The State of ISTE

State of ISTE

ISTE18 in Chicago was certainly an experience. I was lucky to attend again this year as media and so I looked through a different lens. My one and only goal was to amplify the work happening in the field by educators and those who support teachers through the use of technology.

On June 24th, Mr. Culatta (ISTE’s CEO) addressed the media group and gave an overview of the new ISTE Standards for Education Leaders (formerly the ISTE Standards for Administrators). Feedback and input was provided by 1300 educators and leaders from all 50 states and 36 countries.  These standards are intended to equip leaders to support teachers in how they implement technology in their classrooms. We all understand that if the head doesn’t model the expectations then its value can truly be lost as it trickles down. Equity, digital citizenship and professional growth were among some of the topics which the standards are based. There was a session offered at ISTE for those that wanted a deeper dive with their colleagues and peers. Download the complete list of those standards here.

TED LogoA new Ted Masterclass will be offered, free of charge, to ISTE members. This new partnership was also announced at ISTE. 3 out of 40 finalists were selected to feature their TedTalk during ISTE. I am proud to include Patricia Brown’s ( @msedtechie) talk here (notice the red carpet exclusive for TedTalk speakers). What a way to be empowered to tell those stories happening in the field and having a way for them to be amplified. You could be on the big stage at ISTE19 in Philadelphia next year.


General Motors

General Motors (GM) is also in on partnering with ISTE to help support teachers and students in their exploration and discovery with Artificial Intelligence (AI). 25 school districts from AZ, GA, CA, IL, MI, NJ, OR, VA, and WY have been piloting the work since late September 2017 and showcased their results in Chicago. The idea is that students can become creators of AI content that will help to solve some of the world’s social challenges.


On June 25th, ISTE U was launched in conjunction with education experts to offer a wealth of learning and knowledge in an online format centered around some hot topics in education today that may not have always been accessible. D2L has forged this partnership with ISTE using its Bright Space LMS to offer these services and launch approximately 12 courses ranging from Open Educational Resources (OER) and Digital Citizenship. Forward momentum is already happening to create additional courses  that can be developed and added to the platform to promote growth. For a complete listing of current courses and their start dates, click here.

ISTE CertificationFinally, think about putting all of this learning to good use by being recognized for the knowledge you have gained and the time you have spent. You can do this by becoming ISTE Certified. The program will happen in 2 phases which will include a 2 day face to face training with certified professionals and a 5 week online component. The total time invested is approximately 30 hours.  See the syllabus here. This program is open to teachers, educators, media specialists and leaders based on the ISTE standards and transformative pedagogy. Upon completion of the course, six months will be granted to gather and compile artifacts and reflections as evidence of learning to earn the certification. To learn more and stay in the know about this certification, put your name on the list.

These are some exciting initiatives and steps ahead for the organization and its members. Continue to remain connected onto the platform and communities and register for additional learning opportunities as they arise to transform your classroom and teaching and learning.

Scratching Below the Surface of GPS the Series

When attending conferences, especially large ones like ISTE, you have your plan of attack laid out (for the most part). You know the people you want to see, hangout with or the keynotes that will be featured. You have downloaded the conference app or schedule and tallied out the daily sessions you’ll attend. You even hope to make your way to the vendors’ or exhibitors’ hall in hopes of some highlighters, sharpies, pens, buttons, stickers, post-its, swag or cool giveaways. The thing you hate most is the salesman trying to sell you a presentation or product knowing good and well you have no purchasing power. When in buildings and conferences with teachers then….think like a teacher.

Before arriving in Chicago, I was made aware of a launch that would take place and was hired by World Changing along with some other educators to assist with the launch and have dynamic discourse with educators alike. We were never asked to market or sell a product, collect teacher’s names but simply have a conversation about how to help younger learners develop some life skills that ultimately would impact the greater community.

Now an influencer, could be described as someone that has the ability to lead others and convince them to follow. Although, I do not claim to be an influencer, I do recognize my strength on being able to huddle a crowd together and get them to listen and follow. This skill allowed me to formulate a team that could assist Cisco CSR (a subdivision of the larger corporate organization) with the launch of GPS the Series .

Oh boy! I know you are saying here comes another product but GPS the Series is a supplement to the curriculum not a replacement for it.

What I really liked about this series was what I could see at face value: multicultural teenage characters, the emphasis of real life talent and skills amplified as super powers, and real impact made by the youngest of citizens. As I took a deeper dive, my mind began to think about the Season 1 Trailer and its episodes on the Water Wells in Malawi (Africa) and how this could pair up nicely with a Biology, Chemistry or Engineering lesson units. In Season 2: The Problem, the issue of natural disasters has unfortunately become an all too common theme in the United States over the past several years. Lessons centered around population, habitats and ecosystems, economics, electricity and power, transportation, safety and survival plans, community and collaboration came to mind. What types of dialogue do you believe your students could engage in and how might you assess their understanding? Perhaps through academic language, the ability to apply it across subjects,  or through reading, listening and speaking.

GPS Navigation Bar

When navigating the site, you’ll see that Season 1 and 2 are each broken down into 7 episodes that run under 4 minutes each.  You can access it from the navigation icon on the top right of your screen (see image above). This is quick and easy because it allows you to integrate into class time as a bell ringer , dedicated station or even in a flipped model from home, if a device and internet are accessible. The episodes are followed by 2 sets of questions connected to the real world to help facilitate the dialogue in class or through another medium like FlipGrid.

Each episode is broken down in steps, almost similar to how you would facilitate students through their thinking.

Step 1: The Problem

Step 2 : Ideate Solutions

Step 3: Integrate Technology

Step 4: Think of a Business Plan (so it’s viable and sustainable)

Step 5: Test it out in an authentic way to measure and assess results and impact

Step 6: Celebrate wins ( both great or small)

A downloadable Teacher’s Guide (about 35 pages total) accompanies the full season. You can print specifically the pages you need for the episode you are watching. These are filled with additional resources you could use, questions, objectives, and a wealth of connections that are authentic and meaningful to the learner.

There are also storyboards and scripts that can be downloaded for those students that are great at visual storytelling or own artistic skills. Think of how to engage them better but also how you can help improve some literacy skills simultaneously.

All of these resources can be found in English directly on the site at but you can also use Google Translate to place the pdf into a language you and your students can understand.

Here is a quick video tutorial to show you how to translate documents into another language.

Think how you can transform your classroom and teaching this fall for the SY 2018-19 and impact students to problem solve, think critically and impact communities on a local, national or global scale. This program doesn’t cost you a thing to try and you know we all love FREE!

The Day Before ISTE18 : Badge Summit, Unconferences, and Teach Meets Hold it Down

The excitement and the buzz of ISTE18 is feverish, ironically the weather is cool.  The Blue Line Train is rolling, ride shares are moving, and people are teeming from square buildings, corners and walkways. This Saturday is perfect and it so happens to be the eve of ISTE in Chicago!

Claudio Zavala and I have both landed at O’Hare airport ( he from TX and I from Atlanta) and are filled with the excitement of the learning, sharing the stories of the goodness in education and connecting face to face with our PLN in the days ahead.

On this day, Columbia College was host site to Badge Summit where Noah Giesel is the organizer. The event space shoulders multiple floors and certainly embodies the spirit of innovation and collaboration. When you walked into the large assembly, you noticed a balance between men and women as well as varied shades of people—it was a beautiful mix! This event was so informative and planned out well.

The conversations and sessions centered around emblems and micro-credentialing used to signify a level of distinction in education and other industries.  Business and educational thought leaders alike are thinking of ways in which young people, building staff and employees can demonstrate mastery and it mean something across multiple spaces.

The conference keynote was Samuel Dyson, Deputy Director of the Chicago Learning Exchange. Learn more about him here  and watch briefly here.

The day was followed by many great 2018 Conference Schedule   .

One of these sessions was led by Jennifer Williams of Participate and friends on alternatives to Top Down PD. A design thinking challenge was presented around teacher led professional development for groups that are usually left out. Hear the teacher share outs here .

The big takeaways for me were that there are individuals within industries that want to be recognized in a certain capacity by their skills but also that want to know that this recognition has some reciprocity across the board, regions, and countries. Catch Sarah Thomas’ scope of a local community Chicago youth who spoke about understanding the value of badging here and here.

There were many ideas in the room on how to get started and scaled up to more complex thinking from a panelist of Moon Shot Thinkers. See that conversation here. Gamifying badging and personalizing them were popular sessions as well. Catch those scopes on Claudio’s Twitter feed or periscope channel.

Finally, bridging communities and organizations with young people will be vital to this growing community. To learn more about organizations supporting Chicago’s Youth, visit The Hive Chicago Network and individuals like Sana Jafri (@jafs31) .

We look forward to Badge Summit 2019 in Philadelphia but be sure to connect with Noah Giesel online to learn more about this awesome space and community of educators and those that support education.