Pre-ISTE Learning

These blog posts are not going to be long, thoughtful reflections. Instead they are the quick snapshots of the sessions/resources so that I can remember them later. Saturday included #HackEd16 and the Mobile Learning Mega Share, as well as casual conversations in the hallway that also resulted in some ah-ha moments. Since I was up by 4am, I figured ‘why not?’ be part of the HackEd/ISTE unplugged planning crew, aka scheduling guru or happy minion.


  • Personalized, voice and choice, true passion based projects
  • Differentiated, different pathway to same goal
  • Individualized learning, student choice to hit standards, like freedom in project
  • Students don’t know what they don’t know. Hard to give them complete freedom for personalized learning, especially if you are also required to hit all the standards.
  • Misnomer that personalized means you can do anything. Still have to hit standards.
  • Students don’t have agency to know what to expect. They are used to being told exactly what to do.
  • “Teacher for Hire” based on a pre-test, some students will be the ones students go to for help, not just the teacher.
  • “What are your options?” Don’t just give them the answer.
  • Teach them that failure is an option.
  • The behavior issues go away as the learning was personalized.
  • learning badges – using it in Chicago and Philly. Makes learning transparent even when students move frequently.
  • Karen Lirenman teaches at an AWESOME personalized learning environment that spans multiple grades. She will be presenting more about the experience on Wednesday from 11:45-12:45.


  • Post positive messages around the school. Failure is not the end.
  • It’s not about fitting in, but moving beyond to be successful.
  • Admin need to give teachers permission to do things, remove barriers. Teachers need to model it for students.
  • Two year study/classes on innovating and coaching led to a successful growth mindset culture, but it took ten years for the pockets of innovators and people with the fail forward mindset to transform the entire district.
  • How can we inspire teachers to try? Set up badging system for class goals that require teacher advancement (like trying a new tools/strategy), sell it to the students instead of the teachers alone. You will know who to ask. Don’t just check off boxes, you are really changing the experience for the students. This is something they are developing at Excelsior Springs School District. Christy Harris (@teacherharris), it sounds like it has amazing potential.
  • Lubbock Texas SD has been doing badging for professional development. Everyone earns them and displays them, even the superintendent.
  • Do we make too many assumptions? Are we willing to dive deeper and see if it works even if we think it will fail? Do our assumptions prevent students from being able to try on their own?
  • How do you get a cultural change where you can celebrate failure?
  • We need to empower students to have a growth mindset.

SMACKDOWN (many of these I already use, some I heard about at last year’s ISTE but forgot about it in the craziness, and some are new hold potential to explore)

  • Write Our World, multicultural ebook library of stories written by students. Awesome idea! Another resource I will be sharing with colleagues.
  • Formative… The teacher explained his process “inspect, redirect, and reflect”
  • The Wonderment – how could I forget about this since last year?
  • questily – team based quests in small groups to further understanding
  • Google street view app, +, create own 360° image, can toggle over to Google Cardboard
  • Quizizz
  •  open source social annotation. Share an article and read together. Similar to Diigo. “Annotation flash mobs”
  • Voxer, text or voice conversations, on either phone or laptop
  • Pobble 365, daily photos with writing prompt inspiration
  • free video conference, don’t even need to sign up
  • CS unplugged
  • Write About
  • Switcher Studio, free version gives you four iPads to record together. Fifth iPad is the director mixing the videos into one.
  • Peekapak – social and emotional learning


  • Organizing Flow Chart Template via @DenverUbow
  • Virtual BreakoutEDU puzzles 
  • After you have done some Breakouts in class, have students demonstrate mastery of content by creating a couple of their own clues.



  • @ProfeEdTech and @JenWilliamsEdu
  • Virtual Handshake, create padlet and have people add their names, faces, etc.
  • Padlet has a built in QR code creator on the website to easily have people find the Padlet you want them to add to.
  • EDpuzzle + YouTube
  • Symbaloo curation device
  • Feedly + blogging = collections of topics for blogs, shows source and title of new blog posts
  • In Feedly you can create your homepage and people can follow you and your followers
  • One hundred day challenge on Twitter #100days
  • TEDed + sketch notes. Initially just write major concepts. Afterwards she draws the images and adds colors. By having them sketch note it is reflective and demonstrates understanding. @edtechamber 
  • Paper 53, drawing app
  • Apple Pencil, only available for the iPad Pro, something to check out for the future. The fact that it will recognize handwriting and turn it into text could be huge for some of the learning support students who are better writing on paper but need the supports offered by editing with technology.
  • Participate Learning, like a Pinterest for education topics.
  • Participate Learning curates all Twitter chat content. This looks awesome!
  • Canva has a digital “design school”. On the home page, scroll down to ‘learn to design’
  • Take quotes from sessions and find an image to capture. Combine on Canva.
  • Adobe Spark 
  • Buncee – they are really cute when emailed, the animations
  • It would be cute to have an invite with RSVP for ice cream social or back to school night, which can easily be emailed to homeroom families
  • Buncee now has an iPad app
  • SoundTrap gives lots of collaboration options to create music. Paid website, but cheap for teacher account for a year. Must share with my music colleagues! 
  • Bubbli takes 360° images. You create a bubble.
  • Pixel Press Floors allows you to draw a video game on graphic paper and the free app turns it into an actual game.
  • Bloxels – Love this! Also from Pixel Press, but there are physical colored boxes that added to the grid to build the game and the graphics.

Today brings the Global Education Day, so there are sure to be many more resources.

About Lisa Butler

Middle school geography teacher, tech trainer, Flocabulary MC, Nearpod PioNear, and Edcamp Hershey Founder. I have embraced the power of purposeful technology and am creative with their application. If I am not doing something with ed or tech, I am probably reading children's books, baking with a toddler sidekick, running around, or dreaming of traveling.
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