Todd Conaway | Yavapai College

Name: Todd Conaway (Faculty, YouTube, @todd_conaway)
Organization: Yavapai College
Current title: Instructional Designer
Selected accolades: Departmental 2012 Award for eLearning in technical support and service from the ITC ((ITC Announces the Recipients of the ITC 2012 Awards for Excellence in eLearning)), blessed with a wonderful family, almost 1000 miles walked in the Grand Canyon



What skill(s) do you feel are most important for today’s students to explore in academic settings (tech or non-tech related)?

Curiosity. Passion. Learning to learn. Finding relevance. I don’t think we need to always address the “why are we doing this?” all the time in classes, but I do think that in many cases we have lost that conversation and part of the result is disconnectedness from the “real world” that lives outside the classroom walls.

What we are calling “21st century skills” is simply literacy, and it is part of all literacy that involves words, numbers, sounds, graphs, images, and videos among many other types of information. As long as we continue to separate “digital” or “technological” from other types of media literacy, we will do our students a disservice. In many places it is an amazing and powerful part of our ability to be citizens and do good things.


For a teacher looking to use technology to connect with students, enhance learning or embrace 21st century skills, where do you suggest one begin?

I suggest to teachers that they will learn tools most quickly and deeply of they have a personal connection to the content they explore with the tool. For example, I would never tell a teacher new to Facebook to go create a group for their class and start using Facebook (( I would suggest they begin (more…)

Kern Kelley | R.S.U. #19

Name: Kern Kelley (Website, blog, @kernkelley)
Organization: R.S.U. #19
Current title: Technology Integrator


It’s become more important than ever for students to be encouraged to explore educational opportunities for themselves. In traditional education, much of the time was spent waiting for the teacher or other students, but technology promises the ability for students to go as far and as fast as they can.

When students teach others they learn a topic more thoroughly than if they received knowledge in a passive state. It’s important that students see teachers actively learning and going through that process ourselves.  I loving bringing students to conferences and exposing them to our learning process.


What is the best part of your job?

Working with the kids, hands down. It always surprises me that it seems like the more accolades and money that an educator earns, the further they seem to be from daily interaction with students.


What was your path to your current position?

I began as a fifth grade teacher and loved it. I integrated technology in almost everything we did as a class and was asked to do the same for the rest of the district. I was hesitant initially because of what I mentioned above, but at every step I have been able to incorporate working directly with students into whatever I do, whether it’s providing professional development for teachers or even going to conferences.

What skill(s) do you feel are most important for today’s students to explore in academic settings (tech or non-tech related)?

Tech should never be the ends in itself, but rather built into some greater educational purpose. The tech skills that students develop should always have a greater purpose. For example (more…)

Amber Henrey | Mountain Vista Elementary

Name: Amber Henrey (Website, CUE breakout session site, @ahenrey)
Organization: Mountain Vista Elementary, Fillmore Unified School District
Current title: 4th Grade Teacher, Data Manager, and Technology Lead
Selected accolade: Gold Coast CUE 2011 Break Out Session Presenter

What is your key to personal growth as an educator?

Teaching is not a competition against your peers or other schools. Open your doors, share your ideas, ask for help, but most importantly be willing to learn. There is a wealth of ideas to be gained from building a PLN. Look to the Internet and social media for inspiration. It’s hard to remain passionate about teaching when you keep your ideas to yourself. By collaborating your passion, your excitement for teaching increases because you have the energy and support of those you surround yourself with.


What skill(s) do you feel are most important for today’s students to explore in academic settings (tech or non-tech related)?

The most important thing a student can gain from their education is the ability to think critically.  It is a great shift from “I’ll do what I am told,” to “I’ll do what I think.” As educators we sometimes fear getting students to that point, but it is critical if we are to have a democratic society of thinkers.

I do not feel that technology is the only way students can gain critical thinking skills, however tech gives us access to a plethora of tools that can aid a student and teacher in practicing critical thinking skills.

Children can interact with technology however they want to. That in itself is a great power that lends to critical thinking. Technology opens metaphorical doors to places and people that students would otherwise not have access to.  Through the Internet students can access articles to ponder, opinions to consider, and ideas they didn’t even know existed.

The knowledge and perspective I have gained through social media and online articles has opened my own ideals to new possibilities. I used to make fun of people “tweeting” and now I look to Twitter as a springboard of new ideology. I have hashed out many of my perspectives via Twitter and in doing so, in debating with the likes of Lisa Neilson and Joe Bower, I have altered my education pedagogy. I probably never would have joined Twitter if it weren’t for Professor Jim Pinkard at APU.


How is data collection and analysis best used to support student learning? What types of data collection do you find most useful from a teaching perspective?

Data in some places is a foul word and in others the mantra. Data can tell you your strengths and weaknesses in measurable areas. At the same time it only can tell you the statistics and not the reasons why.

When I first learned the powerful ways that data can guide instruction, I was hooked. For so long, especially teaching first grade, my measures of success were based on observation. Many of my students’ learning gaps were missed because they were decent workers that seemed to understand what we were learning in the moment. But when data informed me otherwise it was like a slap of reality.

When I moved into teaching 4th grade, I depended on data to tell me if I was being an effective teacher because I didn’t know the curriculum like the back of my hand like my peers. I couldn’t just rely on the motivation of students to tell me. (more…)

Kyle Pace | Lee’s Summit, Missouri School District

Name: Kyle Pace (@kylepace |
Current title: Instructional Technology Specialist
Selected accolades: I am a Google Certified Teacher and am currently pursuing an Ed.D. degree in Educational Leadership from Baker University. Organizer of Edcamp KC (( (Saturday, November 5th, 2011), #edchat moderator (Tuesdays @ Noon and 7PM)

What skill(s) do you feel are most important for today’s students to explore in academic settings (tech or non-tech related)?

It’s time for school to not look as much like, well, school. Students need to be having real world, authentic learning experiences that get them asking lots of questions, testing theories they’ve formulated, and creating new content. We live in a world where we are able to consume information at a rate equivalent to drinking from a fire hose. Schools have sadly become all too quick to ban, block, and deny our students of some of these resources. We need to be teaching our students how to be producers of content, not just consumers of content.


John Long | School District of Palm Beach County

Name: John Long (iPad pilot project | eMobilize project | Tech Ambassador Program)
Organization: School District of Palm Beach County
Current title: Technology Program Specialist
Selected accolades: 2003 Apple Distinguished Educator, 2008 Finalist Tech & Learning Leader of the Year, 2007 EMA Outstanding Service to Media Award, Dwyer Award nominee



Is there a clear message that you’d like to communicate with readers?

Just because a teacher can use technology does not mean they know how to teach with it. Just because a student can use technology does not mean they know how to learn with it.

Some people focus on student achievement. I focus on teacher and student learning, because when they learn they achieve.

The best method of professional development is through the role of coaching and modeling. Spending time listening, developing, and modeling. Teachers then can see the vision of how technology can impact students. The students then learn that technology is a great tool for learning.


Adrian Camm | Quantum Victoria

Name: Adrian Camm (@adriancamm |
Organization: Quantum Victoria
Current title: Curriculum Innovation
Selected accolades: 2009 Australian Awards for Teaching Excellence – Best National Achievement: The Ministers Award for Excellence in ICT, 2010 Victorian Education Excellence Awards – Most Outstanding Secondary Teacher of the Year

What skill(s) do you feel are most important for today’s students to explore in academic settings (tech or non-tech related)?

Learning how to learn is the most important skill students need in the 21st century. But if you are looking at ‘hard’ skills then the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) disciplines, including computer science, will be needed by most as we move increasingly toward a multi-disciplinary, high-tech future.

Students with STEM skills, combined with innovation and entrepreneurship, will be equipped to find solutions to current and future problems such as clean and renewable energy, climate change, poverty, health etc. and this will ultimately lead to a better world. (more…)

Thomas Petra |

Name: Thomas Petra (@RealWorldMath | About | Real World Math website)
Current title: Founder of
Selected accolades: 50+ 3D buildings in Google Earth, Google Certified Teacher


What is the best part of your job?

I feel a general sense of freedom when I design math lessons for Google Earth. In the past, I always ended up altering the material that goes along with the traditional math instruction so that it was more interesting or challenging to my students. Now I have more tools that enable me to do this.

I can choose the concepts I want to focus on and the way I present them. Google Earth allows me to bring elements of history, science, or geography into a math lesson. I try to show math in meaningful situations…if I can do this, then students can make relevant connections.


In your 20 years as an educator, has technology directly improved your teaching ability? If so, are there measurable indicators you use to assess this?

Technology makes my instruction multidimensional. Math instruction typically has students playing a passive role in learning, but with technology I was able to create lessons where they are active participants. Instead of disseminating information, I can create environments where students construct their own knowledge.

Technological benefits are not easily measured by conventional assessments. I find that technology boosts higher­‐level thinking skills that the standardized tests don’t measure and it helps to build positive student attitudes towards mathematics. I still relate my content to the CORE standards but I feel it goes beyond that.


What are some essential websites or software offerings that you regularly use with students beyond Google Earth?

I’ve taught math students how to use SketchUp to make models of polyhedrons and 3D buildings. I think it’s a great tool for project-­‐based learning activities. It incorporates measurement, modeling, photography, and plenty of opportunities for problem solving. We modeled over 30 buildings of a community center together.

Community Center building in Sketchup from

Errin Gregory | Gold Trail School District

Name: Errin Gregory (@erringreg | Just a Thought blog)
Organization: Gold Trail School District (#74) in British Columbia, Canada
Current title: Grade 4/5 Elementary Connected Classrooms Teacher
Selected accolades: Virtual Schools Conference 2011 presenter, BCTF New Teachers Conference presenter

What skill(s) do you feel are most important for today’s students to explore in academic settings (tech or non-tech related)?

It’s important for students to be able to explore topics that are of interest to them. Let’s make things relevant, at a personal level, so they can understand why they’re spending time learning about it.

Visual literacy and visual arts are vitally important. What is a culture or a society without art, without that appreciation for information communicated through imagery? We are bombarded everyday with advertisements, websites, logos, photographs – children need to learn how to read and how to communicate with images.

Digital citizenship involves a set of skills that are crucial learning for children. In the past, citizenship involved being a responsible and dutiful person at a local, national and global level. Now, with the online spaces in which people apply for jobs, conduct business, socialize and much more, there is a component of digital citizenship which in a way, transgresses or blends local, national and global responsibilities.

  • Students need to be literate with technology.
  • Students should learn to behave appropriately and productively online.
  • Students should understand the meaning and impact of a digital footprint and be able to have the skills to build a positive digital footprint to prepare for their future.
  • Students should have critical awareness so that they are able to evaluate information found online.
  • Students need to have skills concerning the reusing and remixing of online content (copyright, creative commons, etc.).
  • Students need to be aware of what growing up in a world with the internet and the world wide web means in their lives.

Feed readers: video embedded. View Errin in action at The Connected Classroom.


Steven Anderson | Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

Name: Steven Anderson (@web20classroom | EdTech blog)
Organization: Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
Current title: District Instructional Technologist
Selected accolades: NOW Award Winner, Winner of the 2009 Edublogs Educational Twitterer of the Year, #140Conf Character, ASCD 2011 Conference Scholar (more…)