Archives For April 2013

Last week I attended iPad Summit USA and this week I am attending the Ontario GAFE Summit.  What a difference in the events and the nature of the tools we are exploring!  I think it would be fun to reflect on the differences of the conferences and the big differences in the feel of Apple vs Google.

Overall, I think iPads and the Ed Tech Teacher Summit is summed up by being creative and creating while GAFE and the Ontario Summit is more about collecting and collaborating.  I think this really reflects the essence of the different tools as well.

Disclaimer: Yes, I realize that you can collaborate with iPads and you can create and be creative with Google products. But, it’s a bit like the way you can buy clothing at Loblaws and groceries at Walmart. To me, when I think Loblaws I think food not affordable fashion and when I think Walmart I think cheap stuff from China and not leafy greens. I recognize that these stores are converging on the products and services they offer much like we see a convergence of services/offerings from Google and Apple.

At the iPad summit there were many sessions focused on creating, being creative and creating learning environments with Apple products and apps in mind. We have digital puppets for story telling, classrooms that are being redesigned with everything on wheels to accommodate mobile learning and the beginnings of maker spaces.  We all struggle like crazy to get student creations off the devices, but learners can make really amazing artifacts of learning.  Where to store student work, how to share and who has access to the student creations changes from app to app and school to school.  Student work sounds a bit like naughty deeds in Vegas. You know, what happens on the iPad, stays on the iPad.  Yes, there are solutions including, Dropbox, Google Drive and Evernote, but, not all apps have share functions to each of these spaces. Often student work must be shared through camera roll or email if not directly through the app.  It’s a warren of a path to get the data out and it’s unclear who has control of the work once it’s online.  We talked about collaboration at the conference generally and specifically, but it was more like all hovering around a device or having a file rally where you have to pass work back and forth to get something that several people worked on.  In the end, using an iPad is transformative because of the creative capabilities and easy access to information to get ideas rolling.  An iPad, equipped with certain apps, feels like being in the middle of a wonderfully magical craft-store-puppet-costume-closet where learners can conjure multi-modal or multi-media artifacts that are dazzling. The workshops had this feeling too. Many people talked about journeys, paths, redefining, creativity, creation and possibilities. It was a dreamy space for ultra rich media and exploration. Plus, the keynotes felt like pep rallies and calls to action: Ra-Ra Passion and gimme a C-R-E-A-T-E! Energizing and big. Loved it!

While many sessions felt like exploring an art supply shop mixed with a magic suitcase, the sessions I have attended so far at GAFE feel like going to Rona, Home Depot or a lumber yard. Equally empowering and enticing, but with a totally different feel. With Google products, you have to be an all star like Ken Shelton @k_shelton  or Jim Still @mistersill, to make your work really dazzling without huge amounts of time, sweat and large amounts of coffee. (Small correction: Ken Shelton did a pretty darn good job of teaching us how to make super nice websites with Google, but he said “I am going to teach you how to make a google site that doesn’t look like a google site” **enough said**).  It is hard to make beautiful things with Google, but you can make really, really, really good boxes.  Those boxes can be any size and anyone can work in those boxes. The boxes can hold any number of things. Plus, if you are really clever (and can run scripts), those boxes can talk to each other.  Yes, there are circles, but those are just round boxes.  Google is really about a sturdy and robust way to build space to work together, share ideas and manage data, all kinds of data.  The sessions have this feel of being highly pragmatic. This is not to say that it is all button pushing since there is a clear focus on assessment, professional development, user/student generated content and pedagogy. For a conference that deals mostly with cloud computing, it’s a very grounded feeling.  There is far less talk of journeys, learning spaces, possibilities and creativity.  But, there is a far greater focus on weaving tools together and bringing people/learners together. Collaborating and collecting is at the forefront. I love this too.

I am looking forward to “worming the Apple” in my classroom and finding more ways to use Google products on the iPads. After all, creativity and collaboration are both important C words in the current century.


Michael Fullan’s 6 Cs from the Great to Excellent report:

  • character
  • citizenship
  • communication
  • critical thinking
  • collaboration
  • creativity


I do think it is deliciously indulgent to talk about the importance of social media on Twitter. Not in a bad way, but just a hilariously all-in way that is akin to getting prune fingers in the tub, or having cupcakes for breakfast.

***Spoiler Alert*****

This blog post, like any other really, is also indulgent. For you power readers: this is the summary:

  • Social Media is amazing, and chat room full of Twitter users is pretty unanimous on that one!
  • I feel smart because I am connected to so many people in my personal learning network.  I want my students to feel the power of cooperative, augmented thought like I do.
  • Angela Maiers says kids should learn ABCs: Always Be Capturing
  • Warning: posting pictures of graffiti art can land you in jail. Yes, there is a down side to youth and social media.
  • What does digital citizenship and managing your brand really look like in a publish now edit/apologize/pay later world?

*****Back to regular programming******

I gladly joined the weekly chat #1to1techat hosted by Shawn McCusker: super star of #sschat and co-founder of #1to1techat.  We were focused on the impact of social media. In the first part of the chat we focused on this topic from the teacher’s perspective, then we focused on the student’s perspective. We were having a real love-in about social media. We were all riffing on great ideas. Shawn smoothly shifted the conversation to digital citizenship and I made the connection with a CBC article I had read earlier about a Montreal student being arrested for taking a photo of graffiti art and sharing it online using social media.  My mind zapped to another idea. ACK! My mind flashed over to the brilliant Angela Maiers who says in this era, kids should know their ABCs and her ABC is to Always Be Capturing.  Maybe it’s because I am not eating a cupcake right this minute, but I began to feel dark about this ABC mentality.  ABC can have major consequences, ask the Montrealer above.  It’s so much more than “Always Be Capturing.” There is a dark side of this that begs us to be deeply aware of audience, message, the message in a message, the implied, the intended and yes, your brand. Students need to have the amazing opportunity to tap into the largest network of human capacity and amplify their personality and their minds. But, we must also be deeply aware of the soft belly that is vulnerable.

The reason the student was arrested was because the graffiti portrayed a high ranking police officer getting shot. An aweful picture with brutal symbolism. But, I have to wonder, what if the Globe and Mail or some other reputable newspaper had snapped and published the photo. Would the photographer have been charged with harassment and intent to incite hate?  I think we must teach our students about digital citizenship, but I am also worried that governments may be having massively knee jerk and overly harsh responses to social media. I think in some cases people are being charged for crimes online with much, much harsher penalties than people committing far more heinous crimes offline. For example, the pressure that Aaron Swartz was feeling before he took his own life. This might seem like such a harsh example of unfair penalties waged against Internet users by frightened and uniformed people in power.

I believe in the power of social media.  I believe all learners, including teachers and students would benefit from tapping into networked knowledge. It’s more than what a single individual knows, we just can’t know enough, ever. But I have access to so many people with ideas, thoughts and answers. It’s not what you know, it’s what you and your friends know.  I feel especially smart because of my personal learning network on twitter and Google+.  I want my students to feel the power of cooperative, augmented thought.  However, it’s not all roses.  Digital citizenship and managing your brand are important topics that we must push ourselves to really work at understanding especially in a publish now edit later world.  It would seem to me that you don’t always get to edit later. Sometimes users end up paying a much larger consequence.


Here is the second part of my recap and reflection on the Ed Tech Teacher iPad Summit in Atlanta, Georgia on April 11 and 12, 2013. I am having fun looking at all the presenter material, but before I geek out, here is my recap!

Friday, April 12th 2013

Late Thursday night leaked into early Friday morning.  Thursday night was a “tweet up” at Taco Mac’s initiated by rock star Jon “Sammy” Samuelson @ipadSammy, dazzling Lisa Johnson @TechChef4U the über clever Greg Garner classroom_tech.  The sessions are important, but it’s meeting people that really makes going to conferences worth while. I can attend a lot of webinars, I can download and seek out people’s favourite resources and apps, but I can’t just sit next to someone and riff on ideas and laugh – except face to face.  This was the most fun I had while in Atlanta. If it hadn’t been for my looming presentation, I would have joined Sammy and Greg (who looks amazingly like my husband Greg Marshall @mr_marshall, see below) for pancakes. Alas, ISTE San Antonia will provide another opportunity for late night Waffle House and more tweet ups I am sure!

Demonstrating how Greg Garner and Greg Marshall actually do look alike.

Demonstrating how Greg Garner and Greg Marshall actually do look alike.


Another bonus of the tweet up was meeting the Friday morning keynotes: Jennie, Autumn and Anita. Three brilliant and amazing educators.

Redefining the Classroom

Keynote by Jennie Magiera @MsMagiera, Autumn Laidler @mslaidler and Anita Orozco @AnitaOrozco2

I am deeply impressed by women who can start a session with a joke, killer outfits and a theoretical framework. These are my kind of women. Super nice yet sharp witted; fabulously dressed but no-nonsense and they aren’t afraid to show their smarts and their faults.  This is a triple threat of powerfully engaging educators.

They began with my beloved SAMR model:

SAMR Model by Dr. Ruben Puentedura

SAMR Model by Dr. Ruben Puentedura

Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 9.16.23 PM

The smallest circle is the most important and it’s about redefining education with the implementation of iPads. The three part talk went on to explore ways iPads are redefining education in science, special education and mathematics.

I loved the brief videos of students from the Chicago schools where the kids explained how iPads had change the learning.  Most important to me was a young boy who said that he like iPads “because they make me feel powerful.”  I think empowering learners is becoming one of the most important findings about using iPads.

Autumn had great ideas about having students make their own textbooks with notes to refer back to later. I love the idea of having kids create their own content.  She uses the app Mental Note to:

    • type or annotate
    • for voice recording
    • including photos
    • improving workflow
    • giving students paper choice (No more having to glue in a page to your workbook! Sometimes the little things are actually massive!)

The session ended by talking about PLAYDATE the unconference where educators come together to play and then show off what they made. I love the idea of ending a PLAYDATE session with a massive slam where teachers demo creations in a poetry slam style. Here is a little overview of PLAYDATE:

Explaining Everything: Screen casting and Qualitative Formative Assessment

The creator of Explain Everything, Reshan Richards @reshanrichards, might be the nicest man in tech ed circles. He is humble, caring, total honest and has create a darn good app.  His presentation was fun, informative and I was inspired by his kind heartedness.

Reshan talked about how most apps are for consumption or content delivery. He is interested in student authoring and is trying to stay clear of teacher offloading.  Here are my attempts at capturing the session through the power of limericks (and this is where you leave my blog?):

Here is a limerick summary of this session:

Rhesan Richards made Explain Everything

To fight off consuming and offloading

To see daily growth

He did make an oath

And now let’s get creating!

Attempt #2:

There once was an app right and true

Which captured ones learning and audio too

Made not for consuming

Nor teacher offloading

Rhesan Richards made ExplainEverything for you!

At the end of the session we were tasked to make groups and create using the app. Here is our team doing our best at making BradyBunch mashups.

Trying to get a BradyBunch style intro in 10 minutes!

Trying to get a BradyBunch style intro in 10 minutes!

Courtney Pepe @ipadqueen2012
Amy Dortch @usnscience6
Connie Fink @finkteach
Lisa Jacobsen not on twitter
Barbara Kurtzman @barbarateacher
Sue Tummarello @suetummarello
Michelle Cordy @cordym
Chris Bigenho @bigenhoc

Getting your iBook Published in the iBookstore

Josh Allen @j_allen presented a great session on iBooks and authoring your own content. I was holding on to the mornings keynote where Autumn Laidler emphasized having students create their own content and Reshan Richards fighting (ever so gently) for iPads to be tools for creation and not just sit-and-git style teaching. But, with many apps publishing straight to iBooks, it’s increasingly possible to get kids work even a little closer to publication.

He game many options for sharing content from iBooks Author (from an Apple Computer with this software):

iBooks Author export options
– easiest way to share is file cabinet on google sites
– hosting on a file cabinet
– share with tiny URL and bitly
– box, CX, Dropbox
– CX cloud, ditched because sign up
– Dropbox, sometimes look liked downloading but then wouldn’t
He argued that iTunes is a better place for storing data because there is more space and the potential for a broader audience.
Since I have committed to creating content for the TLLP grant I have just received with my colleague Lisa Morris, I was glad to get some more information abut how this process might unfold.

Grand Finale: iPads and Democracy

My session was the final time slot on the final day.  I really appreciated that my new friends from the tweet up and conference buddies joined the crowd for my session. Big thanks to Chris Williams @Modblog1, Chad McGowan @AHSTechTeacher, Courtney Pepe @ipadqueen2012 and Greg Garner @classroom_tech for your support, live tweets and feedback.

Final Reflections

The big ideas and take aways from this experience can be boiled down to:

  • The Camera is King:  Mostly people are excited about the iPads ability to take pictures and document learning.
  • Wheels are the new killer app: Classroom spaces are rigid and mobile devices are free and open. At this point, the solution seems to be wheels. I think we have much further to go.
  • Tweet Ups: staying up late is worth it, even if you have to present the next day.
  • What Happens on the iPad Stays on the iPad: Everyone’s biggest problem is safely and easily sharing content.
  • 1:1 iPads but not 1:1 Programming: Many are going 1:1, but we are a long way from personalized learning. When will we get to 1:1 interest based programming that’s the perfect fit for each kid? How might we approach this model?
  • Apps, Apps, Apps: We all love to say it’s not about the Apps, but the minute you throw up an app in a presentation, everybody’s head goes down and people start searching/downloading.
  • Thought Leadership: Greg Garner @classroom_tech gave me this phrase and it felt good to have a name for the type of workshop I was going for. He’s a clever lad! I loved my experience, but I would have enjoyed more sessions that were pushing big ideas and less on button pushing.




Thanks for reading my R&R, Recap and Reflection, on ETT iPad Summit in Atlanta, Georgia.

Thursday, April 11th 2013

Keynote by Angela Maiers @AngelaMaiers 

Angela Maiers is passionate and passion is her word.  She believes in people and our ability to do great things. My favourite slide from her talk was the one below. It captures all the essential parts, the anatomy if you will, of the passionate heart.

A passion driven heart has these attributes.

A passion driven heart has these attributes.

Here are the key points from her talk:

  • After basic needs are met, the heart has one condition to fill: to find out if anyone cares.

“The heart has one requirement, does anyone know that I matter?” (She gave a Tedx talk on You Matter)

  • The ABCs of the 21st Century: Always Be Capturing

“It doesn’t matter what you consume if you don’t contribute what you saw, what you heard.” 

  • WOW: A Worthy of the World contribution

“What makes writing worthy of someone’s attention and time.  We are fighting to heart share.”

  • The importance of the iPad is to give every student a better chance to make a WOW contribution.
  • Instead of “To Do” lists, think of them as “Get To Do” lists.
  • Make your “Get To Do” and “To Be” lists public.
  • BHAG: Big Harry Audacious Goal

I am most impressed that she is setting up Choose2Matter which will help children make their dream projects and genius hour ideas come to life to help other people.  Putting words into action is deeply inspiring to me. I hope to do the same, in my own way.


Looking at Learning from Both Sides: Teacher and Student

Workshop presenters: Sue Tummarello @suetummarello and Reshan Richards @reshanrichards

Top Take Aways:

  • A great site for making books to capture student learning is
  • When kids are recording audio on iPads, have them put up a sign saying “Recording” so others don’t interrupt.
Recording in Progress.

Put up a sign like “On Air” so others in the class won’t interrupt live recordings on the iPad.
Photo Credit: curtis.kennington via Compfight cc

  • Have kids take screen shots every 15 mins (or any set time interval) to capture progress and for increased iPad accountability.

At the same time as this presentation was my new friend Lisa Johnson @techchef4U speaking on The 1 iPad Classroom and made a great Listly List.

Redesigning your learning spaces: How mobile technology demands a new classroom

Workshop presenter and ETTiPad featured speaker Don Orth @finddonorth and Tim Springer

Summary: Put everything on wheels! Modular classroom spaces that can be hacked and reworked for kids to work, prototype and learn is the way to go. This video says it all:

Courtney Pepe @iPadQueen2012 was also presenting at this time on iPad Technology Changing Outcomes for At-Risk High School Students

Keynote by Greg Kulowiec @gregkulowiec

After speaking about DJing for quite sometime (which I must say I enjoyed tremendously and remembered days of trying to match beats with my friends on their turn tables) we moved to talking about todays mashups.

I love this picture below of a jet engine on a horse drawn carriage. He was making the point that if we just drop iPads on top of education, the entire thing my just smash to smithereens!  Drawing on quotes by the highly quotable Seymour Papert.  I think the point he was trying to make is that we perceive the uses of technology by our current standpoints. We must push ourselves to situate technology in a changing and evolving context of schooling in order to reap it’s full potential and not just crash the system.

Greg and a Jet Engine on a horse drawn carriage. File under: things that won't work.

Greg and a Jet Engine on a horse drawn carriage. File under: things that won’t work.

Beyond Apps

Workshop presenter was Marsha Harris @marshamac74. Not only was she a great presenter, she is also Canadian!

Marsha also spoke about changing spaces for mobile learning. Once again, wheels and mobility are important for mobile learning. She described the learning lab as a “zen like” space for collaboration and tech enabled learning.

Most interesting was that they painted an entire wall with whiteboard paint to create a giant Idea Wall where everyone can participate at the same time and draw out ideas.

Idea Wall

Idea Wall

Her favourite apps:

My Story

Doodle Cast Pro

Croak it (iPod, iPhone only at this point)

PE Coaches Eye


She also spoke about using QR codes for students checking their work and scavenger hunts.

Bring on the Bling + Creative Apps = Excitement!

Workshop presenters Smita Kolhatkar an Carolyn Tuomy

This presentation was all about apps. The presenters found what I have also found in my class: when kids have free time, they don’t play games, they use sandbox apps where they can create.  Here are the apps they have found successful:

Whiteboard Apps:



Doodle Cast Pro


Story Telling Apps:

Story Wheel (I like this one because you can share to iBook shelf and it’s free!)

Sock Puppets

Narrate Slideshow App:



For the Keynote file about todays talk “iPad: Creating meaning, participating, and democracy” please click here.  This will be up until Sunday, April 14 5 p.m. EST.



Gareth Bawden is taking a course with Dean Shareski through the University of Regina.  Dean connected all the learners in his class with a teacher mentor, like me!  So, Gareth has become my student teacher.  One of his assignments was to interview his teacher-mentor. We captured the interview with Google Hangout On Air.  We had a great time and Gareth asked really important questions that I was thrilled to discuss.  Here for your viewing pleasure is our talk.