Muddling through the blogosphere

November 14, 2016
by blogwalker

CETPA 2016 Student Showcase

If you are looking for a antidote to post-election blues, I highly recommend pulling together a student showcase of elementary, middle, and high school students excited to demonstrate innovative uses of technology. To that end, last week I was tasked by my district’s Technology Services Director to bring a team of students to the Sacramento Convention Center for the 2016 CETPA Conference. This was my first time to attend the CETPA Conference. It was also CETPA’s first time to dedicate a section of the convention lobby for a two-hour Student Showcase. What an enjoyable, inspiring morning!

Our youngest presenters, a team of four 2nd graders from Elliot Ranch Elementary School, introduced conference goers to  They were joined by Herman Leimbach Elementary School’s team of 5th and 6th graders, who were eager to share how to create a digital story through MIT’s Scratch coding program.

The video production team from Toby Johnson Middle School alternated between talking with visitors to their table and making the rounds to gather interviews for upcoming school-wide news broadcasts.


Toby Johnson Media Team member interviews CDW Educational Rep Eric Patnoudes.

Sheldon High School’s K9 Studios’ team dazzled conference goers, including vendors, with their virtual reality (VR) projects. I loved watching the teams interact with – and impress the heck out of – technology directors and visionaries from across the state.


Sheldon High School team introduces conference goers to virtual reality (VR).

This morning I received an email from Shawn Sullivan, who is featured with his students in the above photo. He wanted me to know that his students were interviewed by Google and that “Google was interested in sharing VR and how to use it in the classroom. They were excited to hear we already are using it. They gave a challenge to the students on creating educational content for the classroom. At lunch, that day, the students started planning what to do for that challenge!”

And CETPA rewarded the students with t-shirts and pizza. Nice combo! Wonderful event!

If I had had any idea of how amazing Dr. Robert Ballard’s keynote would be, I would have tried to persuade the student teams to extend their stay. Ballard is a brilliant + hilarious presenter (another nice combo). Although his keynote was not filmed, the TEDX Talk below and a visit to his website will give you an idea of why I was swept away by his keynote.

I came to CETPA incorrectly assuming that the conference sessions would be more for those who support districts’ technology infrastructures rather than classroom practices. I ended my CETPA experience with three great teacher/TOSA presentations:

  • Is Drive Driving You Crazy? – Rebecca Maas’s session was a reminder of why it’s a good idea to introduce teachers to Google Drive before jumping into Docs/Slides/Sheets/Forms/Drawings. When she mentioned color coding folders, for instance, a teacher shared that he has students color any shared folders red. Great tip!
  • Make Writing: 3D Printing to Teach Literacy and Writing – Teacher/TOSA/Edutopia columnist Heather Wolpert-Gawron and Principal Matt Arnold made visible an often missing component of the “maker movement”: writing. They shared their excitement over a significant transition (in attitude and learning) they witnessed with a group of disengaged LTELLs (Long Term English Language Learners), sparked by opportunities to explore what they could do with a 3D printer that happened to be housed in their English class. The slideshow provides a window into the depth, breadth, and awesomeness of the project.
  • Beyond the Classroom Walls: Developing Globally Aware Youth – I didn’t actually attend Karen Larson’s session, as it was during the Student Showcase, but I was able to connect with her before the keynote. My big takeaway from Karen’s slideshow and our conversation was the Partnership for 21st Century Learning’s K-12 Global Competence Guide, which provides teachers with a structure (via “indicators”) for viewing Common Core Standards and typical grade-level projects through a global lens.

The CETPA Conference switches locations each year, with next year’s event in San Diego. Based on my first impression, when CETPA returns to Sacramento, I plan to attend all four days.

June 29, 2012
by blogwalker

ISTE 2012 – Day 1 Highlights

My four-day excursion to San Diego for the ISTE 2012 Conference has been jam-packed with awesome sessions, great conversations, and  fun!  Here are some highlights from Monday:

Ignite sessions– “5 minutes and 20 images to tell your story, share your tool, and inspire an audience of your peers!” Such an energizer and a great model to take back to students, teachers, and administrators! The slideshow, unfortunately, does not include the speaker notes, so I’ve included a short description of each:

  • Chris Walsh –  Fast Five for Infinite Thinkers – Loved his 2-minute rule: “If you can find it online in two minutes or less don’t TEST on it!”
  • Mary Ann Domanska –  Publishing Kids’ Creative Podcast Stories Online Using Haiku – Primary grade teachers, you will love this one – a celebration of young writers honing their craft via technology.
  • Traci House – In Record Time: Disruptive Innovation to Say the Least – The August tornadoes that devastated Joplin, MO, could not stop Traci’s determination to open school on time, tapping into local and international aid and fast-forwarding into 21st century learning – textbook free.
  • Rushton Hurley – How Digital Video Changed One Teacher’s Life – Rushton is a master at combining humor and content – and in 5-minutes inspiring the crowds to consider the power of movie making to empower students and teachers.
  • David Jakes – What If? Five minutes was not enough for David Jakes’ message.  I recommend watching his 2011 K12 Online Conference presentation if you are striving to create culture to support change.
  • Vince Leung – The Evolution of Learning: Past, Present, Future – A compelling argument to bring real world examples (e.g., sports and video games) into the classroom – because those are the areas that students are willing to fail – and then continue on until they succeed.
  • Lisa Parisi – Jump Off the Testing Train – “Testing is not teaching.”
  • Justin Reich – Will Free Benefit the Rich? Fighting for Technology Equity – A call to provide ALL students with the same opportunities for challenging and meaningful use of technology within the school day.
  • Will Richardson – 19 Bold Ideas for Change – I’ve heard Will Richardson speak before, but not with this much passion. The 19 bold ideas for change are listed on the slideshow (you’ll have to scroll through), kind of like very compelling thoughts for the day. For example, Idea #11: “Repeat after me …’I want to be found by strangers on the Internet.'”
  • Alfred Solis – What is 1,000,000? – A High Tech High teacher… who has had Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey show up in his classroom to acknowledge his roll out of project-based learning.
  • Selena Ward – Igniting Creativity with Movie Making – “Movie making with kids is not about creating Hollywood films.”

Using Music and Images Ethically in Multimedia WritingNCTE’s Sandy Hayes provided wonderful historical context, resources, and tips for helping students learn to “flex their fair use muscles.”  Sandy’s one-page, double-sided handout lists her resources and includes the chart she uses with her 8th graders to help them development their analytical thinking skills.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills Birds of a Feather Session – I went to this session with a small but burning question: Has P21 considered adding a 5th C to their current list (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity): citizenship……the answer was “yes.” Whoohoo! (Digital) Citizenship will soon be the 5th C…so be on the lookout for a revised P21 poster🙂

Will post highlights from Tuesday and Thursday sessions later today:-)

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