Tag Archives: technology

ISTELive2016- NOT!


ISTE2016 is right around the corner and many are gearing up to head to Denver for the ultimate tech-ed experience. While many are deciding which outfits to pack and making sure the have all the adapters to power all of their devices, I am stocking the fridge with quick snacks and making sure I have enough coffee. Just like last year I plan to spend the conference days at my kitchen table participating in ISTELive2016, the virtual version of ISTE with live presentations and backchannel discussions.DSC00034

Except… I just found out that ISTELive2016 is not happening.


I’m so very disappointed with the decision not to continue ISTELive.  Last year I spent three (plus) days glued to my computer watching and interacting with amazing presenters, as well as the ISTELive2015 cohort.  I was so enthralled that I forgot to eat.  When I walked the dog, I took my phone with me so that I wouldn’t miss anything.  I have gone back and watched the recorded sessions.  I made real connections that have impacted my teaching, connections that would not have happened if I could not attend ISTE virtually.

I’m not sure why this decision was made, but I can tell you that following social media feeds, and reading the presenters handouts is no substitution for the experience that I had last year.  ISTELive made me feel like I was part of ISTE, immersed in it.  When you hear your question being asked of a presenter and she responds to the live audience you can’t help but feel connected.  There was an energy that made me feel like I was actually there. Many of the ISTELive2015 cohort expressed the same feeling and many were planning, even then, to participate in ISTELive this year.

People have many reason for not being able to attend such an important and rewarding event; family obligations, work obligations, cost, etc.  It’s too late for me to even consider attending in Denver and obviously it’s too late to find a way to make ISTELive happen.  I will watch the twitter feeds, but I don’t expect that I’ll be glued to them.  I will read the handouts, but I can’t imagine that it will feel any different than any other day where I read my blogs and PD articles. In short, I predict that I, and many others, will be very disconnected from the ISTE experience this year.

So. Very. Disappointed.

Curricu-Links: Retweet Round-Up


Here are some interesting links that I found on Twitter over the last several days.  I hope you find them interesting as well.  Thank you to those in the Twittersphere who took the time to share.

Here are the same links in OneTab.

Google Maps and GAFE Apps


I’d like to make an appeal to Google for Education to include Google Maps in the Google Apps for Education (GAFE) suite.  I’d like to encourage my fellow techie teachers (and not-so-techie teachers) to make the same appeal.

Bear with me on this… here’s my situation…

I’m a thinker.  I don’t say this to imply that I’m some kind of super intelligent, Plato-inspired philosophical guru.  Those who know me know that this isn’t the case.  What I mean is that I like to think about ways to make things better.  I get inspired by those who are smarter than me and I think about how I can use their inspiration to improve what I do.   Unfortunately for me, and my patrons, I am not necessarily a do-er.  I get paralyzed by imaginary road blocks before my plans are ever put into action.  In many cases these grandiose plans never make it past my head and we all lose.

“Earth-Erde”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Earth-Erde.jpg#/media/File:Earth-Erde.jpg

Such has been the case for a project that I have had in the works for several years.  Each year, as summer break approaches, I have this inspired idea to map, with pictures, where my students read over summer.  I make a poor attempt at collecting photos and usually I get a handful of students and teachers who hand me photos.  The photos pile up on my desk and I forget about them until the following spring when I’m preparing for summer break.  Seeing the pictures reminds me that I want to try the project the following summer.  Rinse and repeat.

This summer I decided I WAS going make it happen.  I was bound and determined to bring this project to fruition.  Our district uses GAFE, so naturally I thought, Google Custom Maps… electronic images.. perfect solution! Except… Google Maps is not part of the GAFE suite.  I’m finally putting a plan into action, and I have a real-life road block!  Ever the thinker and problem-solver, I came up with my work-around.  I’d use my personal gmail account to create the Google Custom Map… not an ideal solution (I prefer to keep my professional and personal accounts separate) but again, I was determined.

After a lot of hoop-jumping, I was able to get the summer reading map created, with pictures, and able to embed it on the school website.  It looks the way I want it to look, and the feedback from parents has been very positive.  All is good with one small exception:  When I’m logged into my school gmail account, I can’t view the embedded map.  My best guess is that for some reason Google Maps and GAFE don’t play well together.  It should be so much easier to put this plan into action.

Why would Google Apps for Education not include Google Maps in their suite? The GAFE suite is designed to promote collaboration, creativity and communication among global learners.  What better way for students to understand their connection to a global community than by helping them to visualize what that looks like?

Including Google Maps in the GAFE suite would invite a multitude of opportunities for other creative, collaborative, educational projects.  Imagine students working in groups to map events during the American Revolution, using primary source images form the Library of Congress.  Language Arts teachers could create class maps featuring the settings of fictional stories.  Science classes could map migratory patterns of various species.  High school students could map the global repercussions of current events.  Students could create their own custom maps to make connections with places of personal interest.  These maps could become part of their educational portfolios.

There may be some very valid reasons that Google Maps is not included in the GAFE suite.  I’m guessing that maybe there are privacy issues, or maybe it’s just a matter of money.  I’d love to understand the rationale, but I have a hard time believing that providing access to Google Maps would present obstacles that wouldn’t be faced in the other apps in the GAFE suite.

So again, I’d like to make an appeal to Google for Education to include Google Maps in the Google Apps for Education suite.  I’d like to encourage my fellow educators to make the same appeal.

What do you think?

Curricu-links: Retweet Round-Up


Here are some interesting links that I found on Twitter over the last several days.  Thank you to those in the Twittersphere who took the time to share. Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 7.42.48 AMRight now this is just a hodgepodge of different topics, hopefully in the future I’ll have this a bit more organized.  You can also access these links through the QR code or my OneTab Link.

CIPA 10 Years Later


Today beginning at 11:00 EDT, ALA and Google are hosting a national symposium to revisit the impact of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Although CIPA is broader than education, if you’ve ever wondered about some of the technology choices that the schools make, this may provide some insight. You can follow the conversation on twitter at #CIPA_ALA13.  The meeting will also be archived, and will be made available on the ALA Washington Office’s Youtube Channel.

Source: The District Dispatch, News for Friends of Libraries, from the ALA Washington Office. July 23, 2013.