Wednesday, June 29, 2016

ISTE Day 2

It is interesting how Day 2 was a totally different experience than Day 1. I went in with a plan to attend several professional learning focused sessions. However, R2D2 arrived at the opening keynote and then was available for a photo opportunity. That basically made my schedule obsolete until I got my photo; which, I was able to get and totally geek out over!

After the photo, I tried to make it to two sessions and they were both full. The only option left was to go to the exhibit hall. In the exhibit hall I had one goal, meet Peter Reynolds and have “The Dot” signed for my girls. Mission Accomplished.

While wandering the exhibit hall, I came across several vendors that were very interesting. Here are a few that stood out:

Discovery Artifacts/Artifact App:  The Artifact App lets you search for books using traditional titles, authors, publishers and ISBN terms. But you can also search using artifacts (those things you notice in stories when you are reading). Seems like a great resource for educators trying to build text around standards.

LittleBits: I know they have been around for a while, however; this was my first time using them hands on. My husband has to work with circuits as part of this job and tries to teach my girls. Little Bits would be a perfect way for him to teach the concept without using the soldering iron. =) I wish they had family pricing.

Osmo: I was already familiar with Osmo before ISTE but they have added a new feature that includes tiles for coding. I was able to play with these tiles and thought it was so fun. Coding on a computer can be fun but can also be abstract for younger learners. Being able to move the tiles and then see the results immediately on the screen can help those tactile learners.

iPEVO: iPEVO is a document camera and whiteboard company. They are amazing because they want you to use their product. The will hand you a document camera to take home just to try. They want you to see how simple it is to use. Not only do they want you to use their products but they want to support teacher collaboration by sponsoring Edcamps. They will sponsor your Edcamp.  I am not sure how they are making a profit because they are amazing!

After visiting the exhibit hall, I was able to meet for lunch, two amazing educators from Virginia Beach. @teachshel and @chelysemiller are professional learning specialist at the district level. We chatted professional learning over incredible food from @backeastbar . These topics included professional learning frameworks, activities, and models. They shared how they have used Guskey’s research as part of their frameworks to plan professional learning in their district. I cannot wait to look to look this over.

We also discussed the idea that @isteconnects and @learningforward should sit down at the same table and talk. If technology integration should be seamless and professional learning is part of the seamless integration, then it’s only natural that both organizations should talk. Next, we checked out the @breakoutedu bus to try the challenge but unfortunately, they were booked until the end of ISTE. However, I am convinced after talking with BreakoutEdu Team to purchase one box and see what we can do with it.

Finally, we built a stronger relationship between @LFmaryland and @LFvirginia. We hope to build more collaboration opportunities between the two affiliates.

The final part of my learning today involved many poster sessions focused on professional learning. Walking through the poster sessions it was very overwhelming. There were so many great models of professional learning with strategies and resources the presenters wanted you to take and modify. Here are my highlights:



  • Providing student recognition through an awards process. Teachers nominated students based on digital work completed. A red carpet event was held to recognize the students. This is a creative way to recognize exemplary work. I would like to see it modified for adult recognition

  • This district created their own conference around educational technology. I see this as great resources for Common Ground and any future conference we may plan.


  • Resources for creating and supporting teacher leaders. An interesting model that could perhaps be paired with digital badging.
  • eMints is a company I just learned about, that supports coaching and teacher leadership models.

  • This innovative professional learning model is something I would love to put together either as a state opportunity or in partnership with a district. Teachers follow a series of clues and complete challenges in order to learn various technology tools. It seems like a creative way for teachers to learn new tools.



I am excited to pick and choose the different professional learning elements that I learned about and incorporate them into professional learning opportunities for Maryland Educators. I see the potential to enhance growth for teachers that will meet their needs and interests in a personalized way.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

ISTE 2016 - Day 1

ISTE Day 1

Attending ISTE has always been one of my favorite conferences. There is always something to do throughout the day. If you cannot find a session there are playgrounds, posters sessions, demonstrations, an oasis, and the epic exhibit hall. If you cannot find new learning or a way to connect with others, through one of these avenues, I suggest reset and determine the focus for why you are attending ISTE.

The first session I attended was “App Attack”, 60 apps in 60 minutes. I am usually not a fan of rapid fire of tools without examples of how they are used. However, I wanted to learn about new apps and decided to give this session a try. I was pleasantly surprised. As advertised, the two presenters reviewed 60 apps that can be used with students, teachers, or for personal organization. In addition, the apps varied in subject area including Health/PE, Science, Math, and collaboration tools. The apps that stood out to me and I hope to utilize when I return home are:

  • Office Remote: Turns your phone into a presenter remote, including speaker notes. This would solve the problem for when I forget my remote.
  • Telligami: Allows you to create an avatar that can speak during a presentation. I think this would be a neat way to welcome participants during a presentation or even explain directions during a workshop.
  • Solve the Outbreak: This is a CSI app that has children solve the disease outbreak problem before it becomes an epidemic. I think my daughters would love this!
  • Credly: Allows you to create your own digital badges. I am thinking about use this app to maybe create badges for webinar attendance or other PD offerings.
These were just 4 of 60 apps discussed. I am excited to share some of the content based apps with my colleagues. For the complete list and the presenter information check out this link:

The second session, “Building Relationships & Supporting Growth in 1:1 Environments”, focused on coaching as a way to support teacher growth and student improvement. I chose this session because I wanted to gain information and tools to support the Maryland Collaborative Model for Peer Coaching. The presenter for this session was very dynamic and provided many tips for building relationships in order to have effective coaching experiences. Some of my take-a-ways form this session include:

  • This gorgeous diagram that showcases the three building blocks of coaching: coaching, collaborating, and consulting.
I plan to use the resources shared within my own work environment to support collaboration and relationship building with colleagues. I also intend to share with the educators participating in the Peer Coaching Collaborative Model. The presentation can be found here:

The next session I attended was “Gamify your Professional Development using Differentiated and Self-Paced Modules”. I chose this session because I wanted to learn about different professional learning models. The presenters showcased a “Tech Trek” course through Schoology. Within the course were modules that teachers could complete in order to earn XP (experience points) and level up. Teachers would receive badges and rewards each time they leveled-up. Though the “Tech Trek” teachers were learning how to “Collaborate with Google”, “Use Google Forms”, “iPAD Basics”, etc.

Not only did the presenters showcase their gamification model but they also shared EVERYTHING they created so it could be replicated. I am excited to take this back to Maryland. I think these model could be used to have PARCC, Graduation Requirements, and other state initiative designations. Educators who complete the modules would be the school and/or district expert.
  • For access to the Schoology Site: Create a Schoology account and enter the access code: 7HWGD-QFP79 
In between sessions, I visited the exhibit hall and collect lots of free fun stuff for my daughters. I plan to do the same today!

My final session on Day 1 was the EdTekTalks. These are my favorite types of keynotes because each presenter has about 20 minutes to share their message. This tends to make the sessions more thought provoking. The messages that stood out to me were:
Overall day 1, was amazing. I feel that I already have many tools that I can use when I return home. Day 2 has more professional learning sessions including posters session dedicated to professional learning models. I am excited to gain additional ideas and resources!