ISTE 2011: "Unlocking Potential"

The 2011 meeting of the International Society of Technology in Education was held in Philadelphia at the end of June. Two years ago, I was fortunate to receive funds from the district to attend this conference in Washington, D.C., and found the experience so inspiring and enriching that I decided to make it a birthday present (big present for a BIG birthday:-)) to myself this year. I was not disappointed. The conference was again inspiring and enriching, providing me with a fresh perspective and ideas to last me another year or two.

I have set up this wiki as a way to share what I learned, not only to help me reflect on the experience and organize my thoughts for implementation, but also to facilitate collaboration. I have set it up as a public wiki, so that anyone may add comments and ideas by clicking the EDIT button in the toolbar, above. When you add a comment, please use a different font color.

I understand that nobody has time to read long, descriptive paragraphs, so I have summarized the information as succinctly as possible. If you would like more details about anything you see, please let me know.

Hella Rumschlag, Library Media Specialist and Technology Coordinator, Mohawk Trails Elementary School, Carmel, Indiana


Brain Rules for Education - John Medina
Copyright Clarity: Using Copyrighted Materials for Digital Learning - Renee Hobbs
A Dawning Era for School Librarians - Panel
Digital Collaboration Tools: Digging Deeper through Literacy and Inquiry Strategies - Edistorm - Aaron Ball
Diving into the iPad: Exploring Innovative Elementary Content - Katherine Burdick
The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck - Ron Clark
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Educational Technology - Panel
Mindsets for the 21st Century: Unleashing Leadership Potential in Students - Stephen Covey
Nifty Technology Tools
Quick and Easy Google Projects for Students - Tammy Worcester
Separating Truth from Fiction: Information Literacy for Elementary Students - Lauren Zucker
Tech4Learning - Frames, Pixie
What Does Teaching Look Like: A Data-base View of Instruction - Howard Pitler

Brain Rules for Education

John Medina
Author of Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School
PLEASE NOTE: This very entertaining, thought-provoking, and enlightening presentation is available for viewing on this page. I highly recommend it!!! (Advance the video to about 20 minutes, 30 seconds to skip the dance group and introduction.)

  • Classrooms and cubicles are not conducive to learning; our brains are optimized to learn while our bodies are in motion.
  • Every brain is wired differently from every other brain and learns in ways unique to that wiring.
  • Learning involves memorizing a database of knowledge, then improvising off of that database.
    • Students who only memorize have "crystallized intelligence" (robot-like).
    • Memorizing and re-exposure is important, but must be able to improvise off of it to make learning solid.
    • Students need to be able to be creative and improvise with their knowledge, just as a jazz musician needs to understand basic music theory, but must also be able to improvise.
    • Future learning is based on acquisition of past knowledge.
    • Gaps in knowledge cause problems in learning because the foundation is not there.
    • Students need to have both for fluid intelligence.
  • Theory of mind - ability to understand each student's individual needs for optimal learning
    • "Peering into the psychological interior" of a student
    • When are students bewildered?
    • When are students inspired?
  • For computers to have theory of mind, they would have to:
    • Detect puzzlement in students
    • Determine where gaps in knowledge are
    • Adapt lessons on the fly in order to fill gaps and then move on
  • Single greatest predictor of academic success in school: Emotional stability of the home
    • Emotional instability causes a reduction in Executive Function (planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space)
    • Can get a great boost in executive function with aerobic workouts, e.g. PE and recess!!
  • Cryptochrome - protein required for sleep regulation - "Guardian of the sleep cycle"
    • Function of protein is affected by blue light, e.g. from computer screens

Copyright Clarity: Using Copyrighted Materials for Digital Learning

Renee Hobbs, Temple University

  • Presentations, handouts, case study videos at
  • The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy Education
  • Purpose of copyright laws: to promote creativity, innovation, and the spread of knowledge
  • US Constitution: Article 1, Section 8:
    • To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries
  • Any work in fixed or tangible forms is automatically copyrighted at the moment of creation... but there are exemptions:
    • You may use any copyrighted material, including Netflix videos, in the classroom for direct instruction.
    • Fair use allows you to make multiple copies of copyrighted material for classroom use.
  • Teachers generally have 3 ways of coping with copyright issues:
    • See no evil (ignore it)
    • Close the door (hide what you are doing)
    • Hyper-comply (impose rules on students that they do not impose on themselves)
  • Consider the balance: Does the use of copyrighted material benefit society more than it hurts the copyright owner?
  • Transformative use is acceptable, if copyrighted work is used for a different purpose than the original.
    • Two questions to ask yourself:
      • Is the work going to be used for a different purpose than the original work? Did I transform the image or just copy it?
      • Was the material taken appropriate in kind or amount?
      • Work is repurposed, e.g. using the image of a copyrighted poster in a history book
    • PDF:
  • After this presentation I went to the Britannica Online booth and asked whether it is permissible to use images from Britannica Online for student projects that will be published on the web. I was very happy to hear that it is permissible, provided proper citations are included.

A Dawning Era for School Librarians

Watch a video of this inspiring presentation here.
Lisa Perez, Chicago Public School Dept of Libraries with Doug Johnson
Anita Beaman, Buffy Hamilton, Cathy Jo Nelson, Gwyneth Anne Jones, Shannon Miller

Award-Winning elementary school project based on the Maybelle books, by Katie Speck.

The evolution of reading
Benefits of e-books:
  • No weeding
  • No disposal
  • No overdues
  • Books are available 24/7
  • Tech loving teens who have book phobia can read a book on their phones
  • Can read a book on a variety of digital devices
  • Even vacationers have access
  • Students who are home because of illness can still access
  • No print books to weigh down the backpacks of avid readers
  • Book lovers can't read paper in the dark!!!

To this tech-savvy generation, www = whatever, wherever, whenever.
What makes a great library? Relationships are the cornerstones of libraries.
  • Trustworthiness
  • Likeability
  • Opportunity
  • Participation
  • Fantastic product or services
  • Build a sense of community so that students feel it is THEIR library program.

Digital Collaboration Tools: Digging Deeper through Literacy and Inquiry Strategies - Edistorm

Aaron Ball

  • Edistorm was named one of the Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning by the ALA in the category of Content Collaboration.
  • Online sticky notes for collaborative projects
  • Sticky notes may be color-coded
  • Students may "vote" for specific notes
  • Notes may be moved into different categories
  • Notes may be edited
  • Reports allow you to see what each student has contributed
  • FREE if you only use one Edistorm at a time; otherwise 99.00 for a full year for unlimited "storms" (I have half-off coupons if you are interested!)

Diving into the iPad: Exploring Innovative Elementary Content

Katherine Burdick

  • Evernote is a great note-taking program that allows you to enter text, snap and save photos, clip webpages, and store PDFs. It also recognizes handwritten text. You can download it to any mobile device, so your notes are always with you. Check out the minute-and-a-half introductory video.
  • At this session I received a handout with dozens of iPad apps for education. If you would like a copy, please send me an e-mail at .
  • The presenter's website includes reviews of various apps for education.
  • Click here to access the presentations.

The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck

Ron Clark, author of The Essential 55 and others

Ron Clark Academy

  • Dynamic speaker!
  • Brought some of his students to demonstrate rap songs used to support learning.
  • Has very high expectations for behavior and attitude; will have kids practice entering the classroom over and over if necessary.
  • Emphasized sharing passion, innovation,and creativity to optimize learning in the classroom.
  • Loves all of his students; doesn't have to like them all, but emphasized that you make each child feel special to inspire them to learn.
  • Individualized teaching can be accomplished with clickers on self-paced mode. (He mentioned Promethean; Mohawk Trails has CPS Pulse.)
    • Instead of having all students answer the same question at the same time, allow students to enter answers as they finish problems.
    • Monitoring speed of progress and accuracy of answers facilitate immediate intervention and support when a student gets stuck.

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Educational Technology

Clare Strawn, ISTE with Elizabeth Hubbell, Gail Kennedy and Maria Langworthy

  • Video of the presentation
  • Microsoft Partners in Learning - School Research - "to measure and develop 21st Century teaching and learning in your school"
    • Free materials
    • From the ITL Research page: "In January 2011 Microsoft launched Partners in Learning School Research ( which provides individual schools with a free tool to measure their own innovative teaching practices, based on ITL Research surveys. The School Research tool offers:i. A set of simple and clear definitions of 21st Century skillsii. Examples of innovative teaching practices that integrate these skills in the learning processiii. Online surveys and reports that measure innovative teaching practices at individual schools (offered in over 30 languages)"
  • Collaboration among teachers in a school is strongly associated with innovative teaching practices in that school.

Mindsets for the 21st Century: Unleashing Leadership Potential in Students

Stephen R. Covey, author of (among others) The Leader in Me: How Schools and Parents Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time
Muriel Summers, A. B. Combs Leadership Magnet Elementary School

Paraphrasing from Dr. Covey's inspiring presentation:
  • Begin with the end in mind and use technology as a means to an end, not as the end itself.
  • Put first things first; stay focused on what matters most.
  • Think "Win Win"
  • Seek first to understand, then to be understood
  • Leadership is communicating people's worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.
  • Treat a man as he is and you make him worse than he is. Treat a man as if he has potential and he will become what he ought to be. (Goethe)
  • The first thing you should do to help students the most is to change their mindsets. Skill sets give only incremental change in comparison.
  • Live life in crescendo! The best is always ahead of you.

Nifty Technology Tools (from various presentations)

  • Turn video clips, photos, and music into videos

  • Make photos, e.g. of animals, talk!
  • Free

Crazytalk - "Clever 2D animation for beginners and pros"
  • Make any image move
  • Not free after trial

"At Edmodo, we have two goals:
  1. Create social media tools that help teachers engage students and allow students to reach their potential.
  2. Make sure every school in the world has access to them"

Go Animate- "Make your own animated videos"

Google Treks - Similar to Google Earth tours, but in Google Maps
  • Use for settings of novels, historical events, scientific discoveries, math concepts
  • Add links, text, and photos for each "pushpin"
  • Tutorial, examples, and rubric on Alice Christie's site
  • Idea from Tammy Worcester's presentation: You are in a rock band touring the country. What will you do in each city on your time off?

The Jason Project - "Education through exploration"
  • Connects students with scientists
  • Founded by Robert Ballard in 1989
  • Includes free digital labs and games where students face real-world scenarios (ecology, storms, roller coaster design, etc.) and employ scientific inquiry, instruments, and procedures to solve problems.
Meetup - "Do something, learn something, share something, change something"
  • Find or start a group in a specific location based on a specific topic, e.g. Books to Movies Meetup Group(in Indianapolis), Aspiring Gourmet Dinner Group (in Carmel), Indianapolis Japanese Literature Group, etc.
  • Groups have an online webpage and also arrange face-to-face meetings
  • Search by topic and/or by zip code to find groups of interest in your area

Mixbook- "Create beautiful photo books online"
  • Free to create and share
  • Printed books available for purchase

Prezi - very cool presentation software

Scratch - from MIT - "A programming language that makes it easy to create interactive art, stories, simulations, and games – and share those creations online."

Skype in the Classroom - "Meet new people, discover new cultures and connect with classes from around the world, all without leaving the classroom."
  • Free
  • Connect with classrooms all over the world!!!

Storify - "Create stories using social media"

Storybird - collaborative storytelling
  • Create a storybook online
  • Use artwork donated to the site
  • Great potential for writing projects!

Time Bridge and Doodle - Online tools to schedule meetings

Xtranormal -
  • Students make movies online
  • Must create a storyboard first
  • Click Education
Here's my question about Xtranormal as I've just dabbled with it this summer in a class I'm taking; What about some of the characters; for example the one with a fig leaf appropriately placed to look like Adam? I clicked on Education as you list here, but it still brought up Adam. Is there another way to go in and avoid questionalble actors? DD

Zoodles - "A Safe Kid Mode for Every Device"
  • Find age-appropriate websites
  • May be helpful to share with parents

Quick and Easy Google Projects for Students

Tammy Worcester
Projects were created in Google Apps for Education
  • Google docs -> Create new -> Presentation
    • Create postcard with photo and text.
    • Include at least three facts about a place.
    • Print as handout or click Share.
      • If Shared, anyone with the link can view and edit.
  • Blogger
    • Sign in using Google username and password.
    • Students do not need accounts if teacher has account.
    • Upload pictures to the blog.
    • Adjust settings to upload as drafts that require your approval before they are posted.

  • Google docs -> Create new -> Form
    • Set up a form and ask students to provide answers to questions you provide.
    • Create a tiny URL and ask students to submit responses.
    • Adjust settings to send responses to a spreadsheet.
      • Responses may be filtered. (View -> List -> Filter)
        • May reward first correct answer submitted
      • From the spreadsheet, you can use formulas to find averages, or copy and paste word responses into Wordle or Tagxedoto create a collaborative word cloud, etc.
      • Word clouds of action verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc.
    • Nifty tip from the person sitting beside me: insert a tilda (~) between words you want to appear together, with a space in between, in Wordle. For example: Hamilton~County The tilda will not appear, but the words, e.g. Hamilton County, will stay together!

Separating Truth from Fiction: Information Literacy for Elementary Students

Gerald Aungst and Lauren Zucker

  • Presenters are creators of the All About Explorers website, which is a GREAT tool for teaching students that not everything on the web is true!
  • Although I had used this site before, I was not aware of the ready-made lesson plans.
  • In an informal poll of note-taking strategies among teachers in the audience, there were varied responses, from graphic organizers to note slips to index cards.
    • Lauren Zucker said it is fine for students to use different techniques for note-taking with different teachers, because each student will find a method that works for him or her.

Tech4Learning - Frames, Pixie

Exhibit Hall demo
My main interest was to get new ideas for using Frames to support instruction.
  • Click here for video tutorials for Frames.
  • On this page, select Frames in "Find Lessons by Application" to find examples of completed projects.
  • New ideas where writing is the focus:
    • Animated "Action News", e.g. News from Ancient Egypt
      • Create 4-5 different mouth positions and duplicate those frames.
    • Biography: Two cartoon characters discuss a famous person.
    • Issues: Two cartoon characters argue the pros and cons of an issue.
    • Create animations to demonstrate figurative language, e.g. "Get your ducks in a row."
    • Book trailers using a combination of clipart, photos, and animations
  • The Frames library includes famous sound clips, e.g. Neil Armstrong's first words on the moon
  • Make clipart move across the screen in the background.
  • Can use a "Ken Burns" effect.
  • Use a webcam to capture short video clips to include, as well as photos.

What Does Teaching Look Like: A Data-base View of Instruction

Howard Pitler, Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
Author of Using Technology With Classroom Instruction That Works,

  • "Power Walkthrough" = observations of classroom activities, based on this form
    • Take into account: instructional strategies, Bloom's Taxonomy, student grouping, teacher directed technology, student-centered technology, evidence of learning, student articulation of objectives
  • General findings for schools around the nation:
    • Teachers are NOT using technology 62% of the time
    • Students are NOT using technology 67% of the time
    • Students just listening to the teacher talk - 39% of the time
    • Students just doing worksheets - 33% of the time
    • Student discussions - 15% of the time
  • Presenter emphasized that when you take away social networking opportunities, you are not supporting learning
  • Two barriers to using technology: unreliable networks and lack of professional development