My experiences from ISTE 2013

Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Rothman

Principal, Academic Initiatives and Advanced Learning

Hebrew Academy of Long Beach

It was an exhausting and overwhelming, yet exhilarating experience to attend the ISTE conference. There was a positive energy in San Antonio, Texas as thousands of educators came together to discuss, explore and learn new ways to utilize technology to enhance the learning in our classrooms. Less than a week back from the conference, I have tried to organize my notes/ resources from the sessions I attended and I have also provided an extensive list of resources that I accumulated at the conference. Many of those resources still require extensive research on my part, and I will try to update the information as I am able to.


1. Opening Keynote Presentation - Gamification in Education - Sunday 5:30pm-  by Jane McGonigal -today's leading speaker on gamification. The title of her book is "Reality is broken - why games make us better and how they change our world." She presented interesting statistics about the prevalence of gamification in the world today. One example was, "People today spend 300 million minutes a day or 400,000 collective years playing angry birds." "The average player of "Call of Duty" plays 170 hours a year, which is the equivalent of a month of the average person's work month.

Her main message is that games provide kids with ten personal emotions, "joy, relief, love, surprise, pride, curiosity, excitement, awe and wonder, contentment, and creativity." Do students feel those things in our classrooms? Why don't we find ways to engage our students on that level? Her point was to promote gamification in class to create that engagement and those feelings. I would argue that this should charge us to find new, creative and innovative ways (aside from gamification) to engage our students.

2. Web 2.0 You May Not Know About - Presented by Leslie Fisher

This was one of my favorite sessions of the conference. Leslie is an amazing presenter and her website has amazing resources.

This link has my notes from the session. It has a brief description of the apps she presented.

Click here to view the session handouts.

Click here to view handouts from her other presentations

3. All You Need to know about ipads in the classroom - Kathy Schrock

Her Website

Slides from the presentation - - this is a must study.

This presentation showed you which apps to use to address the different levels of Blooms Taxonomy. After being revised in 2010, Kathy revised the terms to address 21st century learning.

Her website is an amazing resource for anyone looking to integrate technology in the classroom. She has a wealth of information on ipads, chromebooks and much more.

4.  Socrative: Using Socrative to Engage your students

RobZ took us through the functionality of Socrative, a great tool to assess your students in real time during class. It can be used for quick, spur of the moment questions or full period tests or quizzes. It can be setup to run on teacher-paced mode, where the teacher pushes out one question at a time, or a student-paced mode where the student goes through a series of questions at his own pace.

Recently, Socrative added the feature to be able to add images into your questions. But this is not included in intial settings when you make an account.; go to and fill out a short survey which will give you aceess to this feature. You can also make a quiz/test public so that other teachers can use them. This is a great way for teachers to collaborate and not all have to reinvent the wheel.

You can view the presentation at

and Rob's website at

5. Google Apps - Amazing Features

This was a great session that explored Google Docs, Forms, Presentation, Scripts, Drawings, Spreadsheets, Sites, Chrome apps and extensions. You can see the entire presentation at

There are a lot of live links that take you to real life classroom examples of how to utilize each app. Here are some of the highlights:

     a. Google Docs - having a class scribe take notes and one student surf the web for other sites, images and resources relating to the class, and then another student can put the two together into a good working document for the class.

     b. Google Forms - using forms to track student assignments. This form simply has student contact info and the link to their assignment.

     Another great example was to track student reading logs. This is a great way to avoid paper and have teachers see real time updates on student reading.

     c. Scripts - Flubaroo - this allows the form to automatically grade the student responses.

     d. Spreadsheets - Nice way to have teachers utilize a yearly pacing guide to track their coverage of curriculum.

     e. Chrome Apps

          1. Evernote Clearly - this allows you to read articles on a website without all the sidebar clutter.

          2. Adblock for youtube - this allows you to remove advertisements when viewing youtube videos.

          3. Pocket - a cute "read it later" app.


       f. Two other chrome tools worth exploring are chrome expermients and chromelabs

6. From the Flipped Classroom to Flipped Learning

Presented by famous authors Jon Bergmann and Aaron Sams.

Their main point for us to think about is, "What is the best use of your face to face class time?" They argue that having students watch the lecture at home allows for more face-to-face individual time with the students in class. We are NOT looking to minimize the teachers at all. Rather, we want to individualize that time to foster the relationships. Good teaching is all about relationships.

4 Pillars of Flipped Learning

1. Flexible environment

     a. Physical spaces -

               Traditional spaces reinforces content delivery - typical lecture.

               Flipped Flexible Spaces - we need to rethink. Put smartboards on side wall, not

               the front of the class.

     b. Pedagogy -

                Traditional - reinforces a one size fits all pedagogy

               Time shifted - let's get the teacher off the stage and maximize face to face time. Rethink how class time is used. Flip of blooms taxonomy - flipping the classroom gives you more time for higher order thinking.

     c. Assessment -

               Traditional model reinforces standardization

               It is time for alternative assessments

2. Learning Culture

     We do need rules and policies, but we have to be willing to transfer the ownership of the learning to the students. We have to teach the kids that learning is there responsibility so they do not keep asking us, what do we do next, what do we do next?

     Change the conversation to what should/should not happen in class?

3. Intentional Content

          Videos - they allow us to get away from things. But videos are not the only answer. We should use interactive learning objects. Science simulations, etc.

          Create a menu for student learning: this is what we want you to learn, here are the ways to get there, try it and if you need more help or enrichment, come back to us.

          Who's videos to use?

          Do I have to make them myself? Best practice is to make yourself because of the personal connection, but you cannot do it all. Do a mix of yours and online.


4. Professional Educator - you shouldn't do this yourself - find a friend. Sams and Bergman did it together. Even if you do not have a partner at your school, find someone to work with.

7. 1600 Ipads in Minnetonka Public Schools - This link has amazing resources including:

Implementation plan,goals and objectives, communication documents to the school community, acceptable use policy, a number of videos about the program and media coverage, extensive research on the success of the project and much more.

A few interesting points that were made in the presentation:

       a. Focus on Professional Development

       Year one: Monthly training sessions

       Year two - two full days, two half days

       Year three+ - two half days

      b. Although they do use some subject specific apps, the main focus is on creativity, productivity and collaboration. A few of those apps include:  imovie, showme, and screencasting apps. Click on the link to see the apps they use

     c. They use two apps that help the teacher take control of the ipad in the classroom.

Splashtop - this is an app to control your desktop from your ipad

Reflector - this app mirrors the  ipad onto the smart board- It is much cheaper than getting apple tv.

     d. Examples of Ipad Use

1. Teacher teaches on notebook software, then uploads the pdf of it to Schoology (LMS system), then student opens it on iannotate and can do the math problems.

2. Show me - for math - import a pdf file which the teacher placed a math problem with an error and asked the student to explain what was wrong. This has really forced the students into using higher order thinking skills.

3. Skyping with a student who is home sick - student was doing the group work.

4. Showme for language classes - draw letters in an alphabet

5. PDF of a grammar worksheet - sentences to add in grammar

6. Shakespeare in bits - romeo and juliet - this is an app that has an animated movie of the play with the text side by side. The English teacher was preparing students for a test on romeo and juliet and she used Google Docs to create a study guide - each kid had to fill in one row of the information.

7. Dragon diction - great app for students who have trouble typing - this app dictates for him

8. Presentation: 1:1 Envisioning, Communicating, Implementing - Common Sense Media

This was a short presentation on a free tool for planning a 1:1 roll out. It details a plan of envisioning the plan, communicating it and then implementing.

9. Closing Keynote: Adam Bellow: "Change the World"

Blog post with a summary of his keynote -

Watch the video here -

Tools and People to Check Out:

1. Alice Keeler - she does a lot with google forms and advanced scripts. Session was too fast, but she has youtube videos on each tool.

2. Presentation on Ipads, Chromebooks, Tablets or Laptops - here is the presentation

Her Website with other resources

3. UCLASS - Global assignment marketplace for teachers. Teachers upload assignments and lessonplans on all grade levels.

4. Global Encounters - International Student Video Conferences

This is a cool concept, where schools across the world bring classes together from different schools to have a virtual conference on some meaningful global issue and they bring real activists/politicians into the conversation.  Some examples were:Earth day, resistance art in the middle east, Peace and Conflict in the middle east, Mental Health: Awareness and Action.

5. Google Scripts - Youtube video tutorials that teach you many useful scripts. Search Alice Keeler or follow her on twitter @alicekeeler

6. Mobile Tech Reviews -

7. Online Drawing tool with easy to share link -

8. Screencasts in math -

9. Building on the BYOD Revolution -

10. Using 1:1 Devices to Flip Your Classroom

11. Cool Google Tools for the BYOD Classroom by Tammy Worcester

Notes taken by Tzvi Pittinsky:

Tammy's Website with great resources: Look at the Tips of the Week

12. Signposts to Better Projects: Take Thinking Deeper in Digital Age PBL

Notes compliments of Tzvi Pittinsky

13. "Twitter 201: Build Your PLN With Advanced Tips and Tools" - by Susan Beardon

Twitter Presentation Board - by Sandy Kendell. @EdTechSandyK

Her website gives you instructions and tips to utilize Twitter to build your PLN

Link to her blog

Weekly Twitter Chat Times

14. Cybrary Man's EDucational Web Sites: This is an amazing resource for educators, students and parents. It is organized both by grade level and by subject area. This is a must see for educators. I highly recommend you follow Jerry on twitter. @ctbraryman

15. EdtechChat Twitter Chat Archives - Great topics to explore

16. The Learning Lab -


18. SIGOL - Special Interest Group Online Learning - Webinar Archive

19. Good resource of teacher videos

20. Good ipad app resouce from Robztraining  -

21. Student Geek Squad - They call it the isquad. Genius Bar concept -

This is great. In a large Catholic high school, they developed a group of students who do not only help with tech issues around the school, they also train teachers in various technologies that they can utilize in their classroom. The website has how to videos that the students created for the teachers.

22. Professional Development Websites/ Resources

     a. Lynda - - this is a full online professional development training site. They offer courses in various technology tools and software programs. It is an online subscription that one price gives each user access to the entire library of courses.

     b. Digital Classroom - - This is also a subscription based online learning environment where you can learn web design and development, office applications, Adobe suite software and more. It is a product of the Wiley publishing company.

     c. PD in Focus - - This is a professional development tool for educators and is a product of the ASCD. It is a library of videos that show effective teaching practices in teh classroom, with insights from many top educators in the field. An annual subscription provides unlimited access to your entire staff and costs approximetely $50 per user. You can call (800) 933-2723 ext 5634.

     d. PD Online -  - This is also a product of the ASCD, but this is a site with full self-paced online courses that cover a wide range of topics including: Assessment, Classroom Management, Common Core, Diversity, English Language Learners, Leadership and Community Building, Learning Theories, Stem Education, Technology, Understanding by Design and more. You purchase a particular course(s) and have one year to complete the course. The price starts at $99 per course, but there are big volume discounts.

     e. TCEA Professional Development - - This is a description of TCEA taken from their website. TCEA is a member-based organization devoted to the use of technology in education. Our primary focus is on integrating technology into the PreK-12 environment and providing our members with state-of-the-art information through conferences, workshops, newsletters, the Internet, and collaborations with higher education and business. They have a full listing of online webinars and courses are free to members of TCEA. Yearly membership is $40.

     f. Solutions Tree - - They provide books, videos, online courses, live webinars and on-site training that is customizable to fit your school environment.

     g. ISTE -  - ISTE offers webinars and online courses that are developed by leading technology experts and are aligned to the NETS standards. Topics range from mobile learning to tech coaching tools.

      h. RDI Leadership Academy -

23. IPAD Protective Cases - If you are going 1:1 and need to find protective cases, here are a few companies to check out:

    a.  - This is a one piece portfolio looking cover. It looks like an inexpensive cover that has a moderate level of protection. When purchasing 100+ pieces, the price is $17/cover. Contact Andrew Ra,

     b. - This is a provides a mid-level amount of protection. It is also a one piece portfolio looking cover. I got a free one to try out and it looks pretty good. They are priced at $39/case, but with large volume the price will drop to the mid 20's. Contact Wayne Sexton at

      c. - This looks like a good option in that they provide a more protective case, but it is not as pricey as some of the upper end companies. They have a Bullz case startign at $19.95 and the Gorilla case starting at $29.95. However, they screen protectors are extra.

      d. - This is a two piece shell that provides a more heavy duty level of protection. The cost is $29.95 and volume discounts begin at 500 pieces.

      e. - This is a very cool looking cover with a large foam construction. It will provide a high level of protection, but it may be too bulky for some people. It costs $36/cover but volume discounts are available. Contact Matt Hirschhorn at

     f. - This is a very heavy duty cases that will protect against all kind of drops. It is priced at $49.95/cover and there are volume discounts available.

     g. - They have a range of cases and are on the more heavy duty end and are more pricey. I do not have the exact cost.  

24. Rockingham Country Schools -

This school has good resources on the website that outline how they have used Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education.

25. Chris Lehman, Principal of the Science Leadership Academy - "Technology Transforms Pedagogy" - I did not go to the session, but you can view his slides here