Friday, July 21, 2017

Creating Professional Development

When I was in high school, and we completed interest surveys for future careers, I always came up with creative jobs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even draw a straight line, so I how could I envision a career that allowed me to have a creative outlet? Fast forward to 2017 and technology has opened up doors to do things that were once inconceivable. I can be creative with the many amazing tools at my fingertips. My favorite creative outlet comes from creating professional development resources for teachers. I love creating presentations, infographics, websites, and journeys to share my excitement for technology, teaching methods, for engaging students, and fostering creativity in others.

Last year, I took on a new role in my school as an integration specialist. My first task was to create a summer of professional development for my school. It was an incredible experience creating the presentations, gathering resources, and creating teaser videos for all of the topics. In all, there were eighteen different topics covered, with about 70 teachers accruing almost 500 PD hours in our district. This led to a year of growth across all grade levels for teachers. Teachers and students were trying things that they never tried before, from robotics to coding, to creating and communicating on a more global scale.

Teaser Video

                                                           Slide Deck

Presenting at conferences, workshops, and other area schools, allowed for tons of creating and exploring new resources. Each month our elementary teachers take a half day to meet and plan with our literacy coach and me on how to make their lessons more innovative and more engaging. They are creating amazing lessons that allow students to learn in their own way, and at their own pace. This has been a successful model and will be expanded to our high school next year.

Collaborative Project built from these workshops with a 5th grade teacher

This summer will be another opportunity for teachers to learn how to integrate technology into their classroom. Through summer sessions at school, local teacher center classes, and local conferences, teachers can spend time with me learning about twenty different topics to integrate into the classroom. What could be better than spending the summer creating, developing curriculum, and building toolkits that teachers can use when they head back to school?

When I’m looking at what to do for professional development, I often start with a simple survey on Google Forms. What do teachers want to learn and how do they want to shape their lessons are great starting points. From there it’s researching the best tools that will save time and offer an opportunity for growth. I’m a huge fan of Twitter for asking questions, searching hashtags, and gathering information, and taking courses with the EdTechTeam. I use this information to formulate slide decks on Google Slides and Buncee. Since teachers are not always available to attend my sessions, I like to use Recap Discover to build what they call Journeys. These are self-paced and offer some of the same resources I’ll use in the workshop.

Once the outline for the course is in place, I like to create small teaser videos to gain interest. Sometimes I let the Recap Journey be the teaser since it has a short video introduction in its setup, but other times I want a commercial of sorts that I’ll create on or on Adobe Spark. To advertise the course, I have an in house website for this summer, a PDF with links, and a bi-weekly newsletter to keep teachers up to date on the sessions. I always include a signup form so I can see where their interests lie. All of my trainings are capped at 20 participants, so if more than that sign up, I’ll start a wait list for a later session, or offer the Recap Journey as an alternative to attendance.

Summer Website

It’s very important after the session to send the participants a thank you for attending, a copy of the resources used, and a certificate of completion. Teachers are busy, and they took the time out of their day to spend at the workshop. These teachers are going to bring back the new tools to their classrooms, show others how to use them, and their students are going to blossom.

If I could go back and talk to my 17-year-old self, I’d tell her that there are many ways to be creative. The face of education is changing, the walls of the traditional classroom are being knocked down. It’s important to train teachers to embrace these changes in order to foster new learning opportunities for their students. Technology may be the vehicle that has burst open the doors, but it is through creative and timely professional development that we can harness these changes for the betterment of our students.

Laurie Guyon
Integration Specialist
Schuylerville Central Schools
Schuylerville, NY
Twitter: @guyonsmile

Do the visuals you use in the classroom really make an impact? Learn more with #edtechteamonline Teacher Leader Certificate starting September 11! Here’s a taste of our program with Rushton Hurley!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

EdTechTeam Live: iPads in the Elementary Classroom Webinar Archive

Last Wednesday, Tracy Purdy, Ben Friesen, Angela Gadtke and I had a blast sharing resources for using iPads in the elementary classroom on our Teaching & Learning Team's monthly webinar.

Angela went over some tips for getting started with iPads and then dove into Seesaw. Ben demonstrated Pic Collage for us and discussed how to use the app to capture artifacts of learning. Tracy shared Chatterkid. The live chat exploded with ideas on how to use it. Audience participation was phenomenal!

You can view the 50 minute Youtube Live Event HERE

You can get the resources from the panel at

Next month's webinar: Pathway to Certification on August 2. RSVP at or just follow @LThumann and @EdTechTeam on Twitter for more information.

And as always, remember you can bring any and all of this to your school or district by filling out our request form at

To see the archive of all our Teaching & Learning monthly webinars visit our Youtube playlist.

Senior Director Teaching and Learning
Google Certified Trainer & Innovator
New Jersey, U.S.A

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

EdTechTeam Live Q and A ISTE Standards Archive

Last week on EdTechTeam Live we featured Sarah Stoeckl going deeper into the newly revised ISTE Standards for Teachers. Questions were answered and educators shared their experiences. Learn how to unpack the standards by dialing in on the indicators within the 7 standards: #s1-3 are organized as the Empowered Professionals category and #s4-7 the Learning Catalyst category which reflects on the recently revised ISTE Standards for Students. The theme of educators as professionals took hold as well as the shifting role of the teacher from expert to a facilitator, life-long learner & collaborator and designing for learning using technology to empower students and maximize learning. Take a look!

Check out the archived Live Video below!

To see the archived chat and great back channel conversation go HERE

Check out the NEW ISTE Standards for Educators HERE

Check out the ISTE Standards Community HERE

Stay connected on twitter @isteconnects

What examples do you have to share of how you use the standards to maximize student voice and learning?

Gail Moore
Instructional Technology Facilitator
Vancouver Public Schools
Google Certified Educator & Trainer
Vancouver, WA

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

MasterClass Sydney #BookSmash

Cross-posted from

I heard so much about Australian educators prior to my trip to Sydney to keynote and share at the EdTechTeam Sydney Summit and then for the single day deep dive MasterClass Tour stop at Google Headquarters. Passionate about their professional development, innovative and cutting-edge, and over the top friendly and fun all were accolades my PLN showered upon the AussieEd scene. After having spent a week learning with over 300 educators I can honestly say I’m leaving a piece of my heart here in Sydney.

Our first stop of the MasterClass Tour was at Google Headquarters just steps away from the stunning backdrop of Darling Harbour. Over 50 educators joined us for a full day of big ideas and lesson creation all stemming from 3 amazing books: The HyperDocs Handbook, The Google Infused Classroom, and Dive into Inquiry. Lisa, Holly and I designed the event so participants would gain a deeper understanding of all of our books, have the support of all of the authors, and create a lesson or series of lessons that weaves in strong tech use with powerful pedagogy. We’ve dubbed the approach as a #BookSmash. There are so many rich connections across our work and books that by combining them for attendees everyone leaves with much more than any single one of us could have provided alone.

 Holly leading the cohort through making learning visible and enhancing lesson design with powerful tech tools

Holly Clark kicked off the morning with a hilariously engaging activity to get everyone networking and broadening their PLN. It wasn’t long until the room was alive with laughter and an energy that would shape the entire day. Lisa Highfill then took the lead and guided the cohort through the big ideas around strong lesson design using the HyperDocs framework to package our lessons for the day. Working in pairs or teams attendees collaborated, shared, and built the structure and direction for their lessons while simultaneously integrating rich and engaging resources. Striking the perfect balance of providing informative support and on-task design time, Lisa set an amazing tone and shape for the day’s learning.

We then transitioned to Holly guiding the cohort through enhancing their lessons using powerful tech adoption by infusing a few amazing apps, extensions, and platforms into our lesson plans. Both Lisa and Holly’s approach to learning beautifully supported the cohort in building lessons that were richly connected to the 4Cs of creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.

Check out the video here!

Combining highly engaging and informative support with meaningful on-task design time, the morning flew by and before we knew it we were off for lunch to Google’s infamous cafeteria.

 When you’re as creative and innovative as Googlers are you need to fuel up on some delicious grub and coffee

After an amazing meal and refuel we were back together and ready to package our lessons up with an essential question, the first step in adopting an inquiry approach in the classroom: my turn at the helm. I guided the cohort through an essential questions activity that took them from topic, to a brainstorm of questions, to an essential question that would transcend and direct our entire lesson. This backwards design approach tied together all of our work and helped attendees reflect on what we constructed throughout the day. We finalized the session with some collaborative sharing and reflecting on the process via Padlet. Have a look and see the excitement and energy for yourself HERE.

Some of the amazing responses to the day’s learning.

The MasterClass Sydney #BookSmash was an amazing day for all involved. Combining the big ideas from 3 books that have such naturally powerful connections provided the framework and expertise for deeply rich lessons to be created. I can’t wait to do it again throughout the rest of the MasterClass Tour!

Trevor Mackenzie
Author Dive into Inquiry
Vancouver, B.C.

Get the books today from EdTechTeam Press!

Monday, July 17, 2017

From Practice to Paper: How #IntentiontheBook was Born

We, (Dan and Amy), met serendipitously (as with most good things) at SXSWEdu Conference a few years ago when mutual friends brought us respectively in tow to an Austin Mexican food restaurant. We were instantly mesmerized and energized by each other’s ideas and anecdotes about our pedagogy and projects. Dan has long been a devotee of the design thinking approach to learning and Amy’s focus at the time was remix, multimedia storytelling, and connected learning. We each had our own creative pursuits going on as well, including Dan’s Improv Comedy Troupe and Amy’s History for Music Lovers YouTube channel or her trademark pink and black sketches.

Origins of Whimsy

Although Dan worked in Maine, which is about as far away from Amy’s school in Hawaii as one could get, we grew in friendship through the magic of collaborative creativity. One of the of things we toyed with we dubbed #hashtaggerie - Dan would send Amy a tweet of one of his whimsical hashtags, which serve to decontextualize in an almost poetic, albeit humorous way. Amy would then tweet back a visualization as a response. This “volley” is a great example of creative constraints, a concept discussed often in the book and indeed what most of Intention’s “Catalog of Critical Creativity” revolves around.

We had some success with a student collaboration we called “remash” - a kind of poetry meets visual thinking remix project. At some point we realized that if we joined forces and drew from our respective years of pedagogical experimentation and risk-taking, we could perhaps end up with something sparkly and useful to our peers. When we understood that playful flights of fancy can be powerful pathways for understanding and demonstration of learning, we knew we had our philosophical anchor: “critical creativity”.

The Essence of Intention

Critical creativity is students using creative expression to demonstrate deeper thinking and the nuances of understanding content.

In Dan’s words, “If they build it they will get it”. It’s about students making connections and remixing (which Amy believes is the crux of learning) - transforming knowledge to show they grasp the subtleties. It’s about purposeful play, and something we’ve christened “rigorous whimsy”. It’s about the importance of tracing the creative lineage and articulation of one’s creative reasoning. It’s about authenticity, and work that matters - something we refer to as “no dumpster projects”. We seek to change culture - so that students understand the “so what?”, the “so how?” and the “so why?”, bolstered by transparency, mindfulness, deliberate choice- making, and metacognition.

After the go-to from the lovely folks at EdTechTeam Press, we met up in Maine to hash everything out with sharpies and index cards. We consolidated our theories and cherry picked the activities we would include in the catalog under the themes “Creating with Words”, “Creating with Images”, “Creating with the Body”, “Creating with Sounds”, “Creating with Stuff”, and “Creating with Social Media”. Most significantly, we formulated a particular lexicon and structure. For example, each activity includes a “target”, a “pathway” (which is basically a suggested lesson plan we encourage readers to remix at will), “takeaways”, “applications” (specific examples for selected disciplines), and “amplifications” (to adapt to the next level).

We’ve also integrated custom iconography to make the book even more accessible and have included handy-dandy reference charts so that readers can at a glance check to see what materials they might need for a particular activity or which activities have suggested applications for their subject area.

Icon for “pathway”, designed by Taylor Kaminsky 

While we wanted to be extremely practical in our approach, offering a sort of handbook that is both age, skill level, and content agnostic, we also wanted to share some of our deeper thinking about creativity. Following a heartfelt Foreword by our friend and mentor Howard Rheingold, the first three chapters offer some of our insights about how creativity works both in and out of the classroom. Readers will find a “Creativity Credo” (you can soon buy a poster too!) breaking down what we believe creativity to be, as well as a selection of pithy tips entitled “Crushing It With Creativity”. We’ve also curated a collection of recommended readings and the essential “stuff” (both digital and analog) we think everyone should have in their supply closet.

A Living Book: Building a Critical Creativity Community

We set out to spark others’ fires rather than claiming to have all the answers. An underlying goal of this book was to develop a community of critical creativity, in which teachers and students can share their work and any tweaks or remixes of our activities they’ve been inspired to do. We therefore assigned a unique hashtag to every one of the activities and we’ll be archiving and sharing those exemplars as they pop by our radar.

Readers can also share to our Facebook group or to Instagram or Twitter with the tags: #intentionthebook, #criticalcreativity or #rigorouswhimsy. Moreover, there’s a “slow chat” (meaning you can post asynchronously) on Twitter with the tag #intentionthebookchat founded by Kevin Day (@knowKMD) that has been expanded into a Flipgrid with blogging prompts.

Intention is not in color (though it does have some wonderful graphics by Dan’s former student Taylor Kaminsky, artist Meg Willing, and Amy). As a result, we encourage anyone who delves into the book to grab their favorite writing implement and go to town with doodles and annotations. In the first weeks since its debut, folks have enthusiastically shared their marginalia in various forms (we are digging the #booksnaps using Snapchat as well as the hand-drawn sketches).

By Kevin Day

By Bryan Mathers
Pic-Collage Annotation
#BookSnap (on Snapchat)

Looking Ahead… Dan and Amy have been at various conferences in the U.S., Mexico and Canada sharing the message and methods of Intention in interactive keynotes and hands-on workshops. Because this book is about thinking and making rather than “art”, anyone can feel successful participating in the activities - they are perfect for professional development with adult learners as much as they are suited to students.

Eylan Ezekial and Dai Barnes visualize with Lego at the London event

They can be adapted to different contexts and purposes, so whilst a student might use the “Oreo Challenge” to demonstrate understanding of a piece of literature a teacher in a faculty meeting might use it to articulate an issue he is having in the classroom or illustrate a pedagogical concept.

We look forward to developing more resource materials and learning and making opportunities for our Intention “family”, but most importantly eagerly anticipate getting feedback from our readers and having them share their experiences in critical creativity.

Unexpected!! Parenting Tips

Soon after Intention was released to Amazon, we were thrilled to see it reach #1 New Release in both Arts and Humanities and Language Arts teaching.

Why not pick up a copy and relax by the pool like this educator?

Ready for some Rigorous Whimsy? Get your copy today!

*nota bene: our “Rigorous Whimsy” icon is the Whimsicorn named “Prufrock”, after T.S. Elliot’s poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1920).

Amy Burvall
Learning and Creative Thinking Consultant
Co-author Intention: Critical Creativity in the Classroom
Twitter: @amyburvall

Dan Ryder
Educator, Improviser, Design Thinker
Co-author Intention: Critical Creativity in the Classroom
Twitter: @WickedDecent

Friday, July 14, 2017

Now a Google Certified Educator

After seeing droves of people flock the EdTechTeam booth at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, I finally decided to look into what might be getting so many people excited! When I learned that EdTechTeam was educating teachers to harness the power of tools that most of us already have access to, I started to get more interested.

I learned that it is possible to become a Certified Google Educator and thought, “I love to use Google tools for Education. I should take and ace this test right now to get my certification!” My ego was quickly deflated when I learned that the Google Certification test was 3 hours long and notoriously challenging.

I returned to the Google for Education online training center and got ready to learn whatever they had to teach. While I had experience with several Google Tools, the course opened my eyes and my mind to many new and interesting ways of using those tools that I hadn’t previously thought of. For instance, I’ve made multiple Google Sites, but the training helped me to see how the creation process of a Math Website can be vastly improved by making it a collaborative student effort. On the other hand, I’ve had many students fill out forms to collect information throughout the years, but I never thought to fill out my own forms to collect information quickly and efficiently. After consistently struggling with organization at the start of class for years, I will now use the Multiple Choice Grid option in Google Forms to quickly record student information related to Attendance, HW, and Participation. Finally, while I’m being honest, if a student told me he or she was being cyber-bullied, before this week, I would have had no idea how to help. Now, I totally have it in the bag!

The course was well organized and thorough, and when it was time to sit for the certification exam, it was a breeze, thanks to the Google for Education Trainer Center and EdTechTeam! I will definitely prepare for the level 2 and trainer certification soon!

Nicole Hamilton was born in England, raised in Jamaica, and moved to New York at the age of 18. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics at Vassar College and her Master of Arts in Secondary Mathematics Education at CCNY. Nicole started her teaching career as a seventh grade math teacher in a middle school in the Bronx, then continued her path in education as a teacher and tutor for the Princeton Review. In January 2006, Nicole started teaching mathematics in the Diploma Program at a private school in Manhattan. She is now Head of the Math Department and teaches math in the International Baccalaureate Program and online.

YouTube Channel:
Resource Website Made with Google Sites: Algebra II & Trig Resource Website
Social Media Twitter Handle: @nhamiltonmath

Choose your own Google Certification path and join our Webinar on 8/2! RSVP here for more info!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

5 Ways to Prep for the Next School Year

Cross-posted from

It’s summer, summer, summertime!

I hope that all of you have been enjoying your summer vacation. Mine feels like it just started and that the ending is right around the corner. Whenever summer vacation comes around, I know that I have to find ways to stay current and prepare for the upcoming school year. Below, I am sharing with you five ways that I will be preparing for the upcoming school year.

#1: Read for PD

I have always been a reader. On a regular year, it has not been uncommon for me to read 30-50 books. However, most of those books have been for fun. There’s nothing wrong with that but, over the last year, I have challenged myself to widen my horizons. Specifically, I have tried to read at least one professional development book per month over the last year. And…guess what? I did it! Yet…can I admit something? For the sake of transparency, I will admit that reading professional development books can be a challenge to me. Mostly because my mind is always going and I have a hard time sitting and slowing down. Even though it is hard to slow down or my schedule is busy, I have found that reading professional development books have challenged me to do more in my classroom, create better learning experiences for students, and grow as a leader. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, here are a few of my favorite books that I read this school year:

So, get your read on!

#2: Develop a PLN on Twitter

Okay, I know what you are thinking…”Is she really talking about Twitter again?” Yes – yes, I am. As I’ve mentioned before, I fell down the Twitter rabbit hole last September and I am a better educator because of it. Join Twitter – just do it. Start making connections, join some Twitter chats, and grow professionally. I have developed an amazing PLN this school year and I cannot even imagine where I would be, both personally and professionally, without them. I always have someone to collaborate with and bounce ideas off. They challenge me to grow and take chances.

If you’re interested in participating in some Twitter chats, I encourage you to check out 19 Education Twitter Chats Worth Your Time by ISTE. It gives you a great starting point for getting going with Twitter chats.

#3: Go to Conferences and Get Involved

If you have the opportunity this summer, I highly encourage you to attend a summit, edcamp, or any type of conference where you can learn and grow. Since I am very much into educational technology, I would recommend checking out the EdTechTeam summits and Bootcamps and the CUE Rockstar events. Even if these are sold out, I highly recommend that you try to make it to one of their events during the school year. Also, check out Edcamps which are free, participant-driven conferences for professional development. Or…Let’s say that you can’t find anything local. Why not host your own mini-conference and/or EdTech Bootcamp? We did this at my site during the school year and it was a great success. It’s something that could easily be done during the summer! Read more about it here. Finally, I encourage you to get involved with presenting and sharing resources. Did you know that you can attend many summits and events for free simply by applying to present? If you are accepted, you will usually receive a free registration. Not only will you get to practice your presenting skills but you will also develop relationships with other passionate educators.

#4: Blog and Reflect

Blogging is hard – but it is so good for you. One of my goals this year has been to blog once a week. Sometimes it is a challenge and I get major writer’s block. However, I have found that blogging is an excellent way to share and reflect on my teaching practices. In fact, it has become something that I love to do, even when it is difficult. For myself, I have my own domain, hosting through InMotion, and I use WordPress as my blogging platform. If this seems complicated, start out simple. Use something like Blogger or WordPress where they will manage everything on the back end for you. You will have a website URL such as “” but it is a free and easy way to get started. Then, set yourself a goal. How often do you want to blog to share and reflect? Once a month, once a week? It’s up to you! Just give it a try because I know that there are some amazing educators that have a lot to share with the world.

#5: Rest, rest, and rest!

Rest? What’s that?! One of my greatest weaknesses in life is that I am terrible with work-life balance. I have been very encouraged by some of my PLN to learn how to slow down and take a break. Honestly – I’m terrible at it. And, I think I’m not alone in this because I know many other educators that are just like me. However, it is so important to rest and let your brain restart. As an example, last Sunday I promised myself that I would not do any work. No blogging, no lesson planning, no Google Innovator project – nothing. Well, except for just a little bit of tweeting but it wasn’t work… My outcome? I was so rested on Monday morning. I was able to get a lot done on several projects because my brain had time to rest and restart. So, take some time for yourself. Read a book for fun. Go on vacation. Binge watch a TV show. Spend time with family. Just take some time to rest.

How are you preparing for the upcoming school year? I would love to hear your ideas for staying current in education but also taking a break. Share with us in the comments below!

Meagan Kelly
Math & AVID Teacher
Team Technology Leader
#GoogleET, #GoogleEI
Hesperia, California
Twitter: @meagan_e_kelly