Posted in Education, Professional Development

My Experience at #ICE16 – Thursday

Keynote – Adam Bellow

I LOVED this speaker (even though I came in 20 minutes late).  Some of the quotes/ideas from his presentation that I really enjoyed were:

  • There are no apps to fix the eduproblems
  • I can go into any coffeeshop in america and get wi-fi but can’t do the same in our classrooms
  • Integration of technology is like a sink filling with water.  We need to be wise about integration or we will drown and overflow.
  • Innovation does not equal iteration
  • We should not use technology for technology’s sake
  • What’s the best device? The one you will actually USE!
  • Date the device – marry the abilities
  • Consumption vs. Creation – the difference between kids that can eat versus those that can cook – we want kids to cook!
  • There is an app for everything INCLUDING:
    • Track all of the Places I’ve Pooped – LOL!
    • Canva for design
  • Anyone can download an app…but not everyone can upload one.
  • Super Mario Maker – make your own Mario level and share
  • F words – fear of failure

OMG I want to use this video in something (note: might evoke tears and probably not appropriate for students :(.


  • Tickle app on ipad and parrot rolling spider drone.
  • Fear of starting
  • Live your life in BETA 🙂 love that quote
  • respecting failure allows you to embrace curiosity
  • check out Periscope
  • smule – karaoke with anyone in the world
  • French Girls – take a selfie and upload it and people will draw you
  • 1:1 doesn’t mean one size fits all
  • BreakoutEDU.
  • Technology does not drive change – it enables it

This was TRULY the highlight of my day and I hope that I can see him speak again at some point.

Breakout Session I: Snapshot Sessions & Exhibitor Area

Not impressed with this format.  Way too many people in a small space.  Ah well.  Toured the exhibitor space a little.  That was overwhelming as people have projectors going and giveaways but I am reluctant to check anything out as I know my school cannot afford it.  I guess the best part of this session was getting to hang out with Brad since I feel like I don’t know my department much these days – I guess being on maternity leave for three months will do that to a person.

Breakout Session II: Free and Cool Tools from Microsoft – Patrick Sheren

Sooooooo I actually went to a Microsoft session.  I had a feeling that the presenters had not spent much time in real classrooms which is a let down to me when I attend conferences for educators.  They mentioned Skype in the classroom, but I could tell that they did not have personal experience with it so I didn’t press them for information.  What I am interested in is learning more about Sway and MicrosoftMix but need a windows operatingh system to try it.  I’m sometimes overwhelmed and sometimes underwhelmed by what Microsoft has to offer.  I feel overwhelmed by the amount of clutter at times – AKA the dumb ribbon. I feel underwhelmed by what you have to purchase through them to use when free options are often available through places like Google.  For instance, if you can give up on some of the bells and whistles of PowerPoint, Google slides is an awesome option.

Breakout Session III: Less Grading, More Learning

This session focused on ways to minimize the take home grading and maximize the learning in your class. Of particular interest to me was the use of University of Texas Online question bank – alternative is WebAssign – to get students to complete homework.  They used this for some points in their class but it didn’t make or break grades.  The cool part is that the numbers change in EVERY SINGLE PROBLEM so it is virtually impossible to copy answers.  Additionally, they mentioned the use of EDPuzzle which I really need to put on my short list of things to try (probably more like next school year).


Breakout Session IV: Date Your Chromebook

LOVED the three minute question and answer session like as if you were actually speed dating.  You can set a timer by typing “set a three minute timer” in the search bar

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Google Tone – allows you to send out a webpage to anyone else who has the extension up

Move Note – record your presentation and it makes a video of the presentation (could be a good flip your classroom tool)

YouTube Creator – you can make YouTube videos right from your Chromebook

Some take aways from this session included that I don’t need my Chromebook to do EVERYTHING.  I need to stop using Excel abilities as my gold standard of what I want my device to do.  Instead, I should use the devices available and the applications available to the best of my ability.

Breakout Session V: Ditch That Textbook

Make a slide deck, give each student a slide, they go out to the internet and make whatever they want on the slide.  I loved seeing the part about Stop motion animation with Google slides.  I think that some of my students would really respond well to that particular classroom activity. Although the idea of an Interactive white board through opening up a drawing to the entire class seems scary, I also like the possibilities.  I think I might try this in my statistics class (they are a smaller class with a more manageable level of maturity compared to my sophomore Geometry students – I can try it with the upper classmen first to work out some of the kinks).

Breakout Session VI: Beyond the Brain Break

I was proud of my self for sticking around the conference this long.  As I was walking to this session, I could see plenty of people make their way to their cars.  Like the fact that this session focused on getting students away from so much screen time (including and ESPECIALLY big screen time – AKA PowerPoint).  The presenter showed a PowToon which is a free online movie maker and also advocated using things like a JustDance on YouTube to get students up and moving to break up the monotony of class.

Some General Thoughts

I think that I am going to have to write a whole other post on why I was late to the keynote – long story short, the bathrooms at Pheasant Run do not have enough outlets for my Medela needs 🙂

Anyway, after about a month or so of KonMari-ing everything in my life I think I know why educational technology has been problematic for me.  So much of it is clutter.  So much of it doesn’t “spark joy” for me for a variety of reasons (high learning curve, applicability to a math classroom, will it work when the network goes down as it does often in my district, is this tech better than a more traditional method, etc) and cutting through the clutter is hard work.  I believe I need to KonMari the software, extensions, and apps in my life before adding any more. Although piling it all up in my living room as the book suggests for clothing is not really an option, I do believe that this process might be worthwhile.  If I can cut through the clutter and really explore the apps, extensions and software available I *might* really utilize more of it more thoughtfully in my classroom.

As always, whenever I go to a conference and fire up my WordPress I realize how much I learn through the blogging process…I vow to do more…I do more for a week and then fall off again.  I am wondering how I can continue my momentum this time and continue the blogging process as I know I am a better teacher when I take the time to reflect in this way