Category Archives: Random Bits

ISTE 2015 – Poster Sessions

I perused the poster sessions last night and it was so wonderful to see so many people passionate about what they are doing or have done. I posted on my ISTE 2015 Pinterest board some of the websites associated with the sessions that I took a gander at.

This morning it dawned on me that I’m in a building with people who speak the same language as me. It’s so liberating to use terminology and have other people immediately know what you’re talking about without a lengthy explanation. Just my tidbit for the moment.


ISTE 2015 Day 1 – Opening Keynote

 ISTE Philadelpha 2015I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to attend the 2015 ISTE Conference. I’ve been hoping to become a member of ISTE, let alone attend the yearly conference. This year’s conference is right in my backyard across the bridge in Philadelphia. I’m going to make the most of the experience and try to blog everyday and add my thoughts and what I’ve learned.

Yesterday was my first day at the conference marked by an inspiring keynote by journalist Soledad O’Brien. In the few hours I was in the Pennsylvania Convntion Center I followed several new people on Twitter, made a new network contact, and gained several new Twitter followers myself.

My first thoughts fall on the opening keynote. The event began for me with a high energy atomosphere created by the talented Big City All Star Band from Winnepeg, Canada. The first presentation was part of the Ignite sessions at ISTE 2015. Presenter Rafranz Davis gave her thoughts on diversity in technology education and set the tone for my thoughts for the evening, how can my school help? How can I get my students envolved with diversity?

This was followed by a short interview by Brian Lewis, Cheif Executive Officer of ISTE and Kecia Ray, Chair with Lord Jim Knight, who was the Minister of State for Schools and Learners in the UK. His contribution to the evening reafffermed me position of support for teachers.  tweet 1One of my favorite parts of my position is backing up teachers and giving them the support they need to facilitate technology in their classrooms. He mentioned also that just the act of purchasing technology does not necessarily teach technology.

Sketch of Soledad O'Brien Keynote

Image created using Paper (@FiftyThree) by Matt Miller @jmattmiller

The entertaining and though provoking speech by Soledad O’Brien opened my eyes to so many possiblilties for my school to use technology act in accordance with it’s mission to put minds at work, hearts with God and lives to service.  The theme of diversity was continued as Ms. O’Brien talked about her involvement with disadvantaged students through The Starfish Foundation and her role as a journalist documenting the struggle of students stuck in a sometimes broken education system.

Google Expedtions
She presented her own integration of technology using Expeditions by Google which lead me to my own thoughts on how I could leverage augmented relality with my own students. She uses Google’s latest to introduce high school students to different careers that they otherwise would not be exposed to. This was a really cool presentation and I would love to do something like this in collaboration with another school.

Soledad hit on the ideas of closing the acheivement gap with technology and allowing students to learn the way they learn best. She talked of the importance of access to to technolgoy and teaching students to be digitally literate.She said,  “Technology for technology’s sake is a waste.”  almost echoing something Lord Knight said earlier in the evening.

My Take-Away:

One of my goals for the upcoming school year involves global collaboration. This keynote ignited my fire for working with disadvantaged students whether it’s across the globe or in our own backyard. There are some many Catholic schools in the same diocese as my own that we could partner with to share what we are learning and doing with technology.  My final note from last night was this, how can we “leverage technology to change the world.” (S. O’Brien) and use our blessings to help others.

Common Sense Media – Certified Educator

Certified Educator BadgeEver since I started teaching “computer” 5 years ago, back before I was a “Technology Integrationist” (labels — don’t you just love them?) I used a web based resource called Cybersmart Curriculum. I knew that it was important for students to know how to act and react to what they were doing and saw on the web. The Cybersmart Curriculum became part of Common Sense Media and as a mom I’m always hitting up that website to check on things like if the new Captain America movie has too many profanities or should my 5 year-old-play Grand Theft Auto (actually a no brainer, but you get my point)

Recently I applied to become a Certified Educator of Digital Citizenship  through Common Sense Media and their curriculum and this morning got my certification!

It’s a great tool for any age level and I’m a big fan of their curriculum. It’s split up according to grade level and different themes from internet safety to creative rights and copyright.

Poster made my 2nd graders about online safety

2nd Grade’s Online Circle


This year my 2nd graders learned and discussed which people in their lives are safe to talk to online. We made a great poster of their “online circle” as a reminder of friends, family and community members were on their green list of connections online.  Not only did they have a blast creating the poster but they gained digital citizenship knowledge for the future, since let’s face it they aren’t hitting each other up on Instagram and Tumblr just right now.

I think that’s the important point of teaching even Kindergarten and PreK about digital citizenship. The Internet is just part of our lives now. It’s as important to know who to connect with as learning “Don’t talk to strangers” or “Look both ways before your cross the street” Common Sense Media has put together wonderful tools to help educators and parents teach students how to “Look both ways.”

Ed Tech Nirvana

Just a quick post. I’m in ed tech Nirvana. Chromebooks just came and pushing apps to the master iPad for the cart roll out.