ISTE BINGO & edtech buzzwords

Having trouble solidifying your ISTE schedule? With over 1000 events in 4 days, narrowing down choices can be tricky. If this is your indoctrination into the world of edtech, try playing ISTE BINGO to ensure exposure to a range of current pedagogical philosophies. If you are an ISTE veteran, see if you can score BINGO in a single session by keeping an ear out for buzzwords. It may be possible to black-out your entire card over the course of the conference.

For the ultimate win, try and find a vendor with a tagline that scores a BINGO.


Bonus: ISTE Ignite BINGO

For those attending the rapid-fire ISTE Ignite sessions on Monday @ 8am and Tuesday @ 3:45, see if your presenters can hit the jackpot and score BINGO with this special ISTE Ignite 2012 BINGO card!



What to do at ISTE besides learn

San Diego ISTEThere is so much to do at ISTE that many teachers won’t venture beyond the convention center grounds for 3 full days. For those of you who are interested in learning a little about the city of San Diego, here are some tips from an ex-local:

Sun-worshippers will find no shortage of incredible beaches to choose from: Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach – each offers its own vibe. Each of these beaches have fire-pits and you can see the 9:50pm Sea World fireworks display from the beach.

In-n-Out is a California tradition, there are two locations fairly close to the Convention Center. The menu is super-limited, but if you know the insider language you can take advantage of a number of secret items. For adventurous eaters, San Diego has a growing food truck scene.

Traveling with family? If you are considering any indoor activity at all, The New Children’s Museum is a must-see. Educators will appreciate the guided activities – separate lesson plans broken up by age range. Sunday will be the final day of Princess Phoebe’s Birthday Present, playing at the Balboa Park Puppet Theater.

As far as animals on display for human amusement, the San Diego Zoo is one of the most spacious, respectful places you could hope for. If you have a car, consider the Wild Animal Park for an amazing safari experience. To see animals actually in the wild, consider heading to La Jolla to visit the seals at The Casa Beach.

Do vacations bring out the consumer in you? Beautiful weather means beautiful outdoor shopping spaces – check out Horton Plaza to make your credit card company happy.

Creating interactive YouTube videos for the classroom

On a flight home from an incredible couple of days of professional development at the Flipped Conference in Chicago (#flipcon12). Highlights included meeting some of my virtual mentors face-to-face, meeting the Ted-Ed team, and Brian Bennett’s keynote (@bennettscience).

Resources from my presentation on “YouTube Interactive are posted below (rss readers may need to jump to the website) – feel free to use, share, improve: (more…)

iPad end-of-year turn-in process

Our school year (and first year as a 1-to-1 iPad program) is coming to a close. Going through the intake process for the first time, it seemed like it would make sense to share our process and the support documentation we’ve created:

Teacher prep

  • Intake form for teachers – ( – we used this to document what had been received. Google Docs was used so that our changes would remain synchronized as teachers worked to log each interaction.
  • Turn in form for families (.pdf | .pages | .doc) – we provided and explained this document to parents and students at end-of-year conferences. Parents and students checked the devices out at the beginning of the year, it was only fitting to have both check iPads back in.
  • Screen cleaner
  • Computer wipes
  • Tub/box for accessories
  • Syncing computer with enough HD space to backup all devices


Student prep

For 2012/13, students will be issued the same iPads they used this year. In order to clear space for new apps and reduce back-up times, students were asked to organize the content they wanted and delete the multimedia that was consuming drive space. We provided time at school for cleaning up the iPad hard drives and had teachers on hand to help out with decision-making or procedural questions:

  • Organize files
    • Confirm that all files are named in a way such that you know what is inside before opening it
    • Group Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Photos, Video & Garageband projects by subject/grade or some other system
    • Delete any rough drafts of assignments that aren’t needed now that you’ve got a final version
  • Visit Settings>General>Usage and take a screenshot of how much hard drive space is free/used
    • iMovie
      • Export completed projects to your camera roll
      • Once that is complete, you can delete the iMovie project (which takes up lots of space)
      • Head into the Photo Library and delete all the rough snippets used to create your master Movie, which is safely exported in its entirety to the Photo Library
    • Other video
      • Access the camera app
      • Click on the little button in the bottom left that takes you to your photo library
      • Use the top menu to show ONLY videos
      • Delete any videos that are not needed any more AND were not final assignments
      • Visit ShowMe & ScreenChomp to delete any files you don’t need any more
    • Garageband – delete any practice tracks. Keep the stuff you love, dump the stuff you don’t.
    • Photo Library – we typically take 100 photos at a time and get 2 decent shots. Delete the other 98
  • Take another screenshot of Settings>General>Usage. Email both screenshots together in a single email to technology teacher


Intake process

  • Students remove iPads from cases and cleaned them
  • Teacher & student compare iPad to the signed turn-in form and agree on any damage
  • Student reports any outstanding software or hardware issues (volume button doesn’t work, won’t hold charge, etc)
  • Teacher logs the form and iPad turn-in on the iPad intake form
  • Student turns in accessories – teacher notes on iPad intake form
  • Teacher backs up all devices to laptop
  • Teacher charges/drains all devices to 50% before powering down
  • Proceed with warranty or Applecare claims on necessary iPads
  • Secure functional devices until August prep

4 new workflow software favorites

My classroom is a busy and sometimes hectic place to be (good hectic, think focused chaos). I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient with my time, and I’ve been playing with a few different pieces of software that may be working their way into my everyday life. Here are 4 companies that are making my life more productive, and why:

evernoteEvernote (free | iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7, Windows, OSX) – My blog posts used to live in WordPress’ “drafts” posts, meaning I only ever wrote while sitting at a computer (WordPress app is a little clunky, especially for photos & video). I’ve spent 2 weeks writing in Evernote, where I can keep my thoughts organized with or without an Internet connection. When writing a short story on Seattle’s Mini Maker Faire, I took notes, photographs and recorded interviews all from within the iOS Evernote app. Definitely going to continue with this option for a while and see if it improves my overall workflow.

snapseedSnapseed ($20 for computers | iOS, Windows, OSX) – The iTunes store “App of the week” is Snapseed, an intuitive photo manipulation application that elegantly takes advantage of iOS swipe controls. My students are loving the power that this software affords. Like Photoshop-very-lite but without the learning curve. There is also a full desktop version that I haven’t tried yet.

snagitSnagit ($50*1 | Windows & OSX) – Snagit is TechSmith’s screen-capture tool for Windows and OSX. I thought I was content with Windows PrtScn pastes into Powerpoint (right click to save as image) & OSX keyboard shortcuts into Preview until I tried Snagit. My favorite feature is one I’ve looked for in the past – the ability to take a picture of an entire website even if it longer than your screen is tall. (Example at the bottom of this post with perspective and edges added from within Snagit.)

cloudonCloudOn (free | iOS & Android) – CloudOn is an iPad app that connects the user to a server running Windows, where one can access full versions of Microsoft Office. While I prefer to do serious work on a laptop or desktop, there are times when edits need to be made on the go. A recent update of CloudOn allows users to save directly into Google Drive, as well as the app’s original Dropbox sync abilities.

snagit full-page screenshot

  1. Full disclosure: I received a free Snagit license through my registration to the Flipped Conference this June in Chicago. Thanks to Jon, Aaron & Dave (Techsmith) for this awesome hook-up. []

Making something special happen in Seattle

make magazine - maker faire in seattleSeattle Center will be a-whir this Saturday & Sunday (June 2nd/3rd from 10-5) with the first ever Seattle Mini Maker Faire. 150 volunteers are collaborating to put on a technology & art event expected to draw over 1,000 attendees.

The event is inspired by the DIY/hacker/art/technology culture that values craft, innovation and creativity in all walks of life. From circuit boards and robots to paper craft and games, there is something for everyone – Seattle’s makers range from the young LaSERClub kids to the self-described “old nerds” of 728.

“A Maker Faire is the perfect compliment to Science Week at Seattle Center. The Expo includes interactive company demonstrations and we are featuring the work of clubs, community organizations, and individual artists,” says event producer Christin Boyd.

solder station at seattle mini-maker faire
Meet up with home-grown organizations such as Sustainable West Seattle’s tool-sharing library or learn to silk-screen with SimpleKraft.

Get hands-on with the interactive art of Krane with a K or learn how Joshua Madara controls robots with his mind. A selection of workshops are listed online and a full roster of the weekend’s presentations can be found at the Seattle Mini Maker Faire website.

Children 12 and under are free (no ticket required), everyone else can grab a ticket online or at the door. The Seattle Mini Maker Faire will be held in the Northwest corner of Seattle Center.

The 5 best iPad apps for PE teachers

Chuck Milsap, Washington State’s 2011 Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year, shares his top 5 apps for PE teachers:

There are thousands of Physical Education-related apps to load on your iPad. My general belief is that the best apps are ones that can be customized to work for your specific student population. The following are 5 apps that I have found helpful in a variety of ways:

ChoiceBoard Creator (free): This app allows you to customize your own collection of picture choices for kids. Customize up to 6 pictures per screen and add sound effects. This app works great for choice time, teaching skill progression with pictures, communication with students with special needs and for customizing your own student assessments.

Show Me (free): This free app features an interactive white board that allows you to record your voice while you create images. You can even draw over any backdrop (a picture of your playground, gym, etc…). Simply save your creations and replay for your students when needed. This works perfectly for modeling games and more.

Labelbox (free): Use this app to quickly project an image with text. This works especially well as a warm up board when your kids enter the gym or to quickly highlight a specific skill, behavior, etc using pictures and text.

TempoPerfect (free): At first I thought this app wouldn’t be very exciting. I was wrong! This app allows you to set a tempo according to beats per minute (metronome). This works great for teaching kids about the heart, including what your heart rate sounds like at 60 BPM versus 200 BPM. Also, students can try to step to the pace of the tempo. This will allow your students to maximize steps per minute as you steadily increase the tempo.

SecondsPro ($2.99): This is the best timer app that I have seen so far. Create your own interval workouts, complete with customizable color backgrounds and song selection. Students will appreciate the large timer display and an occasional rest interval between exercise sets.

Middle School Media Arts Festival 2012

Seattle Country Day School hosted the 2nd annual Middle School Media Festival on May 18th.

Organized by Ethan Delavan, this digital arts celebration included the works of students ages 10-14 from around the Northwest – representing Westside School, Woodinville Montessori, Open Window School, Catlin-Gabel, Jewish Day School, Puget Sound Community School, Whitman Middle School, Annie Wright School, McClure Middle School, French-American International School and Seattle Country Day.

Young makers submitted digital film, posters, original music, websites and interactive game media. Two of my favorite pieces are embedded below:

RUNNER is a spoken-word video collage from the Catlin-Gabel school. Created by Daniel Linnell and Max Fogelstrom, with words by Mo Alan.

Cats & Cats Return is a blend of editing and production techniques set to a catchy tune. Created by Spencer Shaw of Puget Sound Community School.

iPad open house – lessons learned

This is the slidedeck I recently presented to Northwest area educators and IT directors at Seattle’s first iPad Open House, hosted by the Westside School.

The topic was “10 months into a 1-to-1 iPad deployment: lessons learned.” Main take-aways:

3 things we did right

  1. Scaffold for teachers – devices into teacher hands early in the summer. Professional development early in the summer. Regular check-ins to discuss discoveries and obstacles.
  2. Scaffold for students – started the year with no iPads. Conversations around the purpose and benefits of technology. Worked up to single-class use of iPads, then multiple periods, then all-day, and finally students took ownership of the iPads and they move freely between school and home.
  3. Scheduled reflections – students create e-portfolios that demonstrate learning at the end of each term. They use iPads to organize and present their reflections to peers, teachers and the parent community. Students also participate in periodic technology surveys that focus on using devices as a learning tool.

5 things we learned the hard way

  1. Evolving curriculum – middle school is 1-to-1, lower school uses a cart-based system. Teachers will be required to re-envision curriculum every year as upcoming students have a greater fluency with devices in a learning environment. (This is a good problem.)
  2. Device dependence – All students are under 13 so we have not asked them to create any cloud-based accounts. Content is typically locked in the iPad without using Dropbox, YouTube, etc to move files. Apple doesn’t have a great solution for this yet and email is less than ideal for the amount of video, music, photo content that students are generating.
  3. Version control – Google Docs isn’t ready for prime-time on the iPads. This leaves students emailing content back and forth to teachers, and thus ending up with multiple versions of the same document to manage. iPads don’t really have a “file structure” so past lessons on folder organization don’t apply.
  4. Technical support – Apple tech support are super nice people who don’t have solutions for most of the issues facing school deployments. Apple tech typically suggests iCloud or OSX Server, both of which perpetuate the brand lock-in and don’t solve issues. Many school IT consultants are running Windows-based systems and aren’t staffed with Apple experts, let alone iPad experts.
  5. Cleaning schedule – regular time set aside for physically cleaning each device is necessary. Same goes for the files in the devices too – iMovie projects take up tons of space even if you’ve already exported the final version.

The complete 1-to-1 laptop or iPad pre-deployment survey

Last Thursday was a great day of professional development as 30 educators from around the Northwest visited Westside’s iPad Open House. This was an opportunity for IT directors, teachers and administrators to see students in action and learn about the process of deploying a 1-to-1 iPad program.

As part of the event, we put together a list of resources, from multi-iPad management tools to educational apps to digital learning communities (embedded after the jump for website viewers).

I also attempted to take the past year’s experiences & tutorials and synthesize it into a single pre-deployment survey that covers pedagogy, infrastructure and budgetary considerations. This document can be used for either an iPad deployment or a laptop deployment and is free to download.
iPad one-to-one deployment resource from