#ISTE 2013: San Antonio


ISTE 2013 was awesome. We were able to make connections with many people that we interact with regularly, but only through the digital realm. That is always exciting when you have the opportunity to discuss and collaborate with the people that already make great products for your students to use. I also believe that what makes their services so great is their willingness to listen and discuss the needs of teachers and students.


There was a lot of discussion at ISTE about PBL (project-based learning). One particular great resource was a session held by Andrew Miller. During that session, he spoke about how technology can play as the role for distributing the materials and content when giving the students a central question for students to pursue. Repeatedly he mentions the importance for students to have “voice and choice” when providing students with the opportunity to participate in PBL. Students should decide what they want to use to share their learning when pursuing the driving question. If you are interested in PBL, a great resource to look over is http://www.bie.org.

PBL Poster Session
PBL Poster Session

The image I posted above serves two purposes. First off, I just discussed PBL. Second, this may change much of how East Noble Schools provides professional development in the future. I’ve attended MACUL and FETC and neither of these large conferences had these “poster” sessions like ISTE. These were teachers, tech coaches, and even students providing professional development much like a science fair project. They had a display and you were able to discuss with the person face-to-face on their expertise. There were probably around fifty tables of various subjects for a total of two hours. After that time was up, there was an hour break and a fresh set of poster sessions took place. These sessions were extremely beneficial as I was able to gather the material in a matter of 10-15 minutes instead of sitting through a lecture for an hour.

As I already mentioned, these sessions included students in a few of the posters. This lead to an exciting experience as we were able to see how students were utilizing technology. There is even a video floating around Youtube of Zack and I making salsa. (However, I have yet to pinpoint the location of it.) After the video was created, the high school students created an app with a website called Appsbar. These students were extremely excited to share.

Another group of students were practicing their programming skills through a project they called Sparky. With this project, the students built their own robots and programmed them to move about. The cost is small as the parts can be obtained fairly easily and the software used for the programming is open source. Check it out for yourself from my Tweet during ISTE:

Meet Sparky #ISTE2013 cool robotics and programming projects…and cheap! https://t.co/kAx0sGRGil

— Lance Yoder (@Mr_Yoder) June 25, 2013

To continue with the robotics and programming rant, Zack and I participated in a session held by Lego for their WeGo lego set. With it, students can create their own robot and program it to perform various tasks. Not only that, but it was a lot of fun. Believe it or not, WeGo is intended for lower elementary. How could would it be to come home as a first grade student and tell Mom or Dad that you made a robot in school? I’m not sure they would even believe you. 🙂 (Click on the link at the end of this Tweet.)

#iste2013 wego Lego. so much fun. @zlinen #inelearn @alinsonen https://t.co/96b5tnE9h1

— Lance Yoder (@Mr_Yoder) June 24, 2013

Lastly, I’ll leave you with the closing Keynote by Adam Bellow. It was probably the highlight of the entire conference. He is passionate about how technology has provided us with the opportunity to reach out to our students and also give the students the opportunity to reach out to the world. (His portion begins roughly around the 22 minute mark.)

eLearning Pulse: Knight Time Technology 3.0


KTT3 was a success! Here is a little blog post about us!

Google Drive for ENSC

Last year, Zack and I tried to promote Google Drive heavily due to the collaborative nature of it. In fact, since then I know of teachers that have made entire presentations without meeting face to face. This is a huge time saving tool for those of you that have a tight schedule that does not always allow you to come extra early before or extra late after school.

We did run into a speedbump. Most East Noble teachers will remember it being a little bit of a mess because we could not use our East Noble School Corporation email addresses to create Google Drive accounts. Many teachers had started, but it was put to a pause as Google noticed an abundance of users signing up with email addresses ending in eastnoble.net. So the solution was to use personal gmail accounts. That temporary fix also came to be a problem since you had to know the email address of others within the district to share documents. This was not that tempting since it was taking extra steps to accomplish the task.

This issue has now been resolved. Our network administrator, Rick Williams,  has provided every teacher with a Google Drive account. However, gaining access to it is a little different than the traditional method with a gmail address. If you are an East Noble employee and are interested in using Google Drive, I put together a video on how to gain access to Google Drive through your East Noble email address.

Like I was saying earlier, Google drive possesses some powerful opportunities to collaborate with your peers when you are on a tight schedule. Zack and I share documents, presentations, and spreadsheets all from our Google Drive accounts. This allows us to work in any of the buildings without the extra drive to meet in one place. We frequently use the chat feature along the side if we need to communicate about something specific within the document without writing on it. You as a teacher can use it to collect data, write lesson plans, or work on a presentation that you may need to do for the school board.

When I first started being a peer coach, I had never used Google Drive. The best way to learn it is to just fiddle around with it yourself. Start with making a document, presentation, and a spreadsheet. Then try to make folders. See if you can organize your files. Then try to share a document with someone else. If you don’t know who to share with, go ahead and share with with me. It isn’t going to take up space because anything created in Google Drive does not count against the five gigabytes they give you for free. If you get lost, they even have a nice “help” feature that can be found in the following picture:

drive picture


If you are not the type that would rather learn it yourself, I came across a set of videos that will orient you with how to use Google Drive. This gentleman goes through the basics in a slow, step-by-step manner. Best part is, if you miss something, you can pause, go back, and rewatch it.



Sharing Files and Folders

Document Organization



The Indiana Department of Education is providing a free reading resource for all Hoosiers for the summer of 2013. MyOn will provide students with the opportunity to read to self as well as listen to read since many of the books include audio. Directions on how to log in are posted below. If you are an East Noble Teacher, feel free to promote this opportunity as you wish.


ABC Books with Story

Story has quickly become a very popular app amongst teachers. Students can quickly create a high quality presentation or digital book with the app. It allows the user to put in pictures, captions, and full pages of text within the book.

Here is an example that Mrs. Yoder had her first graders build. For several days, the students collaborated and built a list of animals for each letter of the alphabet. Mrs. Yoder sent the list to me and I used Morgue File to gather royalty-free photographs. I then sent her about four or five letters worth of pictures to her so that she could forward them to her students. (Yes, teachers can email fairly large amounts of photos to students. In this project, I was able to send 26 pictures.) The first graders downloaded the images to their camera roll, imported them into the Story project, and if students had additional time, they added facts about animals.

There was one little hiccup though. Mrs. Yoder quickly found out toward the end of the project that the user can only make twenty two-page spreads. So to solve that problem, Mrs. Yoder had students use Pic Collage to cluster together the last few animals.

Here is the direct link to the Story example by Lauren.


East Noble Theatre Department Promotes Digital Citizenship

I was recently provided with a copy of a video that the East Noble Theatre department created to promote digital citizenship. It is primarily targeted toward our laptop users in upper elementary, middle school and high school, but I think that it is full of reminders that would be good for all the staff as well.

Reminders about updating the laptops is a good one as I’ve noticed a lot of laptops running sluggish lately. (A resource is linked here to share how to update your PC laptop.) Yes, it will take a lot of time to get your machine up to speed, but if you make a habit of doing it at least once per month, you’ll find that it will not take as long and your machine will run faster.

Another good reminder is the subject of pirated materials. You need to make sure that you do not have illegal downloads of music, movies, or even…teaching resources. Believe it or not, if you have paid materials from Teachers Pay Teachers that a “friend” gave you, you are stealing. If you want it that bad, please pay for it. If the item was free, then download and share all you want. (Here is a silly comic that addresses the issue of piracy. It might be a good place to start the discussion with your students.)

With all that said, please take a gander at the video that was provide. The theatre department did a great job of addressing the many issues that we as a 1:1 technology school district face on a daily basis. If you want more digital citizenship materials, you can find them in my Pinterest page.

Butterfly Project with Story Kit

Story Kit has been around for quite some time. It was one of the first applications that the teachers of East Noble really jumped on using to have kids create projects with their iOS devices. Now there are so many options for students to produce work and send to their teacher. However, instead of looking for a new tool, Mrs. Carroll of North Side contemplated how the tool could be used. Here she has provided two examples of her Butterfly project. The students recorded the events that occurred with their own butterflies as well as reported about facts and vocabulary that they were learning over the course of the project. Overall, I am very impressed with the quality of work from these second grade students. Story Kit worked well for her students because it allowed them to save their projects on a daily basis, take quick pictures and insert them into the work, and record briefly each day.

Try looking at the examples that she provided:

StoryKit Second Grade Carroll caterpillar project 1 StoryKit Viewer: Butterfly Book second grade carroll

Face on Coin Booth and Pic Collage

I have two sets of examples to post today. The first one I had blogged about several weeks ago on the presentation tools section of this blog. It is called Face on Coin Booth. Mrs. Sibert invited me into her class knowing she was going to cover decimals involving money. This provided a great opportunity to use Face on Coin since it was a really obvious application. Here we had students take their own picture, write the sentence “decimals separate dollars and cents,” and write three different ways to write a cents amount. Check it out for yourself:

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I also picture this application useful in areas such as writing character traits, telling import parts in a chapter, or even recording quick facts that were learned about a topic. I like to think of this app as a good one for quick projects to share knowledge and understanding. It is without a doubt not for upper level thinking, but it does make for a more engaging experience in the classroom.

Another set of examples is from Mrs. Abbs’ first grade classroom. Her students used the stickers in Pic Collage to demonstrate subtraction story problems. I hadn’t even thought of using the objects that were already available in Pic Collage for the math manipulatives.

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Mrs. Sims’ Field Trip to the Zoo

Zack recently posted about the field trip project that Mrs. Millus’ class was able to complete earlier this week. I was able to follow up with Mrs. Sims today to go a little further into the project. This time we had students create a title page with their name, add five photos, and add a fact that they know about each animal.

I took roughly ten minutes to orient them through the app. I taught them how to start a new Story, edit the title page, insert photos, and insert more text boxes. Along with that, I also had to teach them how to move pictures or text boxes that may seem out of place. The students quickly caught on surprisingly well since this is the first time that they have ever used the application. If you are uncertain of how to do all those steps, I do have a video that will help orient you with the application. 

One downfall of this application is that we had to type in the teacher’s entire email address. Typically when students email work to their teacher, they can just start the beginning part of the email address and it pops up for them so they do not have to finish it. For some reason, it is not accessing the contacts list from our school district. (This might be an issue that is only exclusive to East Noble School Corporation.) I think what will need to happen is to actually add the teacher’s email address to their contact list manually if this is going to be an app the kids will use on a regular basis.

Here are the results:

If you would like to see a few more examples, please follow these links:



Coding Kids

The video makes some very interesting points that coding is really like teaching a foreign language. A language that people all over the world learn to speak. You think about the vast changes that have occurred in the realm of technology. Those changes are all thanks to people that have jobs where they use this language that causes a computer to perform tasks. (I’m actually friends with quite a few of them.) Sadly, I have never learned to code, but I think it is about time that I start to dabble in it if I am going to prepare students for a future that is going to be saturated with technological devices. So just like how the video ended, I will be visiting code.org to start the process.

There are two big opportunities for our students as part of East Noble School Corporation to become familiar with coding language. The first one is Hopscotch for the iPad. Not only does it gives students the concept of basic coding, but it also focuses on relevant elementary mathematics skills. Addition, subtractions, negatives, degrees/angles, and coordinate planes are just to name a few. Students can create an animated story or reenact a scene in a book through Hopscotch, and use these cross-curricular skills in order to to make it happen. Here is a short tutorial on how to get started with Hopscotch. Keep in mind, there is much more to it than just making a character move left and right. However, this tutorial will at least give you a basic idea of how it works.

Another opportunity is Scratch, and it works on a traditional PC or Mac computer. You may actually want to create an account through Scratched because it is the education version. They are also considering making accounts that a teacher can create under his/her username so that he/she can view and control the environment. For now, you can create a classroom account and all students could use the same username and password for the coding projects. Scratch will provide the same skills as hopscotch. In fact, it is very similar in some ways, but provides more options. This is no surprise since it has been available for quite some time. Here is a short video that will give you a better idea about Scratch: