7 Resources for Attending ISTE12 Virtually

For the first time in many years, I will not be attending one of my favorite conferences –  the ISTE conference.

During that week, on the opposite coast, I’ll be teaching a one week course in an Educational Leadership graduate program locally.

In exploring ways to connect and learn along with passionate educators on the opposite coast at ISTE I wondered:

How can I connect virtually? What resources are best for others wishing to do the same? What resources can be shared with my classroom so that they can connect with some of the ideas at ISTE12?

This year’s theme for ISTE is Expanding Horizons. This theme is a perfect tie in for connecting virtually!


7 Resources for Attending ISTE Virtually

  1. Twitter – If you are not on twitter, sign up for a twitter account. If you are new to twitter, access this Twitter Handbook for Teachers created by those at Powerful Learning Practice.   It contains ‘how to’ resources, basics guides and a list of twittering educators which you can follow and also join. My virtualiste12 twitter list will be located here.
  2. Hashtag #ISTE12 – Follow the hashtag for the conference. Lists will connect you with a certain group but following the hashtags will give you a wide range of results and resources as you will see results from anyone using the hashtag.  If you use the application Tweetdeck to access Twitter, you can create easy to follow columns for any list, search term or hashtag. To connect with others attending virtually use the hashtags #iste12 #virtual or #virtualiste12
  3. ISTE Ning – Join the ISTE 2012 ning. Create a group there or join a few.
  4. Full Program Guide – Read about the sessions, posters and events. Shared presentation materials are linked here. At the main site, you will also find news feeds, video clips and other updates.
  5. Google Reader – Set up a Google Reader account to follow bloggers at ISTE. By following  ISTE Unplugged you will be able to find blogs to add to your reader. ISTE has a blogger list you can access or join too.
  6. Mobile AppsISTE Mobile App has a list of standards and the ISTE Connects Blog, ISTE12 Conference App lists sessions and more.
  7. ISTE Remote – ISTE has a pay option which provides access to certain sessions. See the schedule here http://www.isteconference.org/2012/program/participate_remotely.php

About the ISTE Conference

Sponsored by the International Society of Technology in Education, the ISTE Conference draws close to 20,000 people and is the gathering place for scores of educational technology enthusiasts.

Educators gather to discuss new trends, to talk about what works what does not. Sessions explore best practice and emerging trends. The vendor floor is full of product samples and representatives ready to answer your every question.

Most importantly, it is a fantastic place to connect with people. That is what makes it great. ISTE is about the people – the passionate educators and educational supporters who bring the best of today’s learning strategies to our classrooms.

Though you may feel like a fish out of water not being at ISTE in San Diego, happily you can explore it before, during and after virtually! Taking advantage of virtual learning is more doable than ever before. Connecting with educators around the world is a lesson in 21st Century learning in and of itself!

This list is a beginning. What other resources would you add?

“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.” Carl Rogers”


Related Posts

Online Options for Professional Learning

This post is cross posted at SchoolCIO a division of Tech and Learning Magazine.

Web Tools Picks – June 2012

In working with technology, we have a seemingly never ending array of web based tools for doing our work. In working recently with teachers, I gathered a selection of top used classroom tools. Though these teachers are Business and Technology teachers at the high school level, these tools are broadly applicable to many classrooms or for organizational use.

Feel free to use these presentations with your teachers or contact me for more information. I’m happy to assist your organization or school either face to face or virtually as you explore technology for teaching and learning.

All resources posted to this wiki.

Below is a selection of tools used with teachers in February. There are some favorites that many find very valuable and will be found in both selections.

Web Tools for Learning

I enjoyed working with teachers this week in West Chester discussing learning in the 21st Century, NETS Standards and sharing the Tpack Model and some online tools to enhance lessons in their classrooms. These teachers are in classrooms where students have access to one to one netbooks daily in their classrooms to support learning. What a creative and energetic group! They had additional suggestions of great tools to explore. Above you’ll find the ones we looked at. Which ones would you add?

Planning for One to One Laptops and BYOD

If you were taking a long awaited trip, how far in advance would you begin planning? A year, three months, one month?
You’d surely want to make sure that is enjoyable, worthwhile and that your trip is just what you had envisioned. You would plan well in advance.

What if you are implementing new technologies in the classroom? How far in advance would you begin planning? Two years, one year, one month?

If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else. – by Berra, Yogi

If you are going to implement an innovation such as a one to one or bring your own device (BYOD)  it must  be done on purpose and with purpose.

Indeed, some say that if you don’t plan for one to one or mobile access in your schools, it will simply happen to you. Increasing requests and student needs many necessitate it in some cases and the planning won’t have been done.  This scenario is the one most would want to avoid.


Baseball Diamond
The growth of One to One programs is an important educational development. There is substantial research such as found in the Speak Up Survey to tell us that this is an educational technology trend whose time has come,.

One to one programs put the world at our students fingertips. Indeed, they hold lots of promise.

One to One Implementations

There are many districts leading the way such as Van Meter in Iowa. I visited Van Meter in the spring of 2009 and was
immediately taken by the high level of student engagement and easy manner with which the students could describe how one to one expanded their learning. What struck me most however was how both the school’s administrators and teachers easily spoke to the goals for the one to one initiative.   From the superintendent John Carver down to the teachers, such as Shannon Miller, there was a common focus in regards to their goals and direction.   They knew where they were going and why.
Everyone seemed to be on the same digital ‘page’ so to speak. Solid planning clearly had occurred at Van Meter.

If you are thinking of planning a one to one or BYOD  initiative what steps might you take?

Steps for Planning One to One / BYOD


Learn about what other schools are doing so that you can learn from their process, their challenges, their successes
Consider the ways in which one to one learning suits your school’s needs
Consult existing technology plans and existing academic plans and goals. Hopefully, they are integrated.
Talk to students about how they will use the technology and adapt to the changes. Gather their input

Select the Tech

Investigate various equipment – Laptops, netbooks, tablets, cell phones. Include insurance fees.
Choose software applications and web tools that will support learning best
Update bandwidth and electrical as needed


Choose a group of teachers and/or students who can implement early
Get student input on the progress
Get teacher input on the benefits and challenges
Monitor progress and evaluate the program
Make a list of changes that are needed before broad-scale implementation
Get excellent professional development and encourage individual teacher professional learning


Consult existing plans and expand them as needed
Bring students into the planning and evaluation processes
Allow teachers time to collaborate on best practices, best resources
Create and mold policies to support the learning

Educate the Community

Make sure that you include parents in the process
Share the academic goals and strategies which are being employed
Advise them of policy changes
Advise them of their role in supporting their child’s use

Implementation Time

A Philadelphia school, Mercy Vocational High School, is embarking on a one to one program for the 2011-2012 school year. They are blending one to one and bring your own device.

  • One to One Netbooks  for the freshmen and sophomores
  • Bring Your Own Device for juniors and seniors

It was a multifaceted approach to planning for Mercy Vocational High School says administrator Catherine Glatts. They covered all of the bases from technical to administrative to professional development to community support well in advance.


On Listening: ‘What helped us most was connecting with other schools who were already implementing some kind of 1:1 program. I listened to their lessons learned.’ Catherine Glatts, Mercy Vocational High School


On Educating the Entire Community: ‘Our administration is on-board with technology. They have been very supportive in moving the technology program forward.
Benefactors helped to make it reasonable for our students since many could not afford to buy their own netbook.’

On Professional Development: ”We trained our faculty and continue to train them. Faculty acted as students for a day, carrying the netbooks and using online tools.
We focused on just two tools to teach them at first: Google Apps and Edmodo. I, as an administrator, shared many google docs with my faculty so they had an opportunity to understand Google docs.  We also set up a faculty group in Edmodo to share ideas and promote other interesting links and tools.’

On Collaboration: ‘I have a  fantastic tech team to help promote the technology. They are always willing to help whomever needs help.’

On Selecting Tech: ‘Having good bandwidth is important. We are still testing our bandwidth and upgrading our Internet service.’


In summary, listen to those who are doing it now and plan wisely. Our students are worth our absolute best efforts.  Successful planning for educational technology initiatives can make all the difference in the world. Plan well in advance on purpose and with purpose and create the 21st century classrooms our students deserve.

Related Resources

7 Critical Questions for Technology Planning – TechConnects

Van Meter Schools, Iowa

One to One Schools

Mercy Vocational

Speak Up Survey – On TechConnects

This is cross posted on School CIO published Tech and Learning

On TechConnects

Online Options for Professional Learning

Flashes of Light









It is the flash which appears, the thunderbolt will follow. Voltaire

Ask an educator to describe a professional development or training day.
Do the words engaging, collaborative, enlightening, empowering come up? They should.
If your school or district is relying solely on sit down, one size fits all training, there is a good chance you are not getting the
participant satisfaction, or more importantly,  the results your school and your students need.

Making professional development days both effective and engaging is critically important as it is ultimately beneficial to students. A wide array of professional development options exist today which take advantage of the latest technologies and today’s rich online social learning environment. Adults today are accustomed to accomplishing many things online on their own time in a self directed fashion. There has been no better time than the present for taking a close look at online options for professional learning.

Blended learning is not only for students. Blended learning can be a real and powerful force in professional development. In the book Blended Learning by Curtis Bonk, we are reminded that Blended Learning is a concept whose time has come. Though the term ‘blended learning’ has been around since 1920, today’ s use of blended learning involves ‘technology mediated learning’.

  • Anytime
  • Online Resources
  • Media Rich
  • Learner Choice

How can schools open options to teachers and administrators beyond the simple one size fits all ‘sit and learn’ sessions? How can your school adapt and incorporate these new means of learning for teachers?

Online and Blended Professional Development Options for Educators

  1. Online Professional Learning Community – Consider using an online community for teachers. There, teachers can discuss topics relative to their schools and classrooms. They can pursue resources to support school academic goals and collaborative projects. Many schools administrators have found this to be an effective means for connecting with teachers outside of regular professional development days. Online communities can be made private for your faculty only.
  2. Virtual Sessions –  Provide online professional development. Archive it for later viewing. In the schools in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, virtual academy classes have been offered since September of 2009. They begin their third year in September. This has been an effective solution for providing professional development across a broad geographic area. Covering many 21st century learning themes, virtual sessions have been made optional to teachers and administrators during after school hours. As a result, 15% of teachers attended virtual sessions outside of school hours. Many more accessed the archives.
  3. Form a Professional Learning Network (PLN) – Teach teachers to connect online to other educators and to other ideas by forming a Professional Learning Network. Today’s web tools such as Twitter, Google Reader, Delicious and others allow teachers to read and comment on blogs and literally enter the classrooms of others online. Online communities exist also where teachers can network with one another sharing excellent resources. These connections can infuse teachers with new ideas, new strategies and allow for global connections in his/her classroom.
  4. Record Site Based Sessions – If you do happen to hold site based sessions, be sure to record them for later viewing. A teacher who was absent from the session or wishes to access it later for any reason will be happy to find it that it has been archived.

Increasingly adults carry out many tasks online. Why not provide access online professional development too?   Administrators and school CIOs can tap in to blended online learning professional learning options to create meaningful experiences for learning in today’s classrooms. A wide array of professional development options exist today which take advantage of the latest technologies and more importantly harness today’s rich online social learning environment.


Related Resources


Take Action Checklist for Technology in Education

Speak Up Survey – Take Action Checklist for Technology in Education

What do you do when you read a research study related closely to the work you do?Do you share it? Save it? Discuss with colleagues?What makes a research study truly valuable is taking those results and turning them in to action.

Speaking Up about Classroom Technology

Recently the Speak Up Survey was released. Studies such as these are intriguing and insightful. They are more than that though. They are guides for us in a rapidly changing world.  It is however up to us to act on them. We must turn them in to action.

Speeding Train

Speaking Up about Classroom Technology

Recently the 2010 version of the Speak Up Survey was released. Studies such as these are intriguing and insightful. They are more than that tough. They are guides for us in a rapidly changing world.

It is however up to us to act on them. We must turn them in to action.

In schools as in many organizations, technology can seem like a swiftly moving train going to an unknown but highly rewarding location. We know we need to get on this train. We just don’t always know when and how.
If we let them research studies such as Speak Up and the Horizon Report can act as the ticket which gives us entry to innovative and new learning if only we are ready to take action.

How school leaders take those results and turn them into action?

Close to 400,000 students, parents and teachers were polled in the recent Speak Up 2010. Conducted by Project Tomorrow, the Speak Up Survey conducts yearly studies on Education and Technology. Take the time to read and share the full report with others in your school community. The results point us to desired classroom environments where mobile technologies, online learning  and collaboration and access to digital resources are abundant and effective for learning.

Key Findings – Speak Up 2010:

* 67 percent of parents said they would purchase a mobile device for their child to use for schoolwork if the school allowed it, and 61 percent said they liked the idea of students using mobile devices to access online textbooks.
* 53 percent of middle and high school students reported that the inability to use cell phones, smart phones or MP3 players was the largest obstacle when using technology in school. Additionally, 71 percent of high school students and 62 percent of middle school students said that the number one way schools could make it easier to use technology would be to allow greater access to the digital content and resources that Internet firewalls and school filters blocked.
* Parents are increasingly supportive of online textbooks. Two-thirds of parents view online textbooks as a good investment to enhance student achievement compared to 21 percent in 2008. However, E-textbooks are still a relatively novel concept in the classroom. Slightly over one-third of high school students report they are currently using an online textbook or other online curriculum as part of their regular schoolwork.
* Nearly 30 percent of high school students have experienced some type of online learning.

Mobile Learning Speak Up 2010

Below is a checklist that can be used to help you to use and act on findings in the Speak Up Survey.

Key Trend Checklist for School CIOs/Technology and Educational Leaders

Mobile Learning-Key Trend 1

___Seek examples of successful mobile learning initiatives by connecting with other educators, other schools. Visit those classrooms face to face or virtually. Learn about what challenges and benefits they face.
___Ask students what school related tasks they would use a mobile device for.
___Find out if parents be willing to purchase a mobile device.
___Find out if teachers would be accepting of mobile devices in the classroom and what professional development would be necessary.
___Pilot this at your school.  Work with several teachers to implement moblie learning strategies and share what they learn.

Online and Blended Learning–Key Trend 2

___Survey your students and teachers on their interest in using collaborative online learning environments.
___Seek examples of successful online learning initiatives by connecting with other educators, other schools. Visit those classrooms face to face or virtually. Learn about what challenges and benefits they face.
___Explore the use of Web2.0 and collaborative or social online tools for teaching and learning.
___Pilot use in classrooms. Experiment with various online platforms and sites.
___Explore some device options for online and blended learning?  Look at netbooks, tablets, smartphones and ereaders. Stay tuned to new device releases by following trends.
___Assure that students are keeping information and media literacy skills sharp. With the rapid increases in online and blending learning, these skills are and will be essential.

There is a ‘strong interest in leveraging the power of online leanring through self study online ourse, teacher-led online classes as well as blended/hybrid learning envornments’

EText Books-Key Trend 3

___Survey your own school students, parents, teachers.
___Seek examples of successful etext book learning by connecting with other educators, other schools. Visit those classrooms face to face or virtually. Learn about what challenges and benefits they face.
___Find out if current classroom resources are accessible in online or e-reader formats.
___Advocate for support from your legislators, school boards and vendors.
___Explore some device options for etext books. Can you choose a multi-function device?  Look at netbooks, tablets, smartphones and ereaders. Stay tuned to new device releases by following trends.

Parent Digital Choice-New Trend

___Provide for parent communications via the technologiese they know.  Use electronic communications, etexts, secured sites and more.
___Provide information to parents about to the uses of digital media for learning. Make it easily viewable and accesible. Share your goals and vision for incorporating more into teaching and learning.
___Survey parent interest in supporting or purchasing mobile devices for their students
___Start a Digital Parents Club in your school community so that you can expand parent support of technology related initiatives. Often parents can bring resources to the school that you are not aware of without having asked.
___Forge parent connections to the school via an interactive website, secured site or social media. Be sure to incorporation the use of digital media such as video, photos and audio.
quote ‘Parents are not only supportive of the student vision but also are enabling and empowering the use of thesee emerging technology by their children.

‘Middle School students placed a high premium on using ‘communicaitons and collaboration applications, access to 3 D content’ mobile applications and capabilities’

General Must Do’s

___Survey your own school students, parents, teachers to better understand the needs and interests of  your local school community on the topics above. See how your results match up with published research.
___Find out what is being done in other classrooms successfully. Seek examples of successful mobile, online and blended learning and ereaders by connecting with other educators, other schools. Visit those classrooms face to face or virtually. Learn about what challenges and benefits they face.
___Teach Digital Citizenship/Internet Safety regularly. Assure that your students are prepared to engage safely and responsibly.
___Check to see if the current internet access capable of providing the learning environment suited for technology integration.
___Survey teachers and students about the current internet filter?  Find out if the current filtering setup is hampering access to educational resources? Take action to assure access to valuable internet resources.
___Make a plan for making improvements to your school internet access and infrastructure.
___Create and share a vision for technology and learning at your school
___Last but not least – Become familiar with new technologies through your own practice. Sample devices, collaborative tools and online communications methodologies. Stay on top of technology developments.

Examples of successful uses aboud. Seek those examples to support your own decision making.  At St. Patrick School in Malvern, Pennsylvania, students are using cell phones in the classroom. Principal Pat O’Donnell reports that using cell phones in the classroom is ‘a way to engage students by utilizing technology they are familiar with and use on a daily basis. There is good interaction and it is educational’.  Students are entusuastic and find it an intereting way to learn and use their cell phones at the same time.

The checklist about provides just some of the actions you can take. Surely there are others that all of us can think of. As we collaborate to implement these findings we can make a difference in our schools and in the lives of the students we care about.

The research is hard to ignore.  Read it, consider the checklist items or create your own checklist. Above all – take action.

This post is cross posted on School CIO, a division of Tech and Learning

7 Related Links:

  1. Speak Up 2010 – Full Report
  2. Project Tomorrow  http://www.tomorrow.org
  3. Speak Up Data 2010 – US State by State
  4. Horizon Report 2011 Summary
  5. Learning about New Technology Trends 7 Ways for Leaders to Stay on Top of Technology
  6. Speak Up Reports http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/speakup_reports.html
  7. One to One Schools Blog http://1to1schools.net/