docs. Can update from within and without. Very nice.

Doc to Form – Can take your doc, and turn it into a form. Handy if you already have it laid out in a Doc. Of course starting it in a Form is a better idea if starting from scratch.

Avery Label Merge – Create your merged labels from within Docs and Sheets

Koodid Barcodes – Setup Barcodes – really easy to insert QR codes in your doc

Twitter Curator – Pull info from Twitter feed

Sheets Tools

  • Label / Named Ranges – handy when building your formulas, and as data changes from year to year, easy to update.
  • Filter data, and Filter Views -> Save the filter as a view, easy to quickly look at something, but when others view the file, they see the original view
  • ctrl-v, you can paste the data, or a link to the data, so you get the updates, or use ctrl-shift-v for other features.

Crop Sheets – select your data, and crop the blanks.

autoCrat – automatically create documents based on data within your sheet. ie. make certificates for students. Unbelievably powerful add-on

Power Tools – Remove all kinds of stuff in your sheets, like spaces, leading or trailing spaces. Split columns, does not delete or modify the original data, and moves all the other columns automatically.

Remove Duplicates – remove all duplicate data, can even compare two sheets and modify appropriately.

Bret ran through a whole bunch of other great things, just too many things to document here. His list of add-ons is amazing, and I will need hours to go through the rest of them to see what best to use.

This is one of those sessions where the hour disappears in like five minutes. He could go for hours, and we would all be there until the end. Another amazing presentation Bret!

ISTE2017 – Day Three

So today is my third day here, and lots of things happening! I didn’t have any commitments first thing in the morning. Went out to look for breakfast and Denny’s had a 30 minute wait, so decided to keep walking and a little while later, found myself at an IHOP Express – nothing like a quick 2 egg breakfast to start the day!

Still had a couple of hours so I went for a walk, checked out Hemisphere Park, walked around the Tower of the Americas. Pretty quiet, but maybe Sunday morning isn’t the biggest draw. Interesting dynamic – some old fountains that have just a puddle of water near by, and other fountains that are sitting with stagnant water, and finally a couple of fountains that are amazing! Looks like lots of work being done as San Antonio gets ready to celebrate it’s 300th birthday in 2018.

I was due for Volunteer Champion Orientation, so I headed into the convention centre. I noticed that everyone was walking around with ice cream bars (or bricks), so I walked up to get one, and lo and behold if it isn’t my good friend Cameron from Australia, handing out ice cream on his volunteer shift! Only at an ISTE Conference, would a Canadian walk into a convention centre in Texas, to be served ice cream by an Australian!;) It was great seeing Cameron, and a brief hello! Apparently he had just arrived mere hours earlier!

Volunteer Champion Orientation #iste17

w/Elizabeth Glau

This year I volunteered again as a Volunteer Champion. Each year I try to do some volunteering as this is the BEST way to meet a lot of people, AND get very familiar with the facility, conference, everything. I encourage everyone to volunteer. A Volunteer Champion has to volunteer 8 hours, and typically has a more detailed job – it is a lot of fun! And you get a t-shirt! Don’t forget, wear your t-shirt, be at the info booth 10 min prior to your shift.

Changes to the conference:

  • Added treats to community network fair – poster area
  • Treats on the way out of the keynote
  • Wellness Lounge
  • Chair massages at Presenters of ISTE Lounge
  • AR Game – search “ISTE 2017 AR Game”


It’s a little different than the last time ISTE was in San Antonio. Level 2 does not connect to all level 2 rooms. You can either shortcut through the Expo Hall, or go up to level 3, and then go back down to the other level 3. Rooms 220+ are in the Main Lobby Overlook. The other rooms on level 2 need to accessed the other way.

New ISTE 2017 mobile app

  • Save resources from sessions and exhibitors in your digital tote
  • Notifications and messages from ISTE are in “Notifications”
  • Refer to Schedule and Your membership pages to answer attendee questions
  • Access code on badge ticket or “Forgot Access Code?”
  • You don’t have to sign in
  • Maps / Smart Route
  • Information section
  • Feedback page


  • What works for you
    • Learning style
    • Session types
  • Smart searching
    • Filters
  • Register/Favorite
    • Register in app now
    • Favorite
  • Add to agenda

My Conference

  • Plan your schedule
  • Track sessions attended via Favorites to receive a certificate of participation (conference website)
  • New badge scanning adds contacts to device
  • Tickets to pre-registered sessions can be found here

Lots of great content. Elizabeth and her team have done an amazing job getting everything ready, AND all kinds of great things in the ISTE 2017 conference app! Just spectacular!

Now off to ISTE Ignite!

That was more fun than a barrel of monkeys! Met up with my good friend Lyle Roberts from Foothills School Division, so we headed out to get a sandwich for lunch, before heading back to the opening Keynote.

Keynote was great, and also met up with Dave, and Nikki from Sturgeon School Division, and Jeff Cullen from Foundations for the Future Charter Academy!

After the keynote Jeff, Lyle, and I headed down to the Riverwalk, and had supper at Dick’s Last Resort! Any time I get to visit with these two esteemed gentlemen, I learn a lot! And this particular restaurant is perhaps unlike any other…. It was an adventure.

The end of a super day, got back to my hotel and discovered that the wifi in my room wasn’t working. (DHCP wasn’t working) Spent 40 minutes on the phone with tech support, with someone who clearly didn’t know what they were doing. They finally reset their system and voila, it came up, so I can update my blogs!

Tomorrow is going to start a little earlier, my first session is at 8:15! Signing off now, with some pictures from my earlier walking!


ISTE 2017 – Ignite

IMG_3771ISTE Ignite sessions are when presenters get five minutes, and 20 slides, all set on a timer to do a presentation. It is really fun, really short, and you get a pile of great topics in a short period of time! Sometimes the talks aren’t great, but you know it will only be five minutes. Sometimes the five minutes is up, and you feel like the presentation is just beginning!

AR & VR to MR – Jaime Donally

No Real World, digital. Can be recordings, can be digital rendering, etc. What is MR? Merged Reality – Mixed Reality. Interact and manipulate real world.

AR adds a layer, whereas MR figures out where you are and adds more. She feels this is a game changer, where you can change your classroom into a digital playground. Now uses 3D tracking and even does facial recognition. Take a 360 and make it informative, and creative. Classroom Hololens for the price of an iPad, from Microsoft.

CoSpaces, MergeCube (hologram cube).


Bonnie McClelland @BMcClelland24

A Gingerbread man taught my Kindergarten class the 4C’s. Kids made gingerbread cookies, and one went missing over night, posted a notice to Twitter. Received a false positive when kids in Chicago saw their notification. Another time got a picture from another school, in another town, with a team of eighth graders they were working with. Kids got to chat and interact with the other kids.

Kids used Seesaw to create a story in their digital portfolios. Used Padlet to explore. A week later the kids saw tweets with the gingerbread man on the way home, with pictures of where he was at.

Since then the gingerbread man has traveled around and has become a model.

Curran Dee @CurranCentral – student


I want us to ask ourselves every day, how are we using technology to make a real difference in people’s lives? – Barack Obama

How can you be that kind of kid offline? The name on the front of the jersey means more than the name on the back.

Curran had a lot of great content, and spoke so well, I didn’t get the greatest notes. Check out DigCitKids

All it takes is one, one person to stand up, speak up, and make a difference.

Patrick Donovan @donovanscience

We can now make it accessible for all!

We know all kids aren’t clones, they all work differently. Students can use all kinds of technology to help overcome challenges that they have. Patrick had a hearing problem, and had to get a hearing aid to help him in school.

Some of the tools, like Text to speech make a world of difference for kids today. OpenDyslexic font. Color Enhancer chrome extension. Youtube transcript and closed captioning tools

We should use whatever tools we can, and design around accessibility!

Antha Holt

PD in the Wild – Time to breakout of traditional PD. Student engagement is low. Disengaged Learners: not doing great.

What is the answer? Not just technology, but effective PD. But it’s hard because lots of PD is Sage on the Stage, and it’s not great. Meaningful PD can include Peer Coaching, but challenging to make the time, or get help on your topics. Fortunately there are conferences like ISTE that help.

Then there are those that go out on their own.

What about BreakoutEDU?


Austin Tong (student)

Student Choice in Technology iPads, Minecraft, and Digital Tools

Personalized Learning – Austin is interested in sports, hockey, baseball, traveling, and Harry Potter.

Creating Engaging Work – students want work that is creative, challenging, and satisfying.

Adding iPads made it more interesting for kids, but just because you use a certain app, doesn’t make it engaging for all kids. YouTube is also great, using Kerbal Space Program.

Pocket Planes is another great app, helps learn all kinds of great stuff. Plague Inc – Geography and Science Hopscotch – Coding, Game Design Brain Pop – I can learn anything! iMovie, Pic Collage, Showbie

Sometimes no tech is best – technology is a tool, and you have to find the right tool for whatever the lesson is.

Know who your kids are! You can’t create work that teaches all the kids all of the time, but you can reach every kid sometime

Holly Clark @HollyClarkEdu

Kids can’t believe how hard it was when we were kids and had telephones with cords, and cameras with films, and TV’s with a knob, rather than a remote control, go to the music store to buy CD’s, or cassette mix tapes.

Kids are not so much tech savvy, but tech dependent. They don’t consume on one device, they consume on five.

Holly was hilarious and talked about the changes, oh, the horrors that we had to go through that kids can’t understand.

Kids heroes are from their own generation.

Change Your Mindset

Kerry Gallagher @KerryHawk02

This is Your Brain on Technology

The Senior Class Prank – setup hotspot clusters to try to disrupt the wifi, wasn’t successful because the wifi was so important to the rest of the kids.

Common Sense Media says parents are starting at screens 7 hours per day, teens 6 hours, and tweens 4 hours.

How do we teach the kids to use their screens in healthy ways?

This is your brain – use it well!

Pablo Hernandez (student) @SteamNerds

Started a STEAM club to code robots at school, but as a second grader couldn’t join the 5th and 6th graders. His Mom was the teacher, so let him join unofficially. By 2nd semester he was a junior instructor showing older kids how to use advanced features. He decided to create his own STEAM club.

Don’t wait for opportunity – Create it!

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas Edison

Found a college professor who was willing to work with kids, and started a coding camp.

The moment when you want to quit, is the moment when you need to keep pushing.

What would have happened if he had allowed people to tell him he wasn’t old enough to learn code.

Tiffany Lucey @TiffanyLucey

Teaching for Social Justice

Want to look at the connection between individuals and society and how to make it better for all.

When you see an idea that works, share that idea – be the ripple!

Tiffany talked about how to connect with your elected officials and lobby for improvement. Be an advocate. Think about what you can do to make life better.

Belinda Tang (student)

Founder of Studio1ne – creating a group for individuals passionate about film making. School didn’t offer anything, so they made their own opportunity.

How do we help our school and community?

Kim Pollishuke @KimPollishuke

Unlock the Potential – How BreakoutEDU is shifting mindsets.

We have to remember to depend on each other more, and support each other more. We’re good at doing things by ourselves, but we have to realize we don’t have to do them alone. Working in isolation is a thing of the past, and Breakout supports that.

Engaging in a Breakout is not innovation itself, but the skills you need are inherent in an Innovators Mindset.

We are allowed to have fun in our learning, not just the students. Trying something different can transform a classroom.

Studios, Not Classrooms: How to Rethink Learning, Bill Selak

Words matter. Classroom has a lot of baggage attached to it. We have a lot of expectations around what should happen in a classroom. But should it be like that?

Starbucks wants to be the third place after home, work, that people want to be in.

Imagine sitting Cemetary Style…;)

Hillbrook Way

Ask, Start, Collaborate, Show

Reimagine Classrooms – figure out what works, what doesn’t work, and share via podcast. What if it’s more than just furniture? Start with flexible furniture. Only makes a difference if you put student choice at the centre of everything you do.

The 21st Century has been here for 18 years.

Learning is Less task-based, More collaboration. It’s noisy. It’s messy. Less of the teacher, and more of the student.

Less passive, more creating

Students need to be writing books, making movies, publishing books, distributing movies, sharing their thoughts ideas and projects with the world.

Redesigning School: Lessons From the Wild Kingdom, Donna Teuber 


Just because you learned it in school doesn’t mean it’s true.

The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education. – Albert Einstein

Are we teaching the skills of yesterday, to the students of today and tomorrow? Picture us sitting gorillas in desks at school – it’s really silly, we’d never do it…

Perseverance (rhino) – you keep going, you give them more chances.

Problem Solvers – like the crow, they can figure it out

Adaptation – school needs to change, or we’re going to be extinct. Lizards can adapt to current situation

Diversity – so important where bias leads to hatred, need to be mindful to respect and appreciate our differences.

Teamwork – opportunities to collaborate

We need to re-focus, and re-design from a different lens.

I am not a failure!, Xavier Zeller – student 

For six years he couldn’t figure out how to be successful in school. Within ten minutes of the year starting he was frustrated.

School made some changes, and he learned to solder, and some hardware, and then coding with minecraft and raspberry pi. 3D printed a fidget spinner. Made a t-shirt shooter as a class project, and it worked, and he got class credit fr it.

He reads at 12 grade level, but he thought he was failing.

I was not failing, the system was failing me.

Xavier challenged everyone to take what you learn at ISTE Conference, and use it!

Stop Banning the F Word at School, Nathan Kraai @njkraai

FUN! What if every day was like the last day of school?

What if students were bursting down the school doors to get in? Fun and school does not have to be mutually exclusive.

Compliance does not equal engagement

There is this obsession with seriousness in schools….

School should not be an anomaly , but should be fun.

Don’t hesitate to make moments of joy in your classroom. Bring fun and integrate it into your curriculum.

Transform your room to a place where imagination and fun can happen. Let’s “F-up our classrooms”

My #ISTE17: Walking Away a Better Leader, Kyle Hamstra @KyleHamstra

Learners come first. Technology is a tool. You must have heart. Leadership is about people, and their learning comes first. Time to transform our what if to what is. It’s not about the technology, but changing how learning and technology takes place.

Three Critical Concepts for Succeeding with Educational Technology, Jeanette Salinas @JeanetteEDU

1 in 5 kids suffer from a mental illness. Only 1 in 5 of those will get treatment.

Pitfall #1: Technology Motivates – be a coach, but praise and encouragement strategies help to minimize failure. Badges, certificates, points district from learning, and limit. Plussing

Pitfall #2: Technology is Supportive. Typically supports academic achievement. Studies suggest an increase in screentime, limits the childs ability to read social cues and facial cues. What’s in your toolbox?

Pitfall #3: Technology is Adaptive. But does it pivot or change strategies if it’s not working for the student.

What can we do? Reframe failure.

Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and work – Stephen King

Consequences Awareness: How a Game’s Narratives Teach Social Consciousness and Peaceful Resolution, Harlan Baskin- student 

How a game’s narratives teach children resolution as a part of society.

Undertale – teachers peaceful resolution to conflict. It was overfunded. Every character was easily relatable. Different things happened based on the decisions for the player. As the player decides to be more peaceful or more violate, the world changes around them.

You can choose to follow paths, Pacifist, Neutral, Genocide.

Pacifist ending provides resolution to all conflict, allows your character to be happy, along with all of the others.

Neutral has many options and many different branches. You can get a different ending depending on which characters you take mercy on or you destroy. In the end, it only provides closure for the player.

Genocide is where you must destroy everything in your path. No one gets closure, it leaves the player unsatisfied, not exactly understanding what happened. Teaches you the effects of your bad choices.

Connecting Globally and Locally as Educators, Derek Larson @lars3eb

#utedchat – Wednesday at 9 PM – Voxer

#edumatch #passthescopeedu

Not sure what Derek’s point was – could be disconnected, could be something more connected.

Integrated Coaching: Introducing the Library, Technology and Instructional Coaching Team of 3, Tara Linney 

Start with why? Why is library time in a silo, one time a week, or every other week when they can come and check out books. Why is there a computer lab that we go to once in a while?

What if? Turns Why into a possibility. If we talk about Why all the time, people will see it as a complaint.

What if we turned the tech block time into student-led inquiry time?

Using the incredible ISTE Student Standards

How? Work with the willing. Not everyone will be on board with everything all the time. You meet people where they are at, and then create opportunities. Students can share their learnings with each other.

A Case for Authenticity, Immediacy, and Delight in Today’s Education Technology, Reshan Richards

User experience design is not just to solve a problem, but generate new value.

Authenticity – people want to know that their learning interactions are driven by a person, not a machine. Goal is to strengthen relationship between student and teacher.

Immediacy – act on something at the moment when it’s most meaningful. When students create media, they almost immediately replay it again. Typically review a selfie before you post it. Not about attention span or instant gratification.

Delight – Joy leads to successful outcomes. Creativity, Connection, Choice. In some situations it’s hard to find joy and delight.


ISTE 2017 – Keynote – Jad Abumrad

IMG_3777Even though ISTE 2017 Conference started with some dinners on Friday, workshops and Affiliate Summit on Saturday, and more sessions and workshops today, the big kick off is the first keynote, tonight. Always fun to have over 7,000 people in a keynote! (Yes, I did bring a beach ball, and last I checked, it was still bouncing around the auditorium)

IMG_3775While we waited for the keynote to begin, we were entertained by an incredible live band! Three relatively local, and amazingly talented lady musicians provided an amazing prelude. Check out @TiarraGirls. They are three sisters, one of whom is still in high school, one who recently graduated, and one who just finished her freshman year of college.

Mila Thomas – President of ISTE welcomed everyone.

Tonight there are over 21,000 attendees and exhibitors, from all 50 states, and 100 countries.

Mila introduced Richard, who was a Making IT Happen award winner, and started his career as a high school teacher. Most recently was Chief Innovation Officer for the State of Rhode Island.


Richard Culatta – ISTE CEO

Richard also thanked the ISTE Volunteer Board and recognized their help. Richard has been a part of ISTE for many years, and figures he went to his first conference when he was a student teacher. Richard did a “palm app” to find out where people were from, and engaged the audience.

Richard spoke briefly about some of the SHIFTs he has seen.

SHIFT1: From delivery to exploration. Technology has the ability turn students into explorers. Technology allows students to move from being content consumers to explorers.

SHIFT2: From one-size-fits all to personalized.

SHIFT3: Using tech to close the equity gap. Learning opportunities today are often based on the zip they live in, colour of the skin, or the wealth of the parents. Technology can bring access by bringing tools that couldn’t normally be available to them.

Richard used stories from his own experience to talk about these three shifts. And then Richard had some announcements and updates:

ISTE: Vision / Community / Learning Opportunities


ISTE today is releasing the updated ISTE Standards for Educators

ISTE is releasing a new magazine – Empowered Learner

Richard reminded everyone that ISTE members really helped make it happen, moving wireless from 30% of schools to now over 80% of schools.


  • Over 3,000 proposals were submitted for this year’s conference
  • 500 people reviewed proposals
  • 2,500 presenters
  • ISTE Bytes
  • New type of session for next year: members decide who fills the slots
  • Mobile App completely redesigned, can scan directly from the badge into your contacts.
  • There are new events coming this year

Learning Opportunities

  • New books – No Fear Coding
  • Recording many sessions of the conference, going to make them available online for free (starting in August)
  • Professional Learning Networks (PLN)

IMG_3789Ignite Presentation – Sarah Thomas – Prince George’s County Public Schools

Learn to Teach

Sarah asked if we learn to teach, or teach to learn. Sarah is focusing today on the Learner Standard. Every Child Needs a Champion TED talk – referenced by Sarah. When you have peer to peer collaboration between students, it works GREAT. You now have multiple brains on any given problem.

PLNs allow you to make connections and friendship that turn the world into your oyster. These connections become the foundation for learning. These connections kept Sarah in Twitter.

It’s a great time to be an educator, because of all the connections we can make using technology, around the world. Social Media allows us to get together AND advocate for our connections and our students.

Sarah has a Personal Learning Family (PLF)

Why not? be a learner?

Sarah’s presentation can be found at:

One more song from @TiarraGirls

IMG_3792Keynote: Jad Abumrad – Host and creator of public radio’s “radiolab

Jad started by talking a little bit about how they answered the questions, back in 2011, reflecting on how radiolab happened. It wasn’t plans, or anything, but it was just gastric acid, gut churning. This started Jad to thinking about “gut churning”.

One of the first questions that he had to tackle when he got started, was the question of voice. What is your voice? Who are you? Radio exacerbates that, because it is a medium about the voice.

Didn’t have a lot of role models, but at the age of 29 he ended up through a series of turns, in a radio studio. But as he started in the radio business, the microphone would cause his mind to go haywire, and he would start speaking, like others. Jad would be in the studio and someone else’s voice would come out, and he struggled to be himself and speak in his own voice.

What does that mean? To speak in your own voice?

The power of the microphone, is that it creates a massive empty world that seems so much bigger than you, that a thousand voices rush in to fill the void, in your head. Jad asked all of us to speak at our mid-voice tone, and he said, doesn’t it feel weird? And most people said yes.

Although Jad has been doing this for more than 15 years, it is still hard for him to start, and that discomfort is always there, and still takes him a few minutes to get over it.

Jad always “shows his work” that’s what radiolab is all about.

Jad used many examples about how people tell stories, how they build them, and how they try to engage their audio through audio only.

As a reporter, ostensibly, his job is to find answers. But that’s not his job, it’s actually more about questions. Anyone can ask a question, but how are you asking the question. Be the question, your very being could be/ask the question. Are we pursuing the question past the point of reason? Sometimes nothing is good until it stops being reasonable.

Chasing the antelope

If you commit to the question, you may not get the answer, but you will get somewhere else, perhaps somewhere beautiful, somewhere you may not have thought of, something completely different.

Jad used an example of how they tried to demonstrate in radio, how different animals see the colours of a rainbow, and managed to get a choir to help make this possible.

Adjacent possible – what kind of change is available to you at any given moment. Can you know your adjacent possible before you are actually standing in it? Or do you have to go through the pain to get there.

Truly unique keynote: Jad uses various audio/video clips to convey his thoughts and ideas to us. For a guy who works in radio, he does an extraordinary job of using audio AND video mixed together to make his point and engage the audience. We were all mesmerized and spellbound throughout his entire presentation, yet it was incredibly difficult to describe. Jad is truly a visionary person in his own class and field, and I know I’ll be looking up radiolab’s podcasts, as likely will be thousands of others.

Thank you ISTE for an excellent opening keynote!