Friday, December 9, 2016

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Online Learning Specialist Robin Sullivan!

Robin Sullivan is an Online Learning Specialist and Instructional Designer at the Center for Educational Innovation at the State University of New York at Buffalo.  She is also the Director for The Tools of Engagement Project.

In this interview I asked Robin about her thoughts on Online Education in general and about its future!  She is a wealth of information and talent.  It was such an honor to learn about her projects and endeavours.

Check out my interview below!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Tech Tip: Using your Bookmarks Bar for Productivity

At the NYSCATE 2016 Conference I gave a presentation on how to customize your Google Chrome browser for Teacher Productivity.  One of my favorite tips that I have found to be really useful is to organize the Bookmarks/ Favorites bar.  I didn't get to dig into it as much as I wanted at the conference, so I created a quick tutorial which is linked below.  Also, I have shared the website that I used that contained my resources, as well as, my top Google Educators Links!

Friday, November 25, 2016

My 2 BIG Takeaways from #NYSCATE16

Last week I attended, once again, the NYCSATE 2016 Conference.

NYSCATE is one of my favorite conferences because it has a wide range of relevant presentations and Keynote Speakers, as well as, many attendees are my colleagues and good friends.   This year I had the honor of doing 2 Coffee EDU sessions, which are open ended "Unconference" Style conversations that were developed by one of my all time favorite inspirations, Alice Keeler.  I truly enjoyed this informal get together with good coffee!  The attendees were certainly die hard Edtech advocates for getting up at 7AM to share.  Some generalizations of educators is, a) They love coffee! and b) they love sharing and receiving!

Our shared resources are located HERE  please add something to them if you were an attendee, or if you are an educator who enjoy learning from others!

On my ride home from the conference, I thought about the big ideas or takeaways from the conference and two major themes came to mind from two Keynotes.

Takeaway 1:  Think Future/ Try New Challenges.  Adam Bellow's Opening keynote was really thought provoking!  I have seen Adam several times and he never disappoints.  He covered a tremendous amount of ground, but one of his statements and I wish I had written it down, was something to the effect of Edtech savvy educators are Futuristic Time Travellers to the edtech wary (for lack of a better term).  In a sense, we inhabit a slight time warp ahead in using technology tools not yet adopted by the general education populace.  This rang so true to me as I have found myself the "rebel tech user" among my education friends.  It gave me a knowing chuckle, but it also gave me the renewed viewpoint, that I need to be a better "scout leader" in a sense, by starting my tech conversations at a different starting point. And yet, I need to keep pushing to bring out the edtech best practices for enhancing teachers and students' productivity and learning.  I also liked Adam's challenge to think outside of the box with your lessons.  Tech shouldn't just be used to use it, but to use it effectively to help learners.   My friend and colleague, Mike Sylofski tweeted:

On a lighter note, Adam's Futuristic comment instantly made me think of one of my favorite gags from the show, "The Office".  This skit was entitled, Future Dwight.

Lastly, I have been following the great work of Matt Miller from "Ditch That Textbook" site and he is in the process of getting teachers' feedback on the what the 21st Century Classroom should look like.  His post on this, can be found:  HERE.  Matt really has some insightful ideas, I would recommend following his email newsletter.

Takeaway Number 2:  Perseverence, talent and hard work are powerful forces to change the world was from Mike Massimino's beautiful Keynote where he related his trials and adventures of being a NASA Astronaut.  Mike truly gave testament to the notion of perseverance and hard work can produce amazing results.  His drive to become an astronaut met mighty challenges, but he finally made his way using grit and hard work as a student at Columbia and MIT.  His photos from space were truly breathtaking.  I think we all need to recognize that most of our dreams can only be achieved through passion, talent, and hard work.  It's never too late to take on new challenges using all of those factors in your favor.  I'm very much looking forward to reading Mike's Book.  Found on Amazon HERE

As usual, I have walked away from  NYSCATE, tired and inspired!

Monday, November 21, 2016

CoffeeEDU Sessions at NYSCATE 2016

Today I'm on my way to having our first ever Coffee EDU Session at NYSCATE 2016.  This creative idea which was spawned by Alice Keeler, is a way for teachers to come together over a good cup of coffee and share resources.

These sessions are meant to be in an unconference format of whoever shows up, is supposed to show up, and whatever you discuss and share is what is supposed to be shared leaves me with anticipation for what's to come.

I have created a Google Doc that I hope will capture some of what happens.  Check it out HERE

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Caitlin Krause

WHEN:  Wednesday November 9th, 2016
TIME:  4:00PM Eastern Time

I met Caitlin at this year's ISTE 2016 Conference and really enjoyed learning about her impressive body of work and future authorship.

To put a one-sized fits all tag on Caitlin's work is difficult to do, so suffice it to say, that she puts her energies into almost any creative and collaborative enterprise within an educational framework.  Her website is Mindwise, and on her pages you can find an incredible amount of ideas, scholarship, and collaborative opportunities to work with her.  Her website lists these major identifiers of her work.
  • Global innovation leader, international speaker, writer, artist, mindfulness consultant, coach, educator
  • Promotes interdisciplinary learning, STEAM innovation and design thinking strategies
  • Passionate about learning and interactive expressive technologies and media, including photography and multimedia art
Caitlin is finishing up her first publication scheduled for release in 2017.  I will ask her about her book as well as some of these questions.

  1. Tell me about your conceptual framework of Mindfulness, and tell me about how it has influenced your work and authorship?
  2. You have travelled extensively, what are your impressions of education in other countries?
  3. (Artist-Creative-Innovation) Storytelling meets tech?
  4. Where do you see education in 5-10 20 years?  Is that where you would want it to be?
  5. Tell me about your upcoming projects.  
  6. What are your thoughts on Virtual Reality?
Please join me for the interview via Youtube Live and check out Caitlin's social media channels:

Watch the Livestream

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Shelly Sanchez Terrell

WHEN:  Wednesday October 15th, 2016

TIME:  4:00pm- 4:30pm Eastern Time

VENUE:  Youtube Live

Can't wait to interview the incredible Shelly Sanchez Terrell.  I have been following Shelly through Twitter for years.  She has been a leading innovator in Educational Technology that has resources and ideas that have stood the test of time.  Want to know more about her and her new book?  Check out her website:

Shelly's New Book:  The 30 Goals Challenge For Teachers

Hoping to learn more about the book as well as her new ideas and projects.  Please join me live or watch afterward!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Part 2: Gaming, Gamification and Education: What if I'm not a Gamer? How do I keep up?

*Note:  This is part 2 of a series on why I think educators need to pay attention to Gaming and Gamification.  There are resources provided to help!

Let's face it, most active classroom teachers, administrators, and parents are busy!  After our school day ends, we are cooks, cleaners, chauffers, coaches, puppeteers, and volunteers,  (ok, so I snuck that puppeteer one in to make sure you were still with me.)

Our children are growing up in a video game rich environment.  From Angry Birds to Pokemon Go to World of Warcraft, most of our students are exposed to some sort of gaming environment.  So most educators and parents should be aware of these games for two important reasons:

1.  Relevant Content:  Many video games have amazing content that could correspond to school based topics and curriculum.   Many video games have historic themes and narratives that could be harnessed for a history class or literature class.  Most of us have watched Hollywood movies in our classrooms that can help with the content we are trying to get across.  Video games have this potential too.
2.  Harmful Content:  Parents and educators certainly should be aware that many games have violent and sexual themes and content.  The Gaming industry has a ratings system called the ESRB.  This is very similar to the movie ratings system.  Many parents may not be aware of this system and unwittingly purchase games that are not age appropriate for their children.  Stores that sell video games are required to not sell to minor's based on the content ratings.  From what I have seen, retailers have been following these guidelines.  I think parents often purchase games based on what their children ask for and don't do the due diligence to look at the ratings.  Please don't misunderstand, I'm not trying to come down on parents too harshly.  We live in an entertainment saturated world and preventing our children from accessing inappropriate content is incredibly challenging.   However, with a little more vigilance and some tough love parenting, (namely saying no to R-Rated movies and gaming content).

With that said, I have some assistance for you.  There are some awesome websites out there that will give you content analysis and maturity level analysis, so you can do some quick and easy research before you empty your wallet for a game your child has asked for.  Also for the teachers looking for writing prompts or content specific conversations that they can engage their students on, some of these resources will help give you some guidance about content.  

My top 3 Resources from this list?
1.  Common Sense Education- Ratings and Content Review  Awesome Site!!!
2.  Pixelkin- Game Reviews for Families.  Can filter by age level!
3.  Wikipedia- Yes Wikipedia.  I know many look down upon Wikipedia for various reasons. But Wikipedia has content reviews of many of the popular game programs.  Its valuable because it will give you the historical background as a teacher or parent so you can make sure that the game based content is accurate and appropriate.  Here is an example:  Assassins Creed
I hope these resources will give you some guidance and peace of mind when you go to purchase or talk to students about their gaming experiences. 

The key takeaway:  Be Not Afraid!  Be Informed!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Gaming and Gamification in Education Part 1- Resources for Teachers

I have spent the last few years of my career, really digging into and exploring how gamification principles that are employed mostly by video games, can be successfully integrated into K-12 Education.  As I have found valuable resources I have collected them on a Symbaloo Mix.  I have Linked the Mix HERE.  I will take some time over the next few posts to talk about how I organized my resources.

The first grouping of my resources are resources for teachers that can be used right now!  If you are looking to start using badges in your classroom, keep in mind Badges aren't just stickers.  They need to have meaning behind them.  Whenever I talk about badging and education I ask teachers to think about how the Boy and Girl Scouts use badges.  Each badge, button, or ribbon that is earned in these groups has important criterion behind them.   Your students should know the criteria going that will be used to earn the badge.  It is very motivating to earn a badge that you have earned by accomplishing something.   The badge itself then represents a level of accomplishment.  Much like your teacher certification or Diploma.  They are meaningful, because there was real achievement behind these goals.  Displaying your diploma on a wall or displaying a badge on your dashboard is a measure of accomplishment and not a way of bragging.  This should be understood clearly about badging.  Early in my teaching career, I used to give out homework stickers thinking they were motivating.  I didn't really establish a strong criterion for earning the sticker so the motivation level really wasn't compelling for students long term.
For teachers wanting to start with badging, I can recommend Credly and Classbadges for creating a badging Dashboard or Suitcase for your students.  They are both pretty easy to create and award badges for your students.  To create a quick and easy badge as an image, I highly recommend using Website.  Very quick and easy to create and download your own personal badges.  For some places to create a more high powered gaming interface for levels and badges I would definitely check out ClassCraft and 3D Gamelab.  These have Freemium versions that are very workable.  If you're not familiar with gaming protocol, don't be afraid to give these a try.  Your students will help you!
Last, but not least, I want to talk about a couple of ready to go gaming packages that are fun, AND highly engaging for students.  Kerbal, a paid for program, is an amazing SpaceShip creator gaming system that will amaze parents and teachers with the level of physics knowledge children will get tangentially.  (More on Tangential Learning later) The other program which is free, is the Mission US Game.  This is perfect for teaching US History for grades 4-8.  There are various missions that engage students through problem solving, historical music, and primary source documents.   The document list and resources for educators is one of the best I have come across.  Please tell your elementary/ middle social studies teachers about this game.  I can't recommend it enough.
I hope you will enjoy my resources and take some time to explore them.  Of course I would love to learn some more about resources for gaming that educators can use so I can add them to my list.

Monday, August 8, 2016

An Interview with John Spencer

WHEN:  August 10th, 2016

I have a great opportunity to talk with educator John Spencer. I have been following John's work mostly through Twitter and have been truly amazed at his evolution into an Edtech Superhero! He has been a powerhouse of creation and authorship. Can't wait to ask him about his work and his thoughts on educational technology's future.

Check out John's Work at: 
Follow him on Twitter:  @spencerideas
Read John's New Book Launch:  Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student  with Co-Author AJ Juliani 
Watch John's Tedx Talk HERE

The interview had some feedback issues when I was talking so I have posted the questions I asked John below, with his video responses!

Question 1:  Tell me about your evolution as an educator which is showcased by your blog:
John's Answer:  HERE 

Question 2:  From blogging you have some fantastic authorship.  Tell me about your books!
John's Answer:  HERE

Question 3:  What are your thoughts about Gaming and Education, have you thought about the process?
John's Answer HERE

Question 4:  When do you find the time for your prolific writing?  Are there some strategies you used to fit it into your busy day?
John's Answer:  HERE

Question 5:  Can you provide a working definition of what you mean by the terms Flow and Design Thinking?
John's Answer:  HERE

Question 6:   Do the concepts of flow and design thinking have carry overs for students for their future in careers and professions?
John's Answer:  HERE

Question 7:  You've made a lot of great videos for teachers.  Can you talk about creating videos?
John's Answer:  HERE

Question 8:  In reference to the Redifinition step of the SAMR Model, how do we get schools to push the boundaries of edtech to get to the redefinition area?
John's Answer:  HERE

Question 9:  So you did a TEDx Talk.  Can you tell me about that?  Was it nerve wracking?  Fun?
John's Answer HERE

Question 10:  From your start of your teaching career did you ever picture yourself where you are now?
John's Answer:  HERE

Question 11:  Does blogging have the power to transform teachers?  People?
John's Answer:  HERE

Speed Geek Questions:  HERE

Friday, July 29, 2016

ISTE Insights #5- Everywhere and Nowhere...

The opening keynote address was from Dr. Michio Kaku.  His presentation was highly entertaining and mind expanding, to say the least.  One of his catch phrases during his talk was,  "The internet is everywhere, the internet is nowhere".  This phrase was meant, in my understanding of it, to emphasize the amazing impact that the internet, and the technologies developed from it, have on our lives.  So integrated has it become that we hardly think about how we are using the web in general.  He made an interesting comment, as a futurist, saying that as the music industry has become digitized, (think the remarkable transition from record players to iPhones) so to will medicine and education become digitized.
This point has stayed with me since the conference has ended, and I think barring a nuclear or natural disaster, the notion of a digitized education landscape is indeed in the future.  While education always seems to embrace change warily, I do think that in 10 years digital devices and content will reign supreme.  And the proof is in the conference itself.  The major players in the technology industry, namely:  Google and Microsoft made a huge imprint on the conference.  As I walked the session hallways, all too often I would see Google Based or Microsoft based presentations with standing room only lines.  Google's Apps for Education as well as Microsoft's Office 365 apps and tools are certainly getting lots of attention, and for good reason.  While many of these tools are being used on the substitution level of the (SAMR) Spectrum, the future of their use along the redefinition model can be predicted.  For example, students using these platforms to create multimedia performance assessments, taking notes digitally, collaborating seamlessly, is an easy reality to imagine.
The SAMR Model (Puentedura)
In other words:  Schools truly changing the model of education to achieve, anytime, any place learning with schools becoming hubs for support, engagement, and collaboration.  Sports teams using technology on the sidelines to keep track of live time data or video analysis, etc.  So many other possibilities.

As a quiet sidenote...while Microsoft and Google seemed to be everywhere... Apple seemed to be nowhere.  Perhaps I just missed them, but I really didn't come across many sessions with their logo as highlighted tool or project.  When I walked the vendor floor, I didn't see any Apple exhibitors or people with Apple t-shirts, etc.  (Not to say there weren't plenty of participants with Mac Computers and iPads)  I found it interesting, and as someone who likes Apple and their educational endeavors, somewhat sad.  Where WERE they?  Why have they left education?  Or.... Have they?   It is my hope and theory that Apple is in development with something really big and bold.  So I am holding out hope.  They certainly are one of the biggest "digitizers" in the game.  Fingers crossed that  something new is coming.  
As a last sidenote, I did notice a company that is certainly familiar to most of us, make a big splash in the educational market.  Amazon had a wonderful booth at the vendor floor with lots of energy and traffic.  They are getting ready to release full scale the Amazon Inspire- Education Platform.  Still in beta, from what I saw this should open up some interesting new tools and ideas for the future of digitizing the educational system.

ISTE as always, inspired me.  This year though... it made me think deeply about the future.  And the Future looks.... digitized!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Coffee with a Geek Interview with Sarah Thomas July 13th, 2016, 4pm

Sarah Thomas and Me at ISTE 2016

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet amazing teacher, Sarah Thomas at ISTE 2016.  I came across Sarah's work through.... Twitter!  (Please educators, you don't need to post on Twitter, just follow, follow, follow)  Sarah's Twitter handle is:  @sarahdateechur

Sarah's blog (sarahdateechur) is such a wonderful read because it provides interesting anecdotes, teacher tested ideas, and thought provoking narratives on teaching and learning.  I am really looking forward to interviewing her and asking her about her experiences as a teacher, her ISTE Conference presentations and highlights (Especially CUE Rockstar), and More.  I would love to have you watch and participate with questions.  You can check into our interview by clicking the video link below.  

Saturday, July 9, 2016

My Takeaways from ISTE2016 #4 Machinima is Educational. Please don't discount it.

Know a child that loves video games?  Of course you do!  Why do they love them?  They are highly engaging, personalized, collaborative, they provide opportunities for success through trial and error, and have fantastic narratives, they are creative and thought provoking.  Need I say more?  So the challenge over the years has been:   How do we as educators harness the power of gaming, by making sure we are hitting on quality curriculum objectives?  One answer is to embed curriculum into video games.  This is known as Tangential Learning.  Want a better understanding of this phenomenon?  Check out this video:  Extra Credits *Warning, there is 1 four letter word in the video, so best not watch it around little ones.
Anyway, another way to harness the potential of video games is to have students create Machinima.  In a nutshell, Machinima is the process of using screenshots or screenvideos of gaming to create movies.  So for example. a student creates their own movie using scenes from their gameplay in Minecraft.  So students can write the script, narrate the action, learn how to make a movie using movie based programs, learn perspective, dialogue, history, storytelling.... need I say more?
If you are in Edtech, you have probably heard about the SAMR model of educational technology evolution.  The R stands for Redefinition- Redefining how we teach, assess, and learn.  Machinima can do that!  It truly combines the power of gaming and the essentials of curriculum all the while embedding creativity and collaboration.
On Tuesday evening at ISTE2016 we had an Edumachinima Night.  Sponsored by the Techsmith Company, this was an evening where student and teacher created machinima was presented.  Below are the winning entries.  Please take a look.  I think it will make the case that Machinima can be a powerful way to redefine education.

(The section below is from the Showcase notes from Kae Novak, Tanya Martin and Chris Luchs.

1.  The first machinima in our showcase is titled Invent-It: Open Sim Student Inventions and was submitted by Mrs. Mary Howard. This Machinima was created by students in Mrs. Howard’s 6th grade class. Celia , Edward, Ryan, Ashley, Joshua, Eleah, Elaina, Grace, Gia, and Hannah. In this Machinima you can see how the students literally attempted to Make the Future! They imagined, designed and then constructed futuristic machines designed to solve a myriad of problems faced by society. As you see their solutions, you'll see future inventors, engineers and designers. It was created in Open Sim. (total Length 6:34)

2. Our next machinima was a creation by Ross Dorfman, Bayley Schaefer, Joseph Royster, Jacob Meyer from North Carolina. It is titled The Infinite Loop and was created in Minecraft. This takes place in a future world where everyone lives in connecting biomes.The students ranged in age from 5-10 and worked together to bring you their original story. (total length 13:44)

3. The Rise of Zenix is another Minecraft machinima created by Robert Burdsall, Carter Hall, Ben Ziegler and submitted by their instructor Mrs. Patricia Cloud. It takes place in the future and past showing us some time travel.  (total length 1:31)

4. Finally we have a teacher submission. This machinima shows a poster area created for the VWPBE conference that has always focused on exploring future uses of virtual environments. Narration is by Mary Howard, Music by Kevin Macleod, and created by Andrew Wheelock. 

 ISTE VEN Poster Exhibit for VWBPE (total length 4:14)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

My Takeaways from ISTE2016 #3 Games and Simulations/ Virtual Environments Playground

Games and VEN Playground Schedule
We had an action packed Games and Simulations/ Virtual Environments Playground this year.  As you can see from our schedule we had some really trend setting presentations along with some corresponding table displays.  Some big ideas from this session:

Lyman Missimer showing Google Cardboard and Expeditions

  • Our playground was very active!  The playground location was ideal because there was lots of traffic and interest.  Thank you ISTE Planning committee!
  • Some new technologies that are breaking into our playground consciousness.  Virtual Reality.  I saw lots of session and vendors promoting VR.  I had a demo from the Nearpod group and was surprised but quite fascinated that they are investing in VR.  
  • Along those lines, Lyman Missimer from Google gave a great presentation on Google Cardboard and Expeditions.  (Can't wait to find out about Google Daydream)
  • Bitcoin and its newest extension Block Chain are concepts and technologies that everyone should keep an eye on.  They are touted as the next disrupters.  I need to learn more about these concepts. 
  • Second Life still has so much to offer for educators looking to push boundaries and connect.
Barbara Seaton Talking about Second Life and Education

Mary Howard showcasing Future Virtual World Projects
  • Classcraft provided some wonderful water bottles to hand out to playground attendees.  Thank you Classcraft.  This platform is definitely worth a look for educators looking to engage their students. 
  • Lastly, but not least. great work from PLN Chairs, Scott Merrick, Kae Novak, and Chris Luchs for making a magical playground.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

My Takeaways from ISTE2016 #2 ISTE Standards for Students

The ISTE Standards for Students. Over the years, in my role as teacher, tech integrator, and professional developer, I have used and aligned the ISTE Standards for students and teachers. They have provided a guiding roadmap for my work and thinking as it relates to Educational Technology.

This year at ISTE the new 2016 Version of the ISTE Standards for Students was released. This group of standards is particularly meaningful because I was selected to be on the standards committee that helped craft these standards. I have never been through a process to develop a set of standards that would have such far reaching publication and usage. I must say it seemed like a daunting task which I thought would involve a lot of debate and discussion. We did have some debate. We did have lots of great discussions. And yet, the process was incredibly rewarding because we talked, listened to viewpoints from across the world, and then worked, refined, revised, and in the end produced some high quality work.

We had an incredible leadership group that guided us through the process. Namely:

Dr. Anna Baralt, Shorecrest Prep School Inc
Wendy Drexler, Independent
Jim Flanagan, ISTE
Dr. LeeAnn Lindsey, Arizona State University
Dr. Yolanda Ramos, ISTE Staff
Sarah Stoeckl, ISTE Staff
Carolyn Sykora, ISTE Staff

I can't tell you how impressed I was with this incredible group. They gave us lots of work to do, but also some really powerful guidance and support. It was truly one of the most rewarding processes I have had the honor of participating in.

I would encourage all educators to take a look at the final product of these standards. My hope is that you will find them to be a great guide for your lesson development, and student learning.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

My Takeaway's From ISTE 2016 # 1

There are so many great insights and  posts about #ISTE2016, that I will try to keep this brief and to the point.  Much of my time was spent getting ready for our playground that I didn't get as much time to see as many session as I wanted but I did come away with 5 key insights.

INSIGHT 1.  The TeachMeet Session was really great!  Basically, you can sign up to present something, in 2, 7, or 20 minute time slots.  Then the organizer's post the sessions and participants contribute, tweet, and share.  It was really well done and informative.

Session posts and info are here:  Teach Meet ISTE

Friday, July 1, 2016

Humbled and Grateful

This year's ISTE 2016 Conference was unbelievably successful, (which I expected) yet incredibly humbling, (which I hadn't expected)

My hopes going into ISTE2016, where pretty similar to my past conference objectives.  

1.  Connect with new amazing educators
2.  Connect with the many friends and colleagues, I have cultivated over the years.  
3.  Learn about the upcoming trends
4.  Generate new ways of thinking about Edtech based on the various sessions, keynotes, playgrounds, poster projects.
5.  Make this year's Games and Simulation/ Virtual Environments Playground better than ever.

Well, without a doubt, I can say "Mission Accomplished" for my goals going into the conference.
However, things changed drastically on Monday Afternoon! (for the better)

For those who aren't familiar, there is an awards ceremony, hosted by ISTE CEO, Brian Lewis, and ISTE President Kecia Ray. It is a wonderful event where you can see, meet, and applaud amazing educators from all over the world.

There are individual Teacher Awards (i.e. Young Educator Award), School Awards, The President's Volunteer Award, and lastly, the "Oscars" of Edtech awards, the Making IT Happen Award.
It is such a fantastic event to be a part of because within an hour and a half see and meet some of the most engaging and energetic leaders in educational technology. As the Making IT Happen Awards were being announced Mila Fuller (ISTE's Upcoming President) from started to talk about, "The Department of Wild and Ideas" which has been my Motto for quite some time. I was literally in shock as she started to read off a list of my accomplishments. I have never considered myself in the same league as all the others I have seen win this prestigious award. So when I went to have my jacket put on the stage, I really was unbelievable nervous. I can't even remember to much of my mumbling acceptance speech. I tried to convey that what has made a difference for me was the project that involved the Diary of Anne Frank. Anne's inspiration gave me the mindset that I needed to start my educational endeavours with the focus of helping others and not myself, that put me on the trajectory to start doing innovative and creative projects to empower students and teachers.
There were so many great leaders in the audience that have directly inspired me, and I really should have thanked all of them.  It's so rare you get such an amazing collection of educators in one place. 

I am so grateful and honored. While the jacket is such a great recognition, wearing it makes me feel like I have so much more to do!

Thank you ISTE, Thanks so much everyone for inspiring me.
Good buddy Scott Merrick

Kathy Schrock and me!

The Jacket!

ISTE President Elect Mila Fuller, who introduced my award.

Kari Stubbs from Brain Pop

Saturday, June 11, 2016

My Interview with Eric Curts

When: May 4th, 2016Time : 4:00Pm-4:30Pm Eastern Time

If you're a teacher using Google Apps for Education or just an edtech savvy educator, then Eric  Curts is a "Must Follow".  His website offers and amazing array of tips, tricks, and ideas on incorporating Google's educational ventures into your classroom for maximum productivity and student success.   I will be talking to Eric about all things Google and more!

Eric's Bio:  Eric has been in education for 24 years, and is currently serving as a Technology Integration Specialist for the Stark Portage Area Computer Consortium in Canton, Ohio where he oversees Google Apps for Education implementation, training, and support, as well as online learning and other technology integration initiatives. Eric is an authorized Google Education Trainer and a Google Certified Innovator and provides Google Apps training to schools, organizations, and conferences throughout Ohio and across the country. He is a co-leader of the Ohio Google Educator Group (GEG) at and blogs at where all of his Google resources can be found. Eric is married with four children. 

More information can be found on his personal website at