The Way ISTE Should Be Attended #iste17 #iste18

How do you think we build a future? I think we build it by investing in our kids and investing in education.
~Elizabeth Warren

Everyone has now returned from the beautiful chaos that is ISTE. I’ve been to ISTE several times now, and it still feels just as massive as the first time. However, this year was different in one big way. How was it different you ask? No, it wasn’t a product or app that I saw, it wasn’t a vendor party, and it wasn’t a particular presenter (way too many great ones to list anyway).

This is the first time I’ve attended ISTE as part of a group from my school district. In the past, I’ve always gone as just me; I attended on my own. This year, however, I was fortunate enough to attend with 10 other fantastic educators from my district. Our Director of Curriculum, one of our instructional technology coaches, 6 high school teachers, and 2 middle school teachers. This is a really great group with a great desire to be better for kids and a desire to help their colleagues be better too. It was such a pleasure to help them experience their first ISTE and learn from so many of my excellent friends. I was able to hear about their excitement first hand after listening to my friend Jennie give a standing ovation-worthy keynote, I watched them post selfies with other presenters that I knew they’d love learning from. I felt like a proud parent! 🙂

I just kept thinking, “Every person that attends ISTE should get to attend this way.”. I know many do, but I also know many that wish they could. That’s not to say attending solo cannot be impactful; just want to make sure that’s clear. And yes, many have a tribe of people that they only see at ISTE each year that they’ve become connected to through Twitter, blogging, and other connected means. Those connections are important too and a huge part of who I am. I love getting to see so many amazing friends that live all over the world…it’s the nicest feeling ever!

However, if you work for a school or a district and you have the means to take a group, please do it. Take your district leaders, school leaders, and certainly your teachers. As many as you can take. Plan now for 2018. It’s worth the investment I promise.

ISTE 2018 in Chicago

Get Your Google “To Go” with Google Takeout

Another school year has ended (for some) or is getting close to ending. At the end of every school year, there is always a finality for certain students and staff. Seniors are graduating, teachers are retiring or changing to another district, or just leaving the profession for various reasons. Either way, if you’re district uses G Suite for Education, people are going to have files in Google Drive, emails in Gmail, blogs using Blogger, etc. that they want to make sure and take with them. Nobody wants to lose important stuff!

Google Takeout is a handy way to save any or all parts of your Google account to take to a new school Google account or move to a personal Google account. For this post, I’m going to walk through the steps with Google Drive as the example.

When you arrive at the Google Takeout homepage, you will see listed all of the Google products you can download your data from. In the screenshot below, I’ve only selected Google Drive.

screenshot of Google Takeout home page

If you click the small options arrow next to the green check mark, you’ll get some more options specific to downloading your Google Drive files such as whether you want your entire Google Drive or just a particular folder in your Google Drive and some options for how you want each file type to be converted. The next screen grab shows this with the default options:

In certain situations, I have suggested to teachers that everything they want to be sure and keep (sometimes they’re only concerned about keeping very specific files) should be moved to a new folder (maybe call it Takeout) and then only select that particular folder once they begin the Takeout process.

The last step will give you some options for the type of archive file and its size. I would recommend leaving this set to a zip file with a maximum size of 2 gigabytes. Note: If your Google Drive files are over the max file size, they will automatically be separated out into multiple zip files so don’t fret if this happens. You can then choose how you want to receive your archive. I left mine set to “send download link via email”.

So, what happens once you receive the email that your archive is ready? You’ll click the link in your email and it will take you straight away to downloading your archive:

Hit the download button and you’re off and running saving your archive to your computer. Remember that once your files hit that maximum size they will automatically be chunked out into separate zip files. Once you have them saved to your computer you can do a couple different things:

  1. Leave the zip files as is and keep them saved to a computer, flash drive, or store them in Google Drive in another Google account.
  2. Unzip (extract) the files to be able to open them and edit them. Once the files are unzipped they can then easily be uploaded into Drive in another Google account (school or personal).

Either way, you’ve now successfully saved an archive of your Drive or any other G Suite apps! Enjoy your Takeout and have a great summer!

Parents as #Edtech Partners

A partnership with parents is critical to all success in our schools and classrooms; technology or not. There’s always a barrage of initiatives and events; academic, extracurricular, athletic, or otherwise. Looking specifically through the lens of technology, however, we must pay careful attention to the partnerships we’re hopefully already forming with our parents. With all the 1:1 implementations, STEM, apps, devices, etc. we’re giving kids access to, we must constantly be assessing where parents are at in terms of a foundational understanding of what this means for their child(ren).

I have said many times in talks and workshops I’ve given that I believe

https://www.flickr.com/people/medfieldtech/

parents are the most underserved group in education. Is it solely a school district’s job to educate parents about technology, social media, digital citizenship, etc.? Of course not. As a parent myself, I still need to first and foremost be a diligent parent and make time to check my daughter’s phone, ask lots of question, and embarrass her in public as often as possible. 🙂 However, the more access to the world and devices we provide students to have that access, we must create not only learning opportunities for staff, but for the parents as well.

So, what are some ways we can do this? I have seen some very successful parent learning nights around technology, STEM, and digital citizenship. Guess what? The best ones weren’t led by teachers, they were led by kids! Yes, elementary students too. Put the planning in students’ hands. Ask them to come up with the agenda of what their parents need to know about Chromebooks, iPads, G Suite, Chrome, this app, that app, etc. Have the students share about what good online collaboration looks like, what it means to be a good digital citizen, and show examples of the amazing things technology allows them to create and learn about.

This is all called being proactive instead of reactive about #edtech. Create learning opportunities for parents before something negative happens. It makes those difficult conversations (about negative topics) a bit easier and students have more ownership of technology’s place in teaching and learning.