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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!


ISTE 2017 – Affiliate Summit

Today is one of the most full days of the ISTE Conference. We get the opportunity to hang out with 150 other affiliate leaders from around the world. Okay, so most are from North America, but there’s some from outside too – great to bump into friends of mine from Australia. I’ve been fortunate to meet many people through the Affiliate Summit, and totally one of the most valuable days spent at the ISTE Conference!

**Todd’s note: these are my notes from today, they may not make a lot of sense to all of you wonderful readers – sorry!

Notes and agenda items for today include:

Susan welcomed everyone to the morning, she is pretty excited. Susan asked everyone to quickly introduce each table.

Started out with a keynote presentation from Joe Sanfelippo – it was most excellent. Click here for my notes!

Panel Discussion – The Ever-Evolving Models of Membership

We had a great panel who talked about membership of their organizations. Each affiliate varies greatly in the size of their membership, the services they provide, where they get their funding from, and beyond. We all have our own challenges, and we all can learn from each other. This was a panel where each affiliate briefly talked about their membership structure, and then moved into a Q&A with individual panel members. It was very thought-provoking hearing about their challenges and their plans for improvement.

ICE – Illinois Computing Educators
Individual Membership

Originally membership was part of conference fees, but then folks who didn’t come to the conference, didn’t renew their membership. Now moved to a free membership method.

HSTE – Hawaii Society for Technology in Education
Free membership, one size fits all. Offered during registration at annual conference. Annual renewal. About 1,000 members, public, public charter, private, and higher ed mix. Struggling to decide how they can provide more value to members – content, or training. Nervous about a limited revenue stream. Host a lot of events just through sponsorships, fully volunteer board; one grant funded part-timer on Kaua’i. Three groups that come together to do a conference

EdTechSA, South Australia
Variety of membership types, pre-service teacher membership included in state conference registration. Annual renewal. Volunteer management committee with support from paid Executive Officer.

  • Individual Membership – $78 AUD
  • Pre-service teacher membership – $30 AUD
  • Organizational membership Level A – $154
  • Organizational membership Level B – $230

TIES, Technology Information Educational Services
50th anniversary this year. District, school, professional organizations are members. Fully staffed, about 90.

  • 48 owners – one time payment $5/student and $5/student annually, plus fees.
  • ?? Partners – $5.50/student annually, plus higher fees fees
  • Customers – everyone else, full price for a limited content list

Member make up – all school district staff

MACUL, Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning
Free membership (no dues at all and no tiers of special memberships). 4 full time staff with volunteer board. 24,500 members. 68% teachers, 20% tech director/specialist, 12% other. Primarily Michigan (also have 24 other states, Canada and a few other countries)

Individual membership is tiered based on level of benefits: Basic and Premium. Also, group, institutional and corporate membership. Staff of about 50, additional contractors.

  • 16,000 basic individual members – $125
  • 1,000 premium individual members – $305
  • 70 group membership groups – $1,600-$6,500
  • 37 institutional members – $600
  • 40 corporate members – varies based on number of employees

What are your current challenges?

ICE – Goal for building membership, and moving to free -> ended up doubling membership, and doubling the target / marketing audience.

There was some great conversation around membership and challenges that everyone is facing within their organizations. There are lots of options out there, how do we create and add value so that we can be helpful and attract people to participate.

What is the number one priority for the panel in terms of membership issues for the coming year?

  • Creating more value through PD opportunities
  • Changing bylaws to reflect membership
  • What can we offer as benefits to our members
  • New technologies curriculum

ISTE Standards

Carolyn Sykora from ISTE talked a little bit about ISTE Standards, and worked with a couple of folks on a panel who talked about their implementation.

Affiliate Highlights

One of the fun parts of the day is a number of affiliates volunteer to talk for two minutes or less about something their affiliate is doing. Folks from all over the world chat briefly about some of their exciting activities. Of course with ATLE we talked briefly about some of the things we do, and gave away some swag – including sharing ketchup chips with our table!

Quick note: MassCUE had written a specific poem telling about themselves, it was GREAT!

NHSTE now has a board position focused on advocacy and state level issues.

ISTE Presentation Richard Culatta, CEO and Mila Fuller, President

Mila spoke briefly about how ISTE has spent the last year or so in an “Active Listening” mode learning from affiliates. ISTE is aware that we make a choice to participate and they are listening and paying attention to how they can best help. Mila introduced Richard to share briefly.

Full Board and CEO are all attending the Affiliate Summit for a period of time, and it’s the only event they will all be at together – Richard wanted to emphasize how important affiliates are to ISTE.

Richard suggests that ISTE has three main tools to help us all:

  1. Set the vision
  2. Creating Community
  3. Providing Learning Opportunities

Although there is much work required to keep these going and constantly improving. Richard also reminded us that he believes the ISTE and Affiliate connections are under-utilized. and he would love to work on that and improve it.

Richard talked about how in education we sometimes try to overwhelm people with data, when the stories that we have and can tell will make the difference.

Richard and Mila spent some time in frank discussion and Q&A with the affiliate group. I appreciated his honesty and refreshing willingness to work with people and learn from each other.

Some conversation around visiting other affiliate conferences, and learning from each other – both in front, and behind the scenes. Todd’s note: Need to reach out to Bill @ ASTE, see about dropping in at their conference.

Mmm. Had a great lunch, thank you ISTE!

Now on to ESSA and Advocacy Policy Updates. U.S. topics.

Roundtable Discussions

This is one of the best parts of the day. We have three sessions, and you can choose your session to discuss various topics of interest.

ASTE has a really interesting way of showing sponsors.

Keynote Smackdown

Another great “feature” of the Affiliate Summit is the keynote smackdown. Potential keynote speakers are given 4 minutes to present, while the rest of us get to listen and evaluate for perhaps inviting them to our own conferences. Today we had two presenters, and it worked well. Quick, exciting, and informative. There are some fantastic speakers out there!

@art_cathyhunt talked art and kids. The amount of art and how it can be done now is just extraordinary. Cathy had a great presentation, just hard to explain it in words.

Todd Nesloney

Social Media interns – give the power to the students to tell the story through social media. Perspective of the school, through the eyes of the child.

Todd’s school does an event that that invites Dads to be connected and appreciated. Mystery Skype is a lot of fun, but make sure you don’t use “Y’all” or they will guess you are from the South right now.

Math fair – kids can pick anything that they are passionate about, and they have to show six ways math is involved, the only requirement is that it blows your mind!

Positive Post-it note day.

Educators need to read and improve their learning as well. Book – Kids Deserve It!

The day wrapped up around 4 PM, and then we had a reception at 6 PM. The reception is a social activity with lots of food and visiting and the infamous basket exchange. Again, ISTE treated us very well. There was all kinds of local food that we could snack on all evening. It is great having unsweetened and sweetened iced tea! Lots of nachos and cheese sauce, mac & cheese, and so on. Got to visit with a lot of people – was a great evening!

One of the highlights is the affiliate basket exchange. Each affiliate brings a basket/gift bag full of items that may be local to them, etc. Our bag had all “Canada” stuff like hats, pens, coffee cups, teddy bears, etc. We ended up drawing CUE and they were exceedingly generous with their basket! Enjoyed opening everything.

All in all, it was a great day! Big thanks to Susan Larson, the committee and ISTE for supporting this event!

ISTE 2017 – Affiliate Summit Keynote – Joe Sanfelippo

Part of the Affiliate Summit this year was a keynote from Joe. Joe is an incredible speaker, and while I would normally just included my notes as part of the Affiliate Day, it was too good to wait, and it stands alone.

Joe Sanfelippo, Ph. D.,, @joesanfelippo Fall Creek Wisconsin, home of the Mighty Crickets

Become Unforgettable! The Power of Telling Your Story

Sometimes in public education, we’re allowing people who have no connection with schools, create and manage the narrative. The problem is this isn’t fair to our organizations, to our kids, our communities who work so hard to support. It’s not something we pay for, rather it’s something we invest in.

Today I shall behave is if this is the day I will be remembered. – Dr. Seuss

Core things:

  1. Being intentional about what we do
  2. Build Staff
  3. Open Doors

We tell the story as a team, we can’t do it all by ourselves. The more people we invest in, and develop trust within our classrooms and schools, the better we will become.

In the absence of knowledge, people make up their own.

This isn’t right, but there is a distinct difference between what is right and what is real. If we don’t change the story, we’re giving people the right to tell the story they want to. People tell only the story about what they see, which is never the whole story.

Be Intentional

This always always always starts with culture. Culture is built in 30 second increments. Joe asked us if we believe it’s possible. He had each of us stand six inches away from our neighbour, facing them, for 10 seconds. Imagine what a difference this makes with 30 seconds. Then he asked us to call or text someone who has made a difference in our lives and helped us to become the person we are, in 30 seconds. Therefore we reach the conclusion that yes, 30 seconds can make a difference, and in the course of the day, we have so many 30 second opportunities. What are we doing to build relationships? Does your team know that “you won’t drop them”?

Joe will sometimes send notes home to family members of staff, just to say thank you.

If people know your “why” and how it works, they will follow.

Open Doors

How do we tell the story about our organization? It’s not just words, but it’s pictures, and anything else that helps tell the story. Joe uses #gocrickets on everything. Every picture, every post, every item of clothing has this on it.

There are so many tools, but he finds out where his people are. For Joe’s district, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the places to be.

It’s okay to make a mistake when you are telling the story, as long as you’re telling the story often. If you only tell it once, you have a problem.

This is your opportunity to make people feel like rockstars. They are rockstars, but you need to tell the story, get it out there, and let the world know. You need to tell the story and set the narrative.

Joe did an incredible job encouraging everyone to make a difference. His style and energy was engaging and convincing. Though he is part of small district, his motivation impacts a great number of people. Would love to see Joe as another keynote again!


ISTE 2017 – Day Two

Okay, so I’m here in beautiful San Antonio, where it’s a little warm! Today it was over 30 degrees celsius – IN THE SHADE! Walk out of the shade and we were hitting 40 degrees. (News says it “feels like 45”) I am definitely not used to this kind of weather at all! But I cannot complain, just beautiful!

Had a chance to meet up with a good friend for breakfast! We decided to meet at IHOP, and then discovered it was an IHOP Express, in the mall. Not quite what we were looking for, so ended up at Denny’s.

WHOA! I forgot how big their portions are! I ordered a Sticky Bun Pancake Breakfast, and it came on TWO plates! Two LARGE plates! Ouch, I think it was enough for a whole day! Was a great visit catching up, and I was full by the end.

Then, back to the hotel to get some work done, catch up on e-mails, etc.

Around lunch time I headed out for a walk over to see the Alamo. It’s an important piece of history for Texas, and well worth the visit. Lots to see and do, and they have a James Bowie exhibit (Bowie Knife) After the Alamo, headed out to find some beach balls –  more on that later.

It was warm, and I don’t think I realized how warm it was, and suddenly I’m thirsty and hungry. Stopped for a quick chicken sandwich, a long drink, and some sitting in Air Conditioned comfort.

Walked over to the Convention Center, to help get setup for the afternoon and Saturday. As I’m walking by, I’m thinking “something has changed, it just doesn’t seem right”. Sure enough a large building is COMPLETELY MISSING! Last time I was in San Antonio, there was a massive building on the West side that had registration, and a bunch of conference rooms, and a massive keynote hall. It’s gone! The Convention Center has been renovated big time and now most of it is on the other side, and this side is completely empty.

I had a chance to walk around the site to familiarize myself with the layout, it’s completely different, since I’m going to be helping people find their way. Yup, the guy from Strathmore Alberta Canada, is going to be helping locals get to where they need to go. Life is funny!

Saw some great stuff, there are some pictures at the end with some of the setup and work in progress.

Met some long time friends and helped get ready for tomorrow’s Affiliate Summit, and then participated in an EdCamp. It was a great time, see my other blog posts.

Soon as this was over, we headed to Rosario’s for an Affiliate Presidents and Executive Directors dinner. This is a chance to catch up and learn from each other and the things that we do within our organization. The food was amazing, I don’t even know what I ordered, but thought I should try something different – it was exquisite. Had a great visit with my table mates, and learned a lot of great things. I should have taken some pictures inside the restaurant, but completely forgot. Only trouble is, it was so loud in the restaurant, you had to shout in order to be heard.

By the time supper was finished, another friend from Calgary, Jeff, had arrived, and we walked the Riverwalk, sat and had an Iced Tea while visiting. Still very warm outside, but an excellent day!