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ISTE 2012 Takeaways

The International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) national conference just finished up after several exciting, jam-packed days in beautiful San Diego, California. I’ve been to ISTE conferences before, but it’s been a few years. I had forgotten how crazy and exciting this conference can be. Several thousand educators converged on the convention center at the edge of the Gas Lamp Quarter, and, at times, it seemed like every single one of the attendees had the same workshop schedule as me. I learned so much during the 4-day conference (you can view my unedited notes here), but in the spirit of minimalism and efficiency, I am focusing this post on my big 3 takeaways:

  • ePortfolios
  • iPad Apps
  • Social Networking with Edmodo


I’ve been creating ePortfolios with my students for over 10 years now. I’ve done them with PowerPoint, various blogging platforms, and even FrontPage; but I’ve never been completely happy with the formats. During my time at ISTE 2012, I attended 2 workshops dedicated to using Google Sites along with a combination of Google Docs and Blogger for creating student ePortfolios. The first was called: “Student-Centered Interactive E-Portfolios with Google Apps” by Helen Barrett and the second was titled: “Growing Digital: Grassroots Google Integration for Staff and Students” by Peter Pasque and Kristal Jaaskelainen.


Student-managed electronic learning portfolio should be used as a persistent learning record to help students:

  • develop the self-awareness to set their own learning goals
  • express their own views of their strengths, weaknesses, and achievements
  • and take responsibility for them

The purpose drives the process and content.  http://www.peterpappas.com/images/old/6a00d8341d880253ef0120a7a4dd53970b-pi.png


  • Step 1: Create a collection of work in Google Docsuse your mobile device to capture images, audio, video
  • Step 2:Reflection
    • Reflective Journal – blog entries over time
    • Taxonomy of reflection
  • What? So What? Now What?
  • Self-Regulated Learning
    • Planning (Goal Setting)
    • Doing (Capture the Moment)
    • Reflecting
  • Timeline
    • Level 1: Collection
    • Level 2: Collection + Reflection
    • Level 3: Selection and Presentation

iPad Apps

This coming school year, our school is increasing the amount of iPads in my division. This is extremely exciting with a huge potential for fantastic new learning for our students and staff. It also brings a large amount of up-front work for our teachers and IT professionals.  I’ve outlined several apps and tips from the 2 workshops I attended dedicated to learning with iPads. Special thanks to the presenters: Mindy Tilley, Jana Craig Hare, Tyler Fowler, Liddell Hobin, Alan Landever, Keith Mispagael and Geri Parscale who presented “21 Apps for Digital Age Learning” and Kimberly LaPrairie, with Daphne Johnson and Marilyn Rice who shared “Apps, Apps Everywhere: Top iPad Apps for Digital Age Learning”

21 Apps for Digital Age Learning

The presenters from USD 207 in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas shared their 21 favorite apps that provide digital age experiences in the classroom. You can visit their website here or view the apps being used here. Below are a few of their suggestions that I took note of:
  • Drawing Box: free app
  • Dot Project
  • Percolator App
    • you take a photo and it takes that photo and creates it with dots. Great for art class
  • Puppet Pals – use to re-create a story students have recently read
  • Show Me– Create quick instructional movies
    • Idea: Take a photo of a worksheet and then have students work out the problems while explaining their thinking.
  • Twitcasting
  • Storylines Promotes children’s literature and supports writers and illustrators
  • VoiceThread the App
  • Cover It Live
  • Sticky Board
  • BrainPop App – have the student of the week watch the Brainpop video of the week and give a summary for the class
  • ToonTastic
    • Create a toon by going through all of the story elements: setup conflict, challenge, resolution, etc
    • Record your voice as you move the characters
    • Adds music to go along with emotional feeling of current story element
    • Upload finished video to your toon tube acct. Cannot upload to your photo library.
  • Discovery Education App
  • Popplet

Apps, Apps Everywhere

It was very refreshing how the presenters from Sam Houston State University based their app selection around Blooms Taxonomy. I’ve seen this method used before from Kathy Schorck so it was nice to see others chiming in on the importance of focusing app selection based on learning objectives instead of cool factor.

Social Networking with Edmodo

I’ve seen Edmodo several times in various conferences and workshops I’ve attended, and have always been interested in learning more about how teachers use it and what kind of benefits it will bring to students, teachers, and parents. While there was no formal workshop at ISTE 2012 showcasing Edmodo, I made a point to stop by their booth in the exhibit hall and find out a little more about this social networking tool. There are some great webinars that Edmodo puts on which I will be attending later this month. Here are some quick tips I picked up on during my time spent with the fine folks at the Edmodo booth:

  • You can change the notification section to uncheck the alerts if you are getting too many emails
  • Create a group for each subject (RLA, Math, etc), or just for all grade 3 students
  • Once you create a group, it creates a code and give the code to your students
  • they then create an acct and join the group
  • You control the group, delete posts and make students read only as a type of timeout
  • you can also moderate all posts and replies
  • There is no private messaging between students, only through the group
  • You can post a question, a video, a poll
  • you can create assignments and quizzes and it adds it to yours and the students calendars.
  • With assignments you can grade them, annotate on docs
  • You can also email parents the parent code and they will be able to see what their child is doing.

Unedited Notes

If you’re extremely bored and enjoy reading gobbledegook, below (or here) are my notes from the 4 days:


EARCOS 2012 Takeaways

March 28-31, 2012

A wonderful group of over 1,500 educators gathered in Bangkok for the 10th annual East Asia Regional Council of Schools  (EARCOS) Conference. This was my 4th EARCOS conference, having attended Bangkok in 2004, Ho Chi Minh City in 2005, Kota Kinabalu in 2009; and it was by far the most rewarding. Here are my highlights. The best of the best from EARCOS 2012.

Keynote: Now You See It

Day 1 started out with a riveting keynote by Cathy N. Davidson of Duke University in which she reminded us that as teachers, we need to, “Emphasize what students can do well, not their limitations.”  Ms. Davidson, who blogs frequently at HASTAC, then went on to bring new light to the state of the US educational system and standardized testing by stating: 

  • The US tests earlier and more often than any other country.
  • The US’s gift to education: Standardized Testing
  • We’re training kids for the world that Jefferson and Adams were afraid of. Our educational system is based on the industrial age.
  • Finland has abolished standardized testing. And most schools don’t test until age 10.
  • 1980 was the last time Finland used Standardized testing.

Google Apps in the Classroom

Jeff Utecht ran a great workshop entitled, “Google Apps in the Classroom,” and began with a great buy-in statement of why we should be using Google Apps with our students “60 of the top 100 US universities now use google apps.” Jeff then broke the session down by apps within the Google Suite and shared the following:


  • By giving us exactly what we want, Google hides things it thinks we don’t want.
  • Searches are based on
    • your past searches
    • # of links leaving from and coming to that site (that’s 1 reason Wikipedia appears 1st) the more links going to a site, the more authority that site has
    • Time relevance – more recent will be moved towards the top
    • Algorithms
  • Best part of Wikipedia is the bottom. References and sources
  • Wikipedia is not a good place to end your research, but it’s a great place to begin. Great overview, and lots of sources at bottom
  • Every student from grade 3 should know site:edu (and site:gov – but site:gov uses US gov. – use different country suffixes to find info from other countries).
  • Search by reading level (basic is about a 5th grade reading level)
  • site:ac = academic institution


  • People hate docs because you get a large list of everything you’ve ever created or shared with you. Google wants you to just search.
  • Video: Setting Up a Google Docs Classroom (15 mins)
  • Question to ask when creating a doc: Who do you want to own this document?
    • Start with having the students be the owner and have them share with you.
  • Positive thing of students being the owner of their Docs is that it will follow along with them. You can Unsubscribe or have the kids unshare with you at the end of the year.
  • Templates within Google Docs are highly underrated and under-used. Check out the public templates
  • IDEA: Create a newspaper (students work collaboratively on different subjects) use a template. save as pdf > publish to youblisher
  • Flubaroo for Google Docs grades quizzes automatically.
  • We want kids to be able to find the answer. Google Ninja tests allows you to take it and create it at your school. Google Apps Ninja Master (create shirts, pins and stickers for kids)


  • You can have students add attachments to calendars
  • Set up Mobile settings to send text message reminders
  • Use Appointment Slots for setting up meetings. Gives you a URL to mail out to parents that gives parents a “sign up for this slot” calendar that adds to your calendar.

Google Sites

  • So many uses: as a class website, student portfolio, teacher portal for students…
  • And then we ran out of time…

Google Earth Challenge

John Rinker led a great workshop on using Google Earth with students.

  • Resources here.
  • It’s our roles as teachers to make meaning and take meaning in the world
  • Often kids create great looking products but are lacking in substance
  • Have students put placemarks in folders
  • File > Save Project as…
  • 10 different levels
  • Having the different levels allowed for differentiation.
  • Then players who advanced more quickly became the experts
  • Can do recording of voice and music within Google Earth.
    • Called “Record a Tour” camera looking icon on main tool bar

New Media in the Classroom

Jason Ohler (@jasonohler)

Resources here

  • The big push in public education in US is byod
  • Most kids don’t make good media – most adults and teachers will look at the product and be impressed by the media effect
  • Teachers (and students) need to be discriminating makers of new media
  • Kids need to hear “That quality is not high enough.”
  • Story management process (computers off) is where most of the work is done.
  • The Unfinished Revolution
  • Literacy is: Consuming and producing the media forms of the day, whatever they are.
  • DAOW of Literacy
    • Digital
    • Art
    • Oral
    • Written
  • We don’t teach oracy (how to speak) and we should
  • Digital storytelling – film with a green screen and add student art to background
  • The power of story lodge in our brains and we remember. Lists of things don’t.
  • Story Core in Education:
    • Inquiry (tension)
    • Discovery (resolution)
    • Transformation (learning)
  • We remember info that is holistically connected and that’s what Story does.
  • Key resources
  • Green Screen Story Telling: http://t.co/1sosGXDy
  • When kids get kinesthetic with their stories, they write better.
  • Tell kids to go watch tv for homework and note how the professionals deal with music and transitions
  • Music trumps image every single time
  • The image give you the info, the music tells you how to feel about it.
  • Storyboards are bad – don’t use them
  • Instead use a storymap and always have a character realize something
  • Free Storytelling stuff (music, software, photos, etc.):
  • Story Mapping Hand Outs
  • Story Table Handout

Keynote – Balcony People: Teachers Make the Difference

Steven Layne

  • Book: Molder of Dreams by Guy Rice Doud
  • Students remember that we tried
  • Book: Life’s Literacy Lessons – Poems for Teachers by Steven Layne
  • What holds appeal for one, might not hold appeal for all – nothing works for every child, but something works for every child
  • Identify your balcony people. Tell them how they mattered and thank them.
  • Honor your balcony people by passing on their faith in you to your students, friends, family
  • Dream the dream for your students until they realize it.
  • Never underestimate the value of a seat in the balcony

Teaching for the 21st Century

Peer-Assessment, Peer-Generated Syllabus

Cathy Davidson @cathyndavidson

  • http://hastac.org/ and Cathy’s section
  • institutions tend to preserve the problems they were created to solve.
  • School and work in the industrial age were created to train us to the factory and the farm.
  • We’re doing a great job of preparing our students for the 20th century
  • 1900s office design are specifically designed to help people stay on task.
  • Reply all should be banned
  • We live in a interactive, non-linear, DIY, collaborative world.
  • Skunk Works: Innovate and try a radical transformation within a small section of your organization.
  • Our mission as teachers is to prepare students for an unknown future.
  • Duke iPod Experiment
  • This is your brain on the internet
  • Cathy changed the way the class worked but not the grading system and students called her on it.
  • Work Load grading – students choose their amount of work to do and get a corresponding grade. ie: 10 projects = A; 7 projects = B; 5 Projects = C; etc.
  • How to Crowdsource Grading
  • Goal of the class is for everyone collectively to get the grade they aimed for.
  • We’re very bad at giving feedback – that’s one reason American Idol is a hit
  • Students came up with the question: “How do I become an adult?”
  • You find the people you trust and you hold them close.
  • Favorite Peer Experiment/exercise you’ve done as a teacher
  • Difference is not our deficit, it’s our operating system
  • Forking: the moment when working together you come to a disagreement, flip a coin and follow on way. Mark the point of disagreement. If at any time, you realize you took the wrong point, you go back to the fork.
  • Socrative:  Student response system with any device.

Technical Competence with iMovie

David Grant 

  • iMovie Events within Movies is where you need to put new folders for creating movies
  • iMovie Learning Targets
    • Big Target:  I can tell a true story with details in multimedia
  • I can use the basic editing tools of iMovie to:
    • Split Clips (command-shift-s)
    • Trim Clips
    • Detatch Audio
    • Adjust Volume Levels
    • Create a Cutaway Edit
    • Create a J-Edit
    • Create an L-Edit
  • I can edit A Roll and B Roll to tell a story by:
    • Editing A Roll so you can’t hear the cuts
    • Covering my cuts with the B Roll that supports my story
    • Cutting on action
  • A roll: looking at and talking to the camera
  • B roll: the details – doing something
  • Sound is the primary thing you need to work with to tell stories.
  • Cutaway edit: use an edit to cover up a cut
  • cutting on action – have movement when the movie starts
  • J Edit:
    • Clip > detach audio

10 Digital Tools for Digital Educators

Jeff Utecht


  • Using Diigo with kids to have a collection of sites with specific tags and divided into lists
  • Create a class/groups
  • Send bookmarks from Diigo to Delicious automatically
  • from Twitter, whenever you tweet something with a hashtag you can use www.ifttt.com  to send to Diigo
  • Google Educator Posters
  • Everybody needs to use Google Reader
  • Edmodo
    • Looks like facebook
    • Can join communities
    • Teacher creates a group (class)
    • can load assignments
    • Kids can turn in assignments
    • Also has a gradebook feature
    • Parents can have acct and is then connected to whichever class the child is enrolled in.
    • You can set quizzes up and has the ability to autograde
    • Integrated with Google Docs
    • The badges are motivating with the kids
    • Allows teacher control over students
  • bit.ly– URL shortner; allows you to customize url
    • after you send out link, it tracks how many people clicked on the link
    • Also creates a QR code for link
  • Question Press
  • http://joliprint.com/ Takes any webpage and turns it into a pdf

Connecting your Community

Kim Cofino
Learning Hub

  • Your digital footprint will carry far more weight than anything you might include on a resume. -Chris Betcher
  • Think before you publish – is this something I would share with my grandma?
  • Blogging portal is a way to grow and connect the community
  • Everything is shared publicly = open
  • Students need to feel connected to a wider audience = global
  • We are a bad judge of our own creations www.silvers.org   We need to just put our ideas out there.
  • What’s obvious to us may seem amazing to someone else
  • Obvious to You, Amazing to others by Derrik Sivlers
  • Blogging should not be considered homework. Not everything goes on the blog. It’s about reflecting on your learning.
  • Blogs are not a way to post homework
  • Move away from blogs as an assignment into a community
  • Blogging Implementation
    • Soft launch (1 year)
    • Main landing page for each teacher’s blogs (The Learning Hub)
    • Main launch where parents are told this is how we are communicating information
    • There are “17 Things” that every teacher needs to be able to know how to do
    • Training – teacher leaders sit at tables and other teachers can come up to them to learn about something specific
    • Any time you’re talking about technology, you have to involve the kids.
  • Action
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