Thursday, September 11, 2014

Excited for the Third Annual EdTechTeam Colorado Summit


Colorado Rockies
Colorado Rockies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I love living in Colorado! From the first time I saw the Rockies, I knew this was where I wanted and needed to be for the rest of my life. All of it. Like for reals, immediately. And from now on. The scenery is amazing and the weather is unbeatable; nevermind what you see on the news about the blizzards all winter; that’s not hitting us on the front range. No, we bask in over 300 days of sunshine per year. Couple that with a warm summer breeze and the cool Colorado rain that inspires the best musicians and it becomes clear why I love my home.

I say and share this because we are one month away from the Third Annual EdTechTeam Colorado Summit. I am excited to share the beauty that is mid-October in Colorado with educators from around the Rocky Mountain Region. This event has been a beacon of awesome the past three years. Collaboration, connections, innovative ideas and sharing, and each year the feedback is amazing.

Third annual event is a bit of a big deal in my eyes. There are so many great educators and leaders that have left inspired with a mission to change their classroom, their school, and their district after these events, which is awesome. Yes, this is a big part of why I love working with teachers and schools, those moments of inspiration and excitement. Each year at the event, the schedule is stocked full of lessons, ideas, and examples of children and adults leveraging collaboration, research, inquiry, and publishing within a single walled garden environment. It is an amazing experience.

This year, I will be leading four new sessions. A two session make and take deep dive in Google Sites for anyone looking to create or kick up their portfolio, student spaces, web sites, and more. We will look at ways to customize by building a banner, creating a front page slider, embedding image maps with multiple links, creating a favicon, insert dynamic objects or media, and customizing the layout to maximize access and communication. I will also be leading a session on facilitating small group instruction utilizing Google Apps and Chromebooks guided by the question...
"How can we leverage the synchronous and asynchronous collaboration and research tools available to us and tighten feedback loops and learning transparency in your classroom." 
Lastly, I will lead a super fun 30+ Buckets of Googlicious Awesomeness which is a fast-paced, high energy, highlight reel showcase, and fun tour of some of the lesser known or underused hidden gems available with your account.

Over and over again, the feedback tells the simple and powerful story; if you come to an EdTechTeam Global Summit, you will leave inspired with ideas and excitement for your classroom and schools. It is absolutely true. I get to observe and experience it in schools all over the globe. I can’t say how much it means to me to know that my kids teachers may be in the audience next month. These tools open up communication and collaboration with low risk and a relatively easy entry point for everyone and that type of access, changes EVERYTHING!

The best part about this this year is that we are bringing in a rock star team with experience and background at all levels in education. Really fortunate and excited to announce this group as the foundation of the team that will bring the fun and learning next month.

Also, just as I am building a better hands on Google sites workshop; the team is busy building their own new workshops, sessions, inspiring keynotes, and this year for Colorado we will be featuring a spotlight on Future Ready Schools. Join us as we share the vision and work to make the concept become a reality for 1,000 plus school districts around the country.

Finally, I want to take a moment to strongly encourage the beginners, the rock stars, the leaders, and the curious to come and join us for a weekend of fun, learning, and sharing in Boulder next month and give this beginning of the year the rocket fuel you need to have the best year ever!

Keynote- Day X.png

Chris Clementi | Leslie Davison | Katie Christie | Stephanie Schroeder | Candy McGregor | Ben Wilkoff | Christine Archer-Davison | Jen Jonson | Dana Levesque | Chris Moore | Jacki Sloan | Nate Ubowski | Zoe Midler | Peter Jones | Kevin Croghan | Shauna Polson | Mindy Williford |
Beth Mossholder | Kelly Sain & Kim McMonagle | Julie Stewart | Bobby Lehman | Nannette McMurtry | Jason Oliver | Jeff Sanders | Lisa Norton | Nate Paul | Laura Mitchell | Jessica Raleigh | Cate Beck

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Magic of iOS Strands at EdTechTeam Summits

When the iPad came out it was a relatively cost effective way  to get devices in the hands of students and it sold well in education. In the early days, teachers were forced to cobble together workflows, manage carts, deploy apps and deal with purchasing. While the management systems are improving and the app integration is becoming more seamless, teachers still need to navigate a complex digital landscape. The payoff is huge because iPads have the ability to really empower students, especially when it comes to creation. .  

Most schools and teachers do not live in a single digital ecosystem.  A majority live in a mixed environment and have to navigate between Google Apps, iPads, different apps and computers. Our team is committed to creating the best high energy, hands-on professional development  to help you navigate the digital landscape while focusing on effective pedagogy.  

For years, the EdTechTeam has been the force behind a series of  Global Summits featuring Google for Education. This year, we have had 58 events (and counting) world wide, and one thing that is clear is that there are a lot teachers with iPads looking for professional development dedicated to them.  Google has dramatically improved the the functionality of its core suite on iOS and the addition of Google Classroom can put  Google Apps at the center of any successful iPad program. While we will increase our focus on the intersection of Google Apps and iPads at our Google events, we’ll also offer other independent sessions that expand to the unique potential of iPads for learning.      

You will start to see not only iPad strands at our Google for Education events, but also events dedicated solely to iPads and related applications… our new iOS Summits.  We are excited to watch these grow and have events planned in Texas, Minnesota, New Zealand, Wisconsin and California… with more in the works.

If you carry a Chromebook, MacBook or PC you’ve always had sessions tailored to your use with the web as the platform. We are now excited to offer the iPad toting crowd the same access to empowering and inspiring hands-on professional development.  Follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on upcoming events,  additional iOS resources, and related announcements.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Rethinking Google Drive on the iPad

Awesome Presenter at EdTechTeam Summits

Rethinking Google Drive on the iPad

The iPad is well-known as an amazing creation tool, but with Google Drive’s “Open-In” feature on the iOS platform - the iPad has quickly become a collaboration device extraordinaire.

Google Drive is best known for apps like Docs and Slides, and these are great platforms for students to work collaboratively on documents and presentations. However, Google Drive has one under-used feature that offers a secret collaborative power . This hidden power of Google Drive sits in the layers of the “i” button.

Inside the layers of the  “i” button lives the “Open-In“ feature -  and this is where the collaborative magic happens. Almost any product you make on the iPad can be uploaded to Google Drive and housed in the cloud - but its what you do from there that is the magical part. I find most educators are not taking advantage of this “Open-In” feature of Google Drive - and if you have not used it...stop what you are doing and check this out! Here is how it works.

Two Amazing Collaboration Scenarios using the Open-In Feature:

Here is how students can collaboratively create an iMovie - using the Open-In feature.

First, students work together to plan a movie project. Next, they go out and gather footage and edit it  - and then save it to the camera roll. Before now, this individually produced footage would stay housed on just one device and combining it was a bit laborious.

That was 2012 - it’s 2014 and the power of Google on an iPad has changed! Now students can go to Google Drive, choose the upload button and then upload that iMovie from the camera roll into their Drive accounts - but wait it gets better. They can either add their iMovie to a shared folder or share it directly with a partner who can then use the “Open-In “ feature and open that shared movie on their own device. This effectively allows for the combining of footage and the production of a collaborative iMovie. Voila - collaboration in iMovie - not just the regular Google Apps.

Book Creator:
First, students create their own chapter of a book in Book Creator. Next, they choose the option to export it as an ePub and then choose the “Open in” selection.

That is when a student would choose to upload their chapter to a shared folder on Google Drive.

Next, the teacher or Book Creator App Captain (a student assigned to all tasks and assistance involving Book Creator) would select the “i” button on each chapter submitted. This would give way to  the  “Open-In” feature.  The next step would be to select Book Creator and start combining each of the uploaded chapters into one big class collaborative ebook.

With the recent Book Creator updates - that class book can be uploaded as a movie and shared using YouTube or Blogger - making sharing out to parents even easier than before.

A similar scenario can be accomplished with almost any app on an iPad - so go ahead have fun use the “Open-in” button and redefine your classroom in ways that will turn students into collaboration gurus.

To learn more great tips like this, come to an iOS Summit near you - the first one hits Austin, Texas in October!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Google Calendar and Tasks - The New Online Planner

This week millions of students went back to school with Chromebooks.  As teachers and students are embracing these new digital tools the way we've always done things is changing.

Out goes the student paper planner, Meet Google Tasks and Google Calendar!

Now that students are 1:1, they should start keeping their to do’s, schedules, and reminders all in the cloud. Google Calendar and Tasks are the perfect solution!

Google Calendar and Tasks as an Online Planner

Here are a few tips on transitioning into Google Tasks and Calendar.

  1. Keep all your test dates, due dates and sports/hobbies in Google Calendar.   Google Calendar gives you a variety of views to see your events at a glance.
  2. Keep all your nightly homework to-do’s in Google Tasks.  These are things that you can check off.
  3. THINK - do you want to set your Google Task on the date that you are going to do the homework or on the date that the homework is due.  Tasks will show in your Google Calendar - on the Due Date you set in the advanced settings.  Make sure to be consistent with how you add your homework so you know when to complete it.
  4. Set your new tab page to your task list by using the Chrome extension New Tab to Tasks.  This way you are always just a control + T away from writing down your to-do’s or crossing off homework!

It’s time to bring your homework and to-do’s into the digital age!

Now get back to crossing off those tasks!

Published by Molly Schroeder - EdTechTeam Director of Summits

Join us at an EdTechTeam Summit featuring Google for Education
Interested in learning more about Google Apps, Chromebooks or Digital Learning? Don't miss one of the EdTechTeam Summits coming to a region near you!

October California Events
EdTechTeam San Diego Summit - October 4-5th at Coronado High School - Register Here
Pre-Summit October 3rd - Learn more!

EdTechTeam Marin Summit - October 19-20th at Tamalpais High School - Register Here
Pre-Summit October 18th - Learn more!

Additional Events can be found at

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Future Ready District Pledge

Do you know a superintendent ready to take the #FutureReady District Pledge? If so, please pass this on:

Be sure your favorite "Future Ready" superintendent fills out the pledge... and then complete this official nomination form, if you haven't already:


Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Personal Teaching Revolution

Guest Blogger Liam Arbuckle
BIS 6th Grade Teacher

It's hard to admit to yourself when you feel like what you believe in is very far away from what you are actually doing. Now I know that I am just at the beginning of my teacher journey but one of the vital things I learned about in the amazing year that was my Bachelor of Education was to reflect on my own teaching. I had this feeling of frustration gnawing at me for quite awhile. I was really enjoying my first few years of teaching but I felt that it was so much about my own survival rather than the amazing ideas I wanted to try out during my Education program.

The fall rolled around and I found the most curious piece of paper in my staff mailbox. It said that I had been registered for a Google Apps For Education conference put on by the EdTechTeam and  hosted at an international school in the heart of Seoul. I live just outside of Seoul. Myself and a fellow teacher, Joe Hart, had been selected to attend this conference. We were very excited as we both try to utilize technology in our classroom. I have always loved technology but I had been struggling to use it in an effective way in my classroom. Being a self described "Mac guy" my reflexive response was skeptical but I was still very interested. I like billions of others rely heavily on Google search. Little did I realize that this was an invitation to a fantastic party that I was woefully unaware of.

Joe and I planned what sessions we wanted to attend and tried to cover as much as we possibly could. We decorated our name tags with many things (yes including glitter) and off to the keynote we went. We shuffled off to an amazing keynote presented by 
Jim Sill. It was a great mix of humour and inspiration. Jim showed us some of the potential for youtube in the classroom. The next session I attended was presented by Michael Wacker and I thoroughly enjoyed his presentation which really showed off the power of collaboration. I then went to an informative session led by the very talented Holly Clark. It was a session on iPads in the elementary school classroom. Holly had this indescribable energy about her and you could tell how passionate she was about her teaching. I regularly send teachers to her website or twitter account.

I was meeting people at a dizzying rate. I thought I was using tech in my classroom but compared to many of these teachers I might as well have been using an abacus. We ended the first day with what they called an Eduslam. This was a presentation under 5 minutes of something cool the presenters were doing in their classrooms. Again I felt like a total novice. The thing is I had never connected to so many teachers before. Especially, so many that shared my love of technology and the recognition that it could revolutionize education. The EdTechTeam really impressed me that day and helped me begin my personal teaching revolution.

Our second day was kicked off by a rather interesting taxi driver that was loving the fact he could test out his English. Joe, myself and the cabbie shared such a great laugh and it was a fitting and wonderful way to have our second day of the conference start off. Laughing can erase the tiredness and my goodness it makes you feel lighter in your shoes. The conference began with an absolutely fantastic keynote by 
Jenny Magiera. I could have listened to her speak for hours. I definitely became a big fan and often reference her best practices. After that we went to a session led by Jay Atwood who to this day is one of my favorite Google guru's. Even though I felt in over my head talking about Google scripts it led me down the road to a better classroom. Jay made it seem so easy when in fact what he was doing was pretty darn impressive.

Then I had a lunch that I don't think I'll ever forget. I have had a Twitter account for a few years but really didn't see the benefit of it. I used it to follow some sports writers and reporters that I enjoyed. Including some that write about my beloved but constantly frustrating Toronto Maple Leafs. During lunch on the second day I had my mind blown. I was having lunch with teachers that were really into using twitter as a means of connecting with other teachers. This lunch may have been one of those monumental crossroads of my life. I was eating lasagna if you were wondering. I realized that for all my love of tech I had done nothing to really connect myself or my students to the outside world. In one short lunch and thanks to the lovely Sonya from New Zealand and the positive ray of sunshine Amalia from the USA I had kicked my classroom walls down. 

There was an audible and distinct thud. It felt like freedom. It felt like the sun on your face after a very dark night. 

I will forever be thankful to my principal Larry Simpson for choosing me to go to this conference and to the EdTechTeam that put on the GAFE summit. Everything changed for me over those two days. I am sure that even my friends are tired of hearing about these two eventful days. I had found that I could now better bridge the gap of how I was teaching to the way I wanted to be teaching. I still have a long way to go.  I had learned how to connect and from there my teaching life would never be the same. I came back to my school a new teacher. I then proceeded to preach to my fellow teachers the need to connect; the need to kick those four walls down; the need to be where our students already live. I now feel like I can actually see other teachers. I have decided I like this no walls thing. 

Come hang out with Liam and other awesome educators at the 2nd Annual South Korea Summit on Sep. 27th and 28th at Seoul Foreign School!