Thursday, May 31, 2018

The ISTE Experience - Exploring The Expo & Connecting with Exhibitors

If you are interested in more ISTE Tips, please take a look at my posts: ISTE 2018 Tips and Tricks and The Awesome Session Facilitators at #ISTE18.

Conversations with exhibitors can add so much to your ISTE learning experience. The ISTE 2018 Expo is an incredible experience. The exhibitors are friendly and the swag is out of this world. There are also many incredible mini sessions and presentations in the Expo center. You will want to dedicate some time to explore and learn about the incredible things that are happening to support teaching and learning.  

While there is nothing wrong with wondering, I quickly lost track of who I talked to the first time I attended, so if you are attending I recommend exploring the Expo Map and Exhibitors before venturing into the space. 
  • You can search by name and keyword.
  • I love the category drop-down menu. 
  • You can click on each exhibitor to learn more about them.
  • You can also view all exhibitors in a single list.
To get started planning your exploration of the ISTE Expo, I recommend creating a list of at least 10 to 15 exhibitors that you would really like to meet. It is ok to visit more, but having a short list to start is a great way to make sure you are efficient with your time and don't miss something.

If you are curious about my list, here it is in alphabetical order with a description of each vendor from the Expo pages.
  • Bitsbox (Booth 1644) - Bitsbox combines hundreds of printed projects with a simple online coding environment where kids type read code and build apps that work on any device.
  • Bloxels (Booth 1991) - Bloxels uniquely unlocks students’ innate creativity by leveraging something they love: video games. Students can play fun games and channel their creative potential as they gain greater understanding of important topics like design logic, and computer science and demonstrate their knowledge of history, science and mathematics and more through the games they create.
  • Bulb (Booth 1680) - bulb is a simple, beautiful tool designed for students and educators of any level to curate, create, share and showcase their work throughout the semester, the year, and over a lifetime on any device.
  • Buncee (Booth 2136) - Buncee is a web-based creation and presentation tool designed to help students become self-directed producers. Using Buncee, students can easily build multimedia projects and digital stories to showcase their learning. Buncee helps educators develop media-rich assignments and assessments and community outreach materials.
  • Classcraft (Booth 970) - Classcraft is a platform that transforms any classroom into an adventure. Acting as a gamification layer around any existing curriculum, the game revolutionizes the way a class is experienced throughout the school year. Students level up, work in teams, and earn powers that have real-world consequences.
  • Clever (Booth 2631) - Clever powers technology in the classroom. We give software applications a platform to easily connect with schools and give districts a central location to manage all of their learning resources.
  • Common Sense Education (Booth 782) - Common Sense Education® supports K-12 schools with free, timely, and research-based tools that take the guesswork out of teaching in the digital age.
  • ExploreLearning (Booth 2244) - ExploreLearning develops online solutions to improve student learning in math and science. ExploreLearning Gizmos are the world’s largest library of interactive, online simulations for math and science in grades 3-12. ExploreLearning Reflex ( is the most powerful solution available for math fact fluency.
  • Five-Star Technology Solutions (Booth 2487) - Five-Star Technology Solutions is a K-12 educational technology company. They partner with schools to manage technology infrastructure, provide insight into student data and continuous improvement for educators, and guide professional development/integration of technology for instruction and student learning.
  • Flipgrid (Booth 1489) - Flipgrid is the leading video discussion platform for millions of PreK to PhD students around the world. We believe in the power of student voice, social learning, and having fun. 2017 EdTechDigest Cool Tool, 2017 AASL Best Website + Best App.
  • Girls Who Code (Booth 1389) - Girls Who Code was founded with a single mission: to close the gender gap in technology by teaching girls how to code and become change agents in their communities. Girls Who Code has gone from 20 girls in New York to 40,000 girls in 50 states.
  • Google, Inc. (Booth 1602) - Google for Education is a solution built for learning and designed for the classroom that includes easy-to-manage affordable devices like Chromebooks, a “mission control” for class through Google Classroom, a powerful suite of productivity tools with G Suite for Education, and new ways to engage students like Google Expeditions.
  • itslearning (Booth 2358) - With a passion for improving teaching and learning, itslearning lives at the heart of education. The itslearning platform serves seven million users worldwide and is the first K-12 LMS to offer educators content accessible from the cloud, including 1.7 million free and open resources.
  • Kahoot (Booth 572) - Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform and one of the world’s fastest-growing learning brands with millions of monthly active users in over 180 countries. Kahoot! makes it easy to create, discover, play and share fun learning games in minutes—for any subject, in any language, on any device, for all ages.
  • littleBits (Booth 2524) - littleBits makes technology kits that are fun, easy-to-use, and infinitely creative. The kits are composed of electronic building blocks that are color-coded, magnetic, and make technology simple and fun. Designed with educators, the littleBits curriculum is rigorous and engaging, allowing students to develop their creative confidence through hands-on learning.
  • MaxCases/EdTechTeam (Booth 1828) - Max Interactive Inc. designs protective cases for Chromebook, iPad and other technology devices. We specialize in 1:1 rollouts and can accommodate most special requests for adding school logos and custom logo requirements. Max continues to innovate new designs and look forward to helping you with your next project. EdTechTeam is a global network of former teachers turned educational technologists dedicated to inspiring and empowering educators.
  • Newsela (Booth 2438) - Newsela is an Instructional Content Platform that brings together engaging, accessible content with integrated assessments and insights. The result is more engaged readers—and engaged readers are better learners.
  • Newseum (Booth 2368) - Unlock a deeper understanding of free expression and First Amendment freedoms in the Newseum’s 30+ exhibits and theaters. Online, visit for free primary sources, videos and lessons on history, civics and media literacy. Curated resources on civil rights and woman suffrage movements, elections and civil liberties vs. public good.
  • Otus (Booth 2152) - The Otus Student Performance Platform combines an LMS, an Assessment Platform, a Data Warehouse, and a collection of Classroom Management tools on one platform. When classroom tools and learning data are centralized, students can be supported like never before.
  • Pear Deck (Booth 2602) - Start engaging your entire classroom with Pear Deck! Created by educators, Pear Deck lets you add formative assessments and interactive questions from within Google Slides. Built for 1:1 programs and integrated with Google Apps for Education, Pear Deck helps teachers create powerful learning moments for every student, every day.
  • Quizizz (Booth 591) - Quizizz is a free quiz game for classrooms that lets students work at their own pace. Fun features like avatars, leaderboards, and memes get students excited, while teachers save time with features like auto-grading, LMS integrations, millions of pre-made quizzes, and much more.
  • Seesaw (Booth 430) - Seesaw is a student-driven digital portfolio that helps students create, collaborate, and share their learning.
  • Soundtrap (Booth 2611) - Soundtrap is an easy-to-use, online music and podcast recording studio enabling creative collaboration in your spare time or in a safe classroom using any device.
  • Squirrels LLC (Booth 2262) - Education is better with Squirrels. We make wireless screen-sharing and device-monitoring software used in over 100,000 classrooms. Our solutions range from cost-effective mirroring apps to advanced classroom operations software. Use our technology to wirelessly view, manage and display classroom iPads, Chromebooks, Android devices, Surface Pros, Macs and Windows devices.
  • Texthelp (Booth 1076) - Hello we’re Texthelp. We believe that literacy is every student’s passport to academic and professional success. It’s our genuine desire to help students understand, learn and express themselves. We create smart, user-friendly literacy and learning solutions, that provide the support each student needs; through reading, writing, math and research features.
  • WeVideo (Booth 1258) - WeVideo enables deep learning with an easy-to-use video creation platform. Used by more than 6,500 schools worldwide, anyone can access WeVideo, from any device inside or outside of the classroom to capture, edit, view and share videos with secure storage of their content in the Cloud.
I am also going to try to make sure I visit at least exhibitors that I don't know much about as part of my Expo experience. This will be part of my wondering experience.

Exhibitors love shout-outs on social media. If you have a favorite or have a great experience, be sure to give them a thank you on Twitter. Be sure to tag them (@ . . . ) and use the hashtag #ISTE18

Thank you to all of the incredible ISTE 2018 Exhibitors and Sponsors. If you have a favorite exhibitor that I missed or question please post in the comments below.

If you are interested in more ISTE Tips, please take a look at my posts: ISTE 2018 Tips and Tricks and The Awesome Session Facilitators at #ISTE18.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Curiosity Question of the Week - Why Do You Love Your Favorite TV Show?

3 weeks ago I got rolling with a curiosity question of the week. You can learn more about my why in this post

Last week's question had some great responses. 

If you had the power change only one single thing about this world, what would you change? Why?

Here is this week's question. This is kind of the deserted island only bringing one thing question. 

If you could only choose one television series box set to watch during this time, what would you choose? Why?

When considering this question, imagine that you have been sequestered as a member of a jury. The trial is expected to last about a month. The budget only allows for one complete DVD box set of any Television Series to help the days go by. This will be the only electronic entertainment you be able to access for the next month.

Please share your answer and your why in the comments below or using the Hashtag #CuriosityQsEach Tuesday I will share a new question that I hope will inspire you to share your thoughts and maybe explore something new. 

If you have a great question that I can ask, please DM me on Twitter. Full credit will be given for all questions that I share that are not my own. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Sampling Some of the Awesome Session Facilitators at #ISTE18

Planning your schedule for ISTE can be a daunting challenge. There are many incredible educators sharing so many incredible things and it is hard to even know where to start. This post is my second connected to my ISTE 2018 Planning Experience. My first post was 10 Tips for the Engaged Educator #ISTE18

Here are a some of my favorite presenters that I have had the chance to learn from in the past. I love these educators! I highly recommend visiting the ISTE Presenter Page and exploring their sessions. 
I know I have missed some great presenters and sessions. This list is just connected to educators that I whose sessions I have attended in the past. There are many great presenters I've never had a chance to experience, but I hope to in the future. 

So now it is now your turn. Who are you the most excited to learn from this year?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Curiosity Question of the Week - What Would You Change? Why?

Questions Are More Important Than Answers!

If you have been reading my blog over the last several years, you know that most of the posts typically focus on either EdTech resources or classroom reflections. Last week a was inspired to start exploring something new. Long story short I am hoping to inspire readers to explore a new question each week. These are not educational questions but instead, questions that I hope will spark conversations. I am also hoping some of the questions will inspire new questions as part of the process. You can learn more about how and why I started in this post

The question last week.

If you could only listen to one musical group for the rest of your life, who would it be? Why?

This question led to some great questions and some fun discussions/debates on why each of us made the choices we made. I've posted my answer on Twitter using the hashtag #CurioistyQs.

Here is the question for this week. It is a big one and might require some pondering.

If you had the power change only one single thing about this world, what would you change? Why?

Each Tuesday I will share a question that I hope will inspire you to share your thoughts and maybe explore something new. Please share your answer and your why in the comments below or using the Hashtag #CuriosityQs

If you have a great question that I can ask, please DM me on Twitter. Full credit will be given for all questions that I share that are not my own. 

I don't want to bias your choices so I will share my exploration and final answer and why in the comments on Friday. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Summer Learning - Lifelong Learners Wanted

It is ok to take care of yourself before taking care of others. 

Have you started a countdown to summer break? How will you grow as a teacher and learner this summer?

Teachers work hard. Many of us work too hard. We do deserve a break. We deserve to escape our scheduled lives this summer. It is ok to disconnect and take a break during the summer, but the best educators are life-long learners. They do not spend the entire summer disengaged from learning. 

How will you recharge this summer, but still find the time to grow as a teacher and leader? This post has some tips and resources to support educators as lifelong learners this summer.

Attend a Local Conference
Find at least one conference this summer to attend, learn, and make new connections. Maybe even challenge yourself to present somewhere? If you can't attend, mark your calendar and jump into the Hashtag during the conference. Here are a few local conferences I will be attending as both a learner and a facilitator. 

Enroll in a Face to Face or Online Class
Sometimes it is important to become a student again and engage in a curriculum lead by another educator. The type of class doesn't necessarily matter as long as you are learning something new. One of my favorite experiences as an adult learner has been the EdTechTeams Teacher Leader Cohorts. I am even jumping into the Teacher Leader 2 Course this summer. Here are some great online courses you might want to explore. 

Make Connections & Share Ideas
If you are already engaged in Twitter, Facebook, Voxer, Google + or someplace else as a learner, set aside an hour or two each week to learn something new. If you have not taken a dive in social learning why not get started this summer? Here are a few resources to help:

Read a Book Connected to Teaching and Learning
Educators are writing some incredible books. Find a book that catches your interest and explore. Here are a few resources to help:

Explore Blogs Connected to Teaching and Learning
Many educational blogs slow down a bit over the summer, but most keep posting. You can always set aside an hour each week to explore the archives of a favorite blog. You might even consider starting your own blog? Blogging is a great tool for reflection. Here are a few resources to help:

Bonus: Find a good Podcast, Listen and Learn. Matt Miller has a great list of Podcasts under number 3 in this post

What summer learning tips do you have for educators?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Question of the Week - Things That Make You Go Hmmm?

Questions Are More Important Than Answers!

Don't get me wrong, I love to solve problems and discover answers, but too often the joy of discovery is short lived when finding the answer is an endpoint. I always hope to find answers that lead to more curious questions. In my world, the best questions lead to more questions before, during, and after my exploration of the original question.

Why am I sharing this?

Today, I was inspired by ESPN's Golic and Wingo Show to start something new on Tuesdays. I was listening to the radio on my way to work and they were playing a game that had something to do with NBA ping pong balls, questions, and candy this question came up: 

If you could only listen to one musical group for the rest of your life, who would it be? Why?
My first thought was that this is a great question. I didn't know who I would pick, so this led me to ask more questions about who and why I would chose my musical group. I asked my office mates the same question and our conversation led us further down a path of exploration and discovery connected to why each of us would make the choices we would make. This one question led us to so many great questions and answers. I was smiling ear to ear. 

I will be asking my students the same question today. My guess is their musical preferences will lead me in a different direction. 

I don't know that this new idea of a question a week on my blog will lead to new innovations, or even how long it will last. I am hoping that it inspires brainstorming, conversations, and creative exploration for anyone who reads this post. I am also hoping we can have some fun with it. 

Each Tuesday I will share a question that I hope will inspire you to share your thoughts and maybe explore something new. Please share your answer and your why in the comments below or using the Hashtag 

If you have a great question that I can ask, please DM me on Twitter. Full credit will be given for all questions that I share. 

I don't want to bias your choices so I will share my exploration and final answer and why in the comments on Friday. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Digital Vocabulary Resources to Engage Students

My students frequently struggle with assessment questions that rely on Tier 2 (Academic Vocabulary) and Tier 3 (Subject Specific Vocabulary). This leads me to the conclusions that  students must have have a solid foundation in all Three Tiers of Vocabulary Development.  It is important to assess on Tier 3 words, but I never want one of my students to miss an answer because of a tier 2 vocabulary word

The research is clear, vocabulary has strong connections to student learning across content areas. If you teach, you understand how strongly vocabulary knowledge is connected to student success in your classroom. I am not just talking about memorizing and regurgitating vocabulary words connected to your curriculum. I am thinking about students reading, applying vocabulary knowledge, and analyzing text to draw conclusions based on their vocabulary understandings.  

I am not a reading specialist or in anyway an expert on the best ways to connect vocabulary to learning, but I have explored a variety of digital tools to help teachers and students engage in vocabulary. I believe it is important that we explore and implement digital resources and activities connected to vocabulary development and application, so we've put together this document to help teachers and students explore digital resources connected to vocabulary. 

What are your favorite tips and resources to support vocabulary development in your classrooms? 

Monday, May 7, 2018

End of the Year Blues - Exploring a New Engagement and Creativity Activity

I teach mostly high school seniors. They are great kids, but they believe in this fictional disease called "senioritis". I also teach AP Environmental Science, so the kids are a bit cooked after we take the exam in May. They also start asking in January if we will still be doing anything after the AP Exam, so the writing is on the wall that they are ready to move on without me. 

I, on the other hand, do not believe that learning should ever end. That is my curse and my challenge to overcome. I am always looking for fun and creative ways to engage my students at the end of the year. The challenge is to create a project that is engaging and fun for us all. 

Last year I had students who had the potential to be great advocates and activists. They actively cared about many of the issues we explored and were engaged in classroom discussions. With this in mind, we decided to engage in "Passion Projects". You can learn more about the project with this link. 

Most of my kids shrugged off their senioritis and created some incredible website. We enjoyed this end of year engagement together. 

While I enjoyed this project at the end of last year it is not something that I think fits my students this year. This year my challenge is a bit different. My students are much more focused on their points and less curious about the issues we have explored this year. They are more than willing to jump through the hoops for points, but as a group rarely go beyond the basics. I don't want to waste time on any end of the year passion projects if the kids are not passionate about their causes. 

This year I am going to I decided to challenge my student's creative sides with a new activity. I am also hoping I can motivate them by giving them an opportunity to compete with each other. Students will pair up and engage in something inspired by the good old "Epic Rap Battles of History". You can learn more about the activity with this link. 

If you have any suggestions or ideas, please share in the comments below. If either of the projects works for your classrooms, please feel free to copy and modify. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Videos Connected to Teaching and Learning - Learn, Inspire, Motivate!

When I have some extra time, I love to explore YouTube videos connected to teaching and learning. I am always looking for something new to inspire, motivate, or just to explore something new. 

My PLN has helped me compile this YouTube playlist of favorite educational videos. We have also organized two Google + Collections with some favorite videos that we use with students. One is for Inspiration and Motivation and the other is connected to some great TED Talks. We have also been exploring Classhook, which looks like a great resource for videos connected to teaching and learning. I am also always exploring and compiling videos connected to different aspects of teaching and learning. Explore my playlists to learn more. 

What are some of your favorite videos connected to teaching and learning? 

Feel free to add them to the collaborative playlist or in the comments below.

Here are some of my current top choices connected to teaching and learning. 

Rubik's Cube: A question, waiting to be answered

You Can Learn Anything

This Will Revolutionize Education

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass - Rube Goldberg Machine

Inside the mind of a master procrastinator

iPad - Homework (Full Version) - Apple

"Our kids do not want to be taught, they want to be moved... focus a little less on figuring out how you will teach them, and a little more on how you will inspire them." Paul Bogush

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