Category Archives: General Information

ISTE Big 3

I was reading a blog post from Vicki Davis titled Walk on #iste12. The idea behind the post is “What are you going to do next?” There was a lot of information at ISTE and to focus on only three areas is going to be difficult, but here they are:

  • Personalized education – Our school and myself already have a focus on personalized education, but that is because of the CTE focus. I want to improve how I deliver content, projects, and interact with students to provide them with a more personalized education.
  • Apps – I saw several great apps for education and I am still deciphering them. My goals in to pick three to use in my classroom this year and provide a short description of all the other apps and provide them to our staff for them to research what would work best in their classroom.
  • Improve my presentations – I did not present at ISTE, but I participated in several great sessions where the presenters interacted with the audience, were engaging in presentation materials, and added back-channeling. I want to improve my skills in all three areas.

ISTE Day 3 – The End of a Great Conference

I know this is a day late, but the travel after the ISTE conference and work today caused the delay.

I only attended two “formal” sessions on day three and spent some time watching presentations from Adobe and Google on the exhibit floor. I also went for a walk to Seaport Village before heading to the airport.

Session 1: It’s All About You: Next Steps for Personalized Learning – This was not my first choice, but the session held by Buck’s Institute was full. This was a very informative session and it was nice to see that our school (and myself) is working towards some of the goals that the Department of Education is looking towards in personalized learning. I was also able to see what our school needs to work on.

Session 2: LOL@ ISTE: Cloud Today and the Potential for Rain – After attending serious and informative sessions for two days and change, it was nice to attend a very funny session.

This may be the best conference that I have attended as a teacher. I am looking forward to digesting information for the next few days, continuing to discussions on Twitter, and posting more thoughts here.

Euro2012 to Learn Math

I am a big soccer fan and there has been some debate on whether Cristiano Ronaldo should have been one of the first four penalty kick takers. I used to coach soccer at the high school level, but never was in a penalty shootout so I’m not sure what I would. The coach of Portugal has some valid reasons, saving the best player for last, for having Ronaldo kick last, but statistically is that the best option?

I don’t teach math so I may not have a clue about what I am talking about here, but I think that this could turn into a project. Any student that is a soccer enthusiast could research the length (number of rounds) of penalty kick shootouts in major tournaments the last 10 – 30 years. The can determine the average number of rounds a shootout lasted to determine where the best player should kick. If the majority of shootouts last 5 rounds, than maybe the Portugese coach was right. If not, maybe he needs a student to run some statistics for him.

I don’t know the answer to this problem….but that is why I hope a student would be interested in tackling this problem.

ISTE Day 2 – Great Resources and Food for Thought

Today at ISTE started off with a great keynote from Dr. Yong Zhao. He has a great mix of statistics and humor in his presentation. Some of the quotes from his presentation will be addressed in future posts, but I think his presentation and delivery was one of the best keynotes that I have seen. After the keynote, I attended four sessions with a breakdown of three of them below. There is only a breakdown of three because I walked out of a session and went to the exhibit hall.

Session 1 – EduTecher’s Web Tools Will Make Your Classroom Rock! – This presentation was not one of the one’s that I was planning on attending before yesterday because I had planned on seeing some other presentations on educational tools. Based on what I saw on Twitter yesterday, I changed my mind and wasn’t disappointed. Adam Bellow provided a list of excellent tools and short demos on how they worked. There were so many great apps that I emailed the list to four of my fellow technology teachers as soon as the session was over because I know that they will want to play with them before the school year starts.

Session 2 – Bailed out 30 minutes in and went to the exhibit floor.

Session 3 – A Broader Perspective on Data: Infographics and Visualization – David Warlick is an entertaining and informative speaker. By the time David’s session ended, I was ready to start creating my own infographics and develop a project for my students to create a relative infographic. One of the lines that David used what that he would like to see data fairs instead of science fairs. Considering that most industries are data driven in some manner, this would be a great exercise for students.

Session 4 – The Steep Unlearning Curve: Rethinking Schools, Classrooms, and Learning – There were several great sessions to choose from this time period, but I decided to go to Will Richardson’s because of the Twitter and blog posts that I have read from him in the past. His session was inspirational and also highlighted how much work there is to do to change education. I cannot disagree with the three things that teachers need to unlearn in order to rethink schools: delivery, assessment, and competitiveness. While I think that I have made changes in those three since my first year of teaching, I still have a ways to go especially in engaging others to unlearn what they have always done.

It was a great second day and I am looking forward to the third day tomorrow. There is so much going on here that I don’t want it to end, but I also know that I need time to absorb everything that I have seen and heard.

ISTE Day 1 – A First for Everything

Today was my first day at the ISTE conference – I skipped Sir Ken Robinson’s keynote because I had seen him a few months ago at the ACTE conference. I wasn’t sure what I should expect from ISTE, but the day contained a few surprises.

Every session was full so get there early. I have been to conferences where there are one or two sessions that are full during the entire conference. Today, I attended five sessions and all five sessions were full. For the first time attending any conference, I had a perfect record of picking sessions. I  went to five great sessions where I picked up something new or was inspired at each session.

Session 1: Are You in Top Form? Google Forms for Administrators – I use some Google Forms at school and our administration uses them as well. When I left this session, I was impressed by the templates and the formulas that make them work, the amount of data that was collected in these forms was incredible, and I realized that our school and myself do not use Google Forms enough to collect data.

Session 2: Becoming a Mobile Learner – Two years ago, the iSchool initiative video was shown at the Nevada ACTE conference. From the minute I saw the video, I was texting my principal and CTE coordinator that this is what we should be doing at our school. Two years later, I work at a school where 10th-12th grades can opt-in for an iOS device and was recognized for being an Apple Distinguished School. It was great to see how the iSchool initiative has developed over time. It was also great to get some apps to look at including: iStudy Pro, Cramberry, Meal Snap, and TourWrist (which I heard about 4 times today).

Session 3: Google Slam: GCTs Share New Tricks for Some “Old” Tools – I use Google products frequently and think that I am pretty good at most Google products. I learned several new “slams” that I will be able to use in my classroom including Google Voice for receiving questions from students, Form Emailer Scripts, and YouTube annotations.

Session 4: There’s an App for That! Finding Real Solutions with Today’s Apps (Version 2.0) – I was looking forward to this presentation all day because some of the educators on the panel were some of the first people I started to follow when I joined Twitter and I subscribed to their blog RSS feeds. While they did take some criticism in the backchannel for they way the technology was working, I was actually impressed how smooth it was going. It is difficult to alternate and project six different iPads using Apple TV and I thought they did a great job. This session was all about apps and I got a few that I can use including Mindo, Green Screen, and Tapose. The only thing that I wish was added to this session was that each panelist could have stated their favorite app.

Session 5: Beyond Googling: Using Technology To Build A Culture of Inquiry – Another session that I was looking forward to all day for the same reason as above. I have seen other presentations online from Chris Lehmann and this one did not disappoint. At my school, we do some similar things to the Science Leadership Academy and it was great to hear the stories from Chris and be inspired to do more with our project-based learning projects.

I have several other take-aways from today’s sessions and will post those once I fully absorb them. It is getting late and I am looking forward to day two of ISTE.

Pre-ISTE Conference

I leave tomorrow for my first ISTE conference. I spent a couple of hours last night going through the program and the concurrent sessions listed on the ISTE Conference website. ISTE makes it easy for you to keep track of the sessions that you want to attend. If I like a session, I just click “Add to Planner” and it adds it to my digital planner on the ISTE conference site – which I can download later. I go through all 13 sessions and then check my planner to see what my schedule looks like. Like most conferences, there are multiple sessions at the same time that I would like to attend, but there were a few time slots where I had up to four sessions that I had added to the planner. I am sure that this will get reduced when a couple of co-workers and I decide to divide and conquer through the sessions.

As it stands right now, the majority of the sessions that I want to attend focus on iPad apps, Google Apps, and blended learning environments. I love technology and attending sessions on these topics and,hopefully, it will make my life easier when presenting professional development in the fall and when presenting new content to students. I will try and post updates on this blog and on Twitter throughout the conference.

Summer Break?

My summer break has been off to a busy start. It started with my daughter’s graduation, which I worked since I am a program leader. I played parent more than teacher during the graduation process – taking pictures behind the scenes, taking video from the stage area as she walked across the stage, etc. I got to view my daughter’s graduation from a viewpoint that 99% of all parents do not get plus I got to shake the hands of 22 of my “other” children (my game seniors) as they received their diplomas. I finished that week with a meeting about working the last two weeks in June on a project for the school district.

This week, I have been working on that project creating screencast tutorials for the district’s curriculum engine. While I was hoping to be able to do the work from home, I have enjoyed going into the “office” to get the work done. I have taught myself a lot about using Adobe Premiere and working on a PC for the first time in over ten years.

In the upcoming weeks, my task list looks like this:

  • ISTE in San Diego
  • Finish the screencast tutorials
  • Complete my sections of the website science II district syllabus
  • Creating statewide assessments for the website design and development program of study
  • Create three different presentations for the Nevada ACTE conference – Evernote, iPad Apps for Classroom Management, Google Apps for Education
  • Attend the Nevada ACTE conference
  • Complete the Google Teacher Certification Application
  • Reorganize the Google Apps for Education accounts at school so they are sorted by graduation year and program area
  • Create class websites for the new teachers at Southwest CTA
  • Learn more Java and make an attempt at creating an eBook for my juniors
  • Sequence out the senior capstone projects for my co-teacher
  • Write my lesson plans for next year
  • Create more blog posts, original tweets, and posts to Google+
  • A family trip to Hawaii
  • Send my oldest to college

I am sure that I will be adding to the list as the summer progresses. It is a busy summer, but that is the way that I like it.

Busy Start to the Year

A very busy start of the school year has had me ignoring this blog which was something that I was trying to prevent this year. I do have several topics that I am preparing to write about in the next few days. Below is a list of items that I would like to discuss in the next week or two:

  • My partial abandonment of Google Forms for Student Assessment
  • Flip method
  • After-school game development program
  • My experiences in each of my game design classes so far this year
  • High school capstone projects
  • Digital portfolios
  • A couple of articles that I have read from the ACTE daily emails.

Outlining Sample Textbooks in Evernote

Over the course of the last few years, I have acquired several sample textbooks. Some of these books are ones that I requested and seriously considered, but others were either just sent to me or given to me by another teacher. I don’t use textbooks in my classroom because of the nature of the software I am teaching. Like software, most software textbooks are outdated before they reach the classroom.

This summer, I decided that I was going to outline every chapter each textbook in Evernote. By outlining the books in Evernote, I am able to quickly and easily search for information in the future. I have a sub-notebook called “Textbook Outlines” and I tag each chapter with the appropriate tags. I have included a sample image of my “Textbook Outlines” folder. Once the school year starts and I start writing lesson plans, I will post how useful this idea was or was not. If anyone out there has any better ideas for keeping track of the information in textbook samples, I’d be more than glad to hear about it.


I am in the process of rebranding my blog to focus more on the technology and teaching techniques that I use in the classroom. In addition, I will also focus on Career and Technical Education as it applies to me and the educational system as a whole.

Hopefully, this blog will be utilized as a resource for other educators.