ISTE 2014 Wrap Up

ISTE 2014 Wrap Up
Quick Insight and Tips from the 2014 ISTE Conference
SunGard® K-12 Education
What We Learned During the Keynotes ........................................................................................... 3
Gamification, Makerspaces, Minecraft: The Classroom of the Future Is Now! ......................... 5
Trends that Bend – Five Global Tech Trends that’ll Change Everything .................................... 7
The Ed Tech Challenge: A Technology Integration Framework ................................................... 9
Preliminary Findings about Teachers’ Readiness to Leverage Digital Content ....................... 11
Google Hangouts for Educators ...................................................................................................... 14
Our Favorite Quotes from ISTE Ignite ............................................................................................ 16
Poudre School District Team Combats Summer Slide with a STEM Initiative ......................... 19
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What We Learned During the Keynotes
The ISTE 2014 keynotes packed a punch. Each speaker provided a host of thought-provoking
moments that caused us to consider our lives and experiences in a different way.
Ashley Judd, human rights activist and Emmy-nominated actress, taught us to listen to our children.
As she related a tragic circumstance that she experienced in the second grade, she reflected on the
adults she entrusted with her story. Those adults, when confronted with the shocking truth, chose not to
believe the words of a child, with devastating effects. “The grown-ups in that moment were empowered
with the right words or tools or resources to believe me,” said Judd. “And, if the only thing you ever do
as educators is believe the child who comes to you, you will have done enough.”
Reflecting on Judd’s comments, we would suggest that educators do so much more than just believe in
their students—they encourage hope, inspire curiosity, and motivate excellence. But we do agree that
believing our children when they share their pain, their thoughts, and their dreams is an essential first
step in forging the relationships that are at the foundation of a successful education.
The other two ISTE keynote speakers, Kevin Carroll and Jeff Charbonneau, each dared us to
reimagine education with two-word questions.
Kevin Carroll, founder of Kevin Carroll Katalyst and author, encouraged us to take on challenges with
the question, “Why not?” For Carroll, this question is a legacy of his interactions with the mother of a
childhood friend and chief encouragement officer, “Miz” Lane.
“Miz Lane gave me permission to dream big with two very simple words, ‘Why not?’,” he recalled. “It
wasn’t enough to give you permission, she also held you accountable. She checked back in with your
ideas. Are you turning those ideas into reality? Are you making those things real? Don’t talk about it, be
about it. Everyone needs a Miz Lane. Everyone needs a chief encouragement officer—someone who
lifts you up and challenges you, who holds you accountable for your dreams and ideas.”
With this question at the heart of everything we do, Carroll said that we can become a community of
catalysts—only limited by our imagination. “If a dream doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough,” Carroll
With the question, What If?, often on the screen behind him, Jeff Charbonneau, 2013 National
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Teacher of the Year, taught us to consider possibilities. “I think being a true educator, somebody who is
really an advocate for your students, really boils down to one thing—you ask yourself on a regular
basis, ‘What if?’” he said.
Throughout his presentation Charbonneau posed a series of questions:
What if I can be a little bit better for my kids?
What if I could do something different for my students?
What if we could teach differently and embrace curiosity in our students?
What if our next big initiative in education is kids?
What if the desire to invent drove you?
What if we fail?
Charbonneau suggested that by giving ourselves the permission to ask the questions, educators can
consider something different for their classroom and model a behavior that students can apply to their
lives. “The real impact that we have, the real thing that we do is: we are the guardians, we are
protectors, and we are the purveyors of hope,” he said. “We give our students the opportunity to hope
about their futures.”
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Gamification, Makerspaces, Minecraft: The Classroom of the
Future Is Now!
At ISTE 2014, Douglas Kiang—computer science teacher and head of the Curriculum Resource
Teacher group at Punahou School, Hawaii, and author of five bestselling game strategy guides—
emphasized that technological innovations will not in themselves create the classroom of the future.
“We throw these terms around like gamification, Minecraft, Makerspaces. How do we get that
classroom of the future? I think the secret is not just that you’re doing some number of those things,
sort of throwing them in there,” Kiang said. “I think it’s really thinking about what is it that we’re really
here to do. How are we here to help our students learn? How do we build those learning environments,
not only from a curricular standpoint but also in terms of their physical space? And I think most
importantly, how do we create that sense of community that’s so important?”
Kiang said that the classrooms of the future:
Empowers individual voices;
Creates spaces for whimsy, play, and incongruity; and
Brings the outside in—whether nature or people.
He stressed that the ideal curriculum in the classroom of the future is flexible, adaptive, allows for many
points of entry, and is designed in a way that kids learn. He suggested that this curriculum will:
Create chefs, not cooks. Students stop memorizing recipes for success, but instead bring
creativity to their work. “Your kids and my kids are part of the maker generation, the DIY
generation,” he said. “This is really driving informal learning for kids.”
Involve the community. As students create, Kiang says they will be motivated to share.
“Technology becomes the way that you share [a project] and develop that community around it.
So the technology is a means to community, but it’s not the activity itself,” he said. “Community
is the sum total of all of the interactions in your class–between your students and between you
and your students. Our challenge is to build those bridges and get kids to talk to and trust each
other and widen that conversation so that it’s really about more than you’re turning in the work
and I’m giving you the grade.”
Give them a map. Kiang said that a curriculum can be analogous to a map, helping students
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understand where they are, showing them where they need to go and giving them an impulse to
move forward, and giving them a purpose. “I think a good map does that. I think a good
curriculum does that,” he said. “And to the extent that we want to let our kids take risks, to let
them explore, you also have to give them a map.” Kiang shared the Challenge-Based Learning
framework ( as the roadmap that he uses in his own classroom.
Build something that matters. According to Kiang, the curriculum of tomorrow will create
shared value together. “When you have things that you want kids to learn in your class, what
you are trying to do is you are negotiating for understanding. You are trying to create shared
value that we each come out the richer for,” he said.
Kiang emphasized that a key ingredient in this classroom of the future is the educator, and compared
the educator’s role to the stone bearer in the children’s book, Stone Soup. “Our role as teachers is to
facilitate student collaboration—to know our students, to know what their individual strengths are, to
bring out those talents, and to together make a soup that we can all benefit from,” said Kian. “As
teachers, your job is to bring the stone. Your job also is to bring the map—give kids a framework, give
them a structure around which they can truly care about, and help to create a sense of community that
creates shared value together. And if we do all of those things, I think we take the best parts of what we
see as the classroom of the future and we’re able to make those the classroom of today.”
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Trends that Bend – Five Global Tech Trends that’ll Change Everything
At ISTE 2014, Jason Ohler presented five global technological trends that are establishing a “new
normal” in education—one in which Ohler says a learner’s attitude toward learning new information
determines “how smart” they are.
To set the context for this conversation, Ohler spent a few minutes talking about information overload.
“We now are bombarded with far more information than we are capable of verifying, substantiating,
thinking about, or using,” he said. “We are so overwhelmed with information that we can’t possibly deal
with what we are immersed in every day. We have come to a point in history that is really rather
remarkable because, for the first time ever, abundance is disruptive. It’s so difficult to digest and
assimilate the information that we have that we are waiting for new paradigms to break out to deal with
The five trends that Ohler believes will become the new paradigms for education are:
Big Data. “We have no more barriers to storage. You can have access to all the data you ever, ever
wanted or didn’t know that you wanted,” said Ohler, noting that in the big data universe, students never
disentangle themselves from the web. “Big data never stops flowing. And, our output becomes their
input. But what we also need to remember is that their outputs become our choices. There literally is no
Big Data without predictive analytics anymore. Predictive analytics is there to take all this stuff and help
us make sense out of it.” Ohler recommended reading Big Data Makes its Mark on Schools–for Better
or Worse by Corey Murray.
Augmented Reality. Augmented reality is only one version of immersive reality. “Immersive reality
comes about because we are massively, massively interconnected. And, we are always on. And, our
machines are always on us. We never turn them off. So as long as we can count on that, then we are
going to live in a world in which we have one foot in RL (real life) and one foot in VR (virtual reality),”
said Ohler. Augmented reality opens a host of possibilities for students, such as virtual tours.
Sematic Web. Ohler emphasized that the web is being constantly re-written. The next quantum leap
that it’s going to take is when it becomes the semantic web. Web 3.0 will connect a discrete piece of
information on one site to a discrete piece of information on another site and develop a relationship
between them. Web 4.0 is when everything has an Internet ID. “Everything is an app holder, everything
is a sensor. The semantic web is going to take all that information that overloads us and drowns us
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right now and give it an intelligent foundation,” explained Ohler. “So when we search for stuff only the
really relevant stuff comes up, and it comes up in a format that makes it useful. How does that impact
education? It all depends on who controls … the relationships that are being built between discreet
pieces of data.”
Extreme BYOD. The BYOD revolution began because everybody wants their own workspace. “What
does this do for us? It puts the ‘you’ in BYOD. It allows you to decide, by virtue of how you learn and
the technology that you really resonate with. It allows you to wade into that ocean of data the way you
really want to rather than have it sort of dumped on you as a huge list of Google hits,” said Ohler.
“Education will be judged by how well we help our students blend their digital and non-digital lives …
into one inspired, safe, responsible approach to learning, living, and so on.”
Transmedia Strategy. “It is just sort of hovering outside of education looking for a way to get inside,
and we’re not quite there yet. Most students come to school understanding the story form. The
question is: How do we bring story into academics? Transmedia is all about how do we take the story
form, marry it with all the different channels that we have right now, and produce something that allows
fan access over a number of different channels,” said Ohler.
As these technology trends take hold and redefine education, Ohler recommended engaging students
through the lens of digital citizenship. “Every technology connects us and disconnects us. And, I want
students to know and be able to reflect upon that fact. And if you want to know if you have a good
digital citizenship program, you ask yourself this question: Do your students have opportunities to
explore questions about their digital lifestyles? If I could change one thing about digital citizenship:
Adults need to stop making rules. We are robbing students from the much-needed opportunities to sit
and think and talk and research about their digital lifestyles.
Ohler advised that educators to put students “in charge” of making their own rules. ”We want our kids to
frame the system, not game the system,” he emphasized. “And, if we don’t ask them to frame the
system, they will game the system.”
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The Ed Tech Challenge: A Technology Integration Framework
At ISTE 2014, a panel of talented professional development/instructional technology specialists
presented a framework for technology integration, called the Ed Tech Challenge.
The Ed Tech Challenge was developed by more than 20 Google Certified Teachers, Trainers, and
ISTE awardees in spring 2013. The main components of the Ed Tech Challenge are:
A technology integration survey that gives teachers an individualized report on their current
comfort level with the ISTE-NETS, personalized learning elements, and digital age work
A self-paced course that includes six units of online tutorials that focus on increasing
efficiency/effectiveness of teaching practices
A classroom website template for classrooms that districts can customize
A personalized learning plan template for educators that districts can customize
One of the panelists, Caroline D. Haebig, led the discussion. She began by reflecting on her teaching
experience and recalling a circumstance that forced her to realize that she was using technology as a
replacement for really, really good teaching.
“Technology is just a tool. And a tool is anything used to achieve an end. That’s it. And, sometimes I
feel like we get away from that when we tell a story about education technology and engaging kids,
because really good teachers engage kids. And quite frankly, a pencil is technology. It’s just we have
more elaborate and better technologies than we have ever had before. That’s a story that I don’t think is
getting told nearly enough,” said Haebig. “So, businesses use newer tools to perform that operation
more efficiently or more effectively. And the big question is: Are my students learning? And after that,
can I be more efficient? And, can I be more effective?”
Modelling Business’ attitude toward technology, the Ed Tech Challenge team agreed on the following
vision for technology in education:
Technology does not engage students; great lessons engage students. Technology should only be
used when it increases efficiency or effectiveness.
The group then developed a framework to build systematic adoption of technology to support and
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develop personalized learning environments.
Digital age concepts that can improve efficiency and effectiveness include collaboration tools,
content management systems, personal learning networks, formative response tools, open
educational resources, and electronic portfolios
Instructional technology expectation must be driven by instructional experts
Technology services must be aligned with instructional goals and district needs
To support adoption by teachers, administrators must model how to use technology effectively.
They also developed a MOOC—which can be found at The MOOC is selfpaced, scaffolded, and openly accessible (Creative Commons License). The curriculum for the course
addresses the NETS for Teachers and personalized learning elements and includes an initial survey
that allows teachers to self-reflect on their current uses of technology in the classroom. The MOOC is
structured in such a way that districts can use it to easily provide personalized, challenge-based,
blended learning professional development to teachers.
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Project Tomorrow Presents Preliminary Findings about Teachers’
Readiness to Leverage Digital Content
At ISTE 2014, Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow, and Mary Ann Wolf, Friday Institute, presented
preliminary findings of a three-year National Science Foundation-funded research project to assess
Teachers’ Readiness to Adopt and Adapt Content (TRAAC). A comprehensive report is expected to be
published in August 2014.
Every year, Project Tomorrow polls K-12 students, parents, and educators about the role of technology
for learning in and out of school. The results represent the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered
stakeholder feedback on digital learning. Since 2003, more than 3.4 million K-12 students, parents,
teachers, librarians, principals, technology leaders, and district administrators have shared their views
and ideas through Speak Up. Education, business, and policy leaders report that they use the data
regularly in informing federal, state, and local education programs.
In recent years, Project Tomorrow’s research findings have suggested that, although educators are
growing increasingly confident in the use of digital content, there are a number of concerns about the
ability of districts to effectively leverage it. Evans reported:
Only 25 percent of technology leaders said they have enough bandwidth to support digital
content usage in the classroom
55 percent of principals said that there are not enough computers to support student use
41 percent of principals said that it’s hard to understand the role of digital content within
Common Core
“Principals also told us that they were concerned about their teachers’ interest level and the training
that they had in terms of using digital content,” she said. “They saw that as an obstacle to expanding on
that. And, interestingly, the majority of teachers identified finding effective teacher professional
development as one of their most important goals for this coming school year.”
To learn more, Project Tomorrow proposed and was awarded funding from the National Science
Foundation to assess the digital readiness of teachers. The organization’s goals for the TRAAC project
were to:
Develop tools to assess teachers’ digital readiness
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Understand the efficacy of interventions and identify strategies for facilitating teacher growth
Identify digital resources that advance teachers’ growth
Inform teacher preparation programs
Through their research, they found that the reality of digital use is as follows:
Despite investments in professional development, teachers’ abilities to use digital content have
not changed significantly.
Centralized control of the instructional process is usurping the ability of teachers to personalize
instruction with digital content
Adoption of digital content for sporadic, lesson plan use is not the desired outcome.
Goals should be to build teachers’ capacity to internalize the use of digital content and adapt the
resources appropriately within the classroom.
“Really our ultimate goal is to buildup classroom teacher capacity to internalize that use of digital
content and to not only be able to adopt the resources for usage in the classroom but to be a
sophisticated enough level where they could actually adapt that for usage in the classroom,” said
Through their work, Wolf reported that they found that technology integration is a learned art and one
that is achieved gradually.
“You do not just wake up and suddenly you’re a pro at technology integration, no matter how techy you
are,” she said. “For us, the digital readiness piece of this going beyond [just how to use the hardware]—
it’s really thinking through the process behind what are you going to use and what are you going to
design so you can actually change the teaching and learning process.”
Through their research, Project Tomorrow created a Digital Readiness Spectrum, which not only looks
at levels of use, which are the skills, but also looked at stages of concern, which is how does a teacher
feel about this.
The Levels of Use are:
Survival, Mastery, Impact, Innovation
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Stages of Concern are:
Awareness, Informational, Management, Collaboration, Refocusing
“At any time, a teacher will be at one place in the Level of Use and a different place in Stages of
Concern, but they usually go hand-in-hand,” said Wolf. “You kind of see this stair-step approach in
moving along this continuum.”
Detailed quantitative and qualitative data will be released in a comprehensive report in August 2014.
Watch for news on Project Tomorrow’s website at
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Google Hangouts for Educators
During the ISTE 2014 session, Google+ Hangouts: Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity in
One Spot, Kyle Pace—an instructional technology specialist at Lee’s Summit School District, a
BusinessPLUS customer in Missouri—and Erin Klein, a second-grade teacher and author, shared
ideas for integrating Google+ Hangouts into the classroom to get students connecting, collaborating,
and creating.
Google+ Hangouts is free video-conferencing tool for connecting with up to 10 people. With Google+
Hangouts, students who are 13 years of age and older can share ideas with experts and see the world
through the screen of their computer or mobile device. It is available through Google+, which is part of
Google Apps for Education. To use in a classroom setting, educators must first set up their Google+
profile and have available a computer, microphone, and webcam.
Pace says Google+ Hangouts opens a world of new possibilities for education. “Learning does not have
to be contained within the four walls of your classroom anymore. We don’t have to worry about going
anywhere physically because we can go so many places virtually now,” says Pace. “Google+ Hangouts
is kind of the equivalent … of everyone sitting around the front porch and chatting. [It] allows you to get
a group of people together and have a conversation … and start to collaborate.”
According to Pace, the benefits of using Google+ Hangouts include:
Available through existing Google accounts
No extra software needed
Saves time, increases productivity
Great add-on apps are available
For Klein, Google+ Hangouts adds a new dimension to her work in the classroom. “It was a really easy
transition to bring Google+ Hangouts into the classroom … just because it is so seamless and it is
free,” she says. “I think the collaborative feature is really a key part. Whenever you add that plus 10
people to a hangout, I think it brings a whole new element to it.”
Pace and Klein suggested the following uses Google+ Hangouts in education:
Virtual field trips to anywhere in the world
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Invite authors, scientists, and other experts into the classroom
Offer virtual office hours/tutoring for students
Create professional development/mentoring opportunities for teachers
Build instructional practice by inviting others into your classroom for observation and feedback
Google+ Hangouts features standard functionality, including chat, screensharing, remote desktop, and
integration with Google Drive. Additionally, it offers a variety of special features, including Google
Effects, Hangout toolbox, and YouTube.
Google offers guidance about using this tool on Google Connect Classrooms. Other resources for
educators shared during the session include:
Project Roundtable
Google Hangout Guide for Educators
Google Hangout Tip Sheet
How Educators and Schools Can Make the Most of Google Hangouts
Using Google Hangouts for Teacher Development
Cybrary Man’s Google Hangouts Resource Page
Scoot & Doodle for Education
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Our Favorite Quotes from ISTE Ignite
More than a dozen ISTE presenters ignited this year’s conference with five-minute snapshots of their
scholarship and initiatives. Please enjoy a snapshot of their snapshots as we share our favorite quotes
from ISTE Ignite.
Allison Finn
“Virtual exchanges make it possible for every young person to access a true cross-cultural education.”
“We will have to work together across borders in order to solve all of the problems that our generation
has not yet fixed.”
Tanya Avrith
“Our students’ digital legacies will be their Twitter accounts, their blogs, their YouTube channels, their
digital portfolios.”
“You cannot teach digital citizenship in isolation.”
Rafranz Davis
“You never underestimate the power of a kid that is driven by his passion to create.”
“When you learn, create, and share, you give passion a chance to go viral.”
Eva Harvell
“Who wants to come play? The sky is the limit.”
Stacy Hawthorne
“There are no strangers at ISTE. Only friends we have yet to meet.”
Three ideas to help us succeed in life:
“How often do we actually allow ourselves and our students to ask meaningful questions?”
“The brick walls are there to keep the other people out. They’re there to stop the people who
don’t want it bad enough. And, there are always ways around those brick walls.”
“Make sure that people know where they stand all the time.”
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Jennifer Magiera
“Teachers are big kids. We need to be engaged like everybody else.”
“We’re all secretly ashamed of admitting what we don’t know or what we want to try for fear that it
would be taboo.”
“The person sitting next to you … could be your educational soul mate.”
Rurik Nackerud
“It’s all about that passion for supporting students.”
Matthew Newton
“Wearable technology has been around for quite some time. It’s nothing new. And, it’s going to be
around for quite some time.”
“The paradigm we have to change in the way we look at [wearable technology] is thinking about
convenience versus possibility.”
Pat Yongpradit
“Every single student in every single school should have the opportunity to learn computer science …
because it’s a foundational skill in the 21st century.”
Nicholas Provenzano
“The most important thing that we have to do is create experiences for our kids.”
“Too often our kids are told, ‘You can’t.’ Why? Because it’s easier to say, ‘No.’”
Jennifer Roberts
“We are preparing our students for their futures. Teachers need to be futurists—that’s the nature of our
business. It’s not just our prerogative to predict the future; it’s our obligation.”
“I’m worried that our next educational divide, though, is going to be between the students who have the
power and autonomy to determine their own learning path and those who don’t.”
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Amanda Sidorowicz
“Typical is boring … Let’s open our minds and be creative and have fun.”
“Who said pop culture and education don’t mix?”
Reshan Richards
“Being good at something or knowing a lot about it doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to teach it
or help others learn it.”
“If you have an idea you can turn it into reality, if the contexts are present. But, you have to possess the
ability to recognize them.”
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Poudre School District Team Combats Summer Slide with a STEM Initiative
At ISTE 2014, a team from Poudre School District—a SunGard K-12 Education BusinessPLUS
customer in Colorado—presented “Combat Summer Slide: Create and Sustain STEM opportunities,”
which highlighted the amazing story of their summer STEM initiative.
Founded in 2009, STEM Institute began with the belief that vision comes first and resources will follow.
The three-week summer STEM offering encourages students to “think creatively, problem solve, and
connect globally throughout the year.” From its founding, the program has grown from 76 mostly male
students in 2009 to 600 students in 2014, with 40 percent of this summer’s group being female.
Tracey Winey, a SMART Exemplary Educator and Preston Middle School’s media and STEM
education specialist, said enthusiasm for the program is contagious. “We knew the students would be
excited. What we didn’t anticipate is the staff would be just as excited,” she said, noting that STEM
Institute is comprised of “passion-based projects” created by a team of dedicated educators and staff
who know how to nurture that same passion in students. “[The team] supports this program because
teaching and inspiring students are what we love to do.”
The program is self-funded, with support coming from community donations. Read more about the
program at
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