On Episode 439 of the Waves of Tech, we are featuring conversations from the CUE conference in Palm Springs where technology and education were center stage. CUE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community of connected educators focused on improving education for all learners and is the conference is a must go-to for educators. We talked with Kristina Ishmael (open educational resources expert), Hans Tullman (STEAM technology specialist), Matt Markstone (educator and former instructional technology coordinator), and Adrienne White (Director of Marketing for Ozobot). Topics range from media and information literacy, equity in the classroom, benefits of shifting away from traditional textbooks, importance of educator professional development, creating better citizens through instruction, and various technology in education talking points.
Conversations with CUE Presenters, Attendees, and Exhibitors
Kristina Ishmael – CUE Presenter & Attendee (2:00-30:35)
Kristina is Senior Project Manager of the Learning Technologies Project in New America’s Education Policy program. She is a K-12 open education specialist, leading school districts and educators through the transition to open education resources (known as OERs) to transform teaching and learning. OERs are educational materials that can be legally and freely used, copied, adapted, and shared. OERs increase equity because they can be freely accessed by all students, keep content relevant, and save money compared to traditional textbooks. Follow Kristina on Twitter and Instagram, and visit her website.
From the posh and swanky Press room at CUE, Kristina shares her journey from the classroom to the Department of Education and now into a policy think and action tank in Washington D.C. She shares to movement from shifting away from textbooks into a world of openly licensed and free educational resources as a way of creating equity and access for all students. Teacher empowerment is important to grow the OER community (since there is no marketing budget) as this is enhanced through professional development for educators where teachers are the instructors and paid for such. We also dive into the myth of budget savings in technology, the challenges and benefits of OER, why rural school districts should be a main focus moving forward, the quality of curriculum, and sustainability of such educational resources. Kristina shares amazing stories of her work and her passion for OER is clearly on display. Find more about OER on New America’s website. And finally, we dive into her session from CUE where she discussed information and media literacy geared toward identifying fact from fiction. Student not only read the news today but now they actually create the news.
Hans Tullman – CUE Presenter & Attendee (30:40-45:00)
Hans is an educator, consultant, and coach with a passion for innovation in education and digital marketing. He has a steady track record of innovative collaborations that combine his strong sense of educational leadership and innovative creativity. Currently, he is a STEAM Technology Specialist at Castle Elementary in Bakersfield, CA and a Google Certified Educator & Trainer. He is also the Kern CUE Director bringing professional development to educators in Kern County and networking educators across school districts. Be sure to follow Hans on Twitter and visit his website.
We dive into a number of topics – his work in the classroom, how students are tangibly benefiting from technology, some of the inherent challenges of technology, using Google tools, preparing students with an exposure to numerous industries, and how creating efficiency in the classroom is a real thing. Hans’ mantra this year is to get students creating in order to share their learning, a powerful and meaningful focus. During his time at CUE, he took to stage twice presenting with other experts – 1) The Six Elements of Student Engagement for Adult Learning & 2) Chrome My Gosh 2.0, both of which were well received.
Matt Markstone – CUE Attendee (45:00-57:30)
Matt is based in Santa Maria, California. Matt is a dedicated husband, educator, father, and podcaster. He is host of the Southampton Dellivery podcast and a frequent guest on other shows. He previously worked for three years as an Instructional Technology Coordinator at his high school. He has since transitioned back into the classroom teaching American History. Follow Matt on Twitter, Instagram, and visit his website.
During our conversation, Matt shares his thoughts on the transition, the CUE conference, and the state of technology in education. Now that he is back in the classroom, he is primarily focused on bringing back information, tools, and resources for his students that will empower them to be better students and better citizens. We focus on the growing concerns of students searching for information, security concerns of youth, and how parents can be involved. Matt really sees his job as create students that are literate in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and on the internet.
Ozobot – CUE Exhibitor (57:30-1:09:30)
Adrienne White is Director of Marketing for Ozobot – robots to create, code, and connect with. Ozobot’s ‘2 Ways to Code’ is the only way to start coding screen-free for ages 6 and up. OzoBockly, powered by Google’s Blockly, provides drag and drop blocks of code to teach your bot new tricks. OzoBlockly gives you the power to fully control your Ozobot’s movement and behavior. Powered by Google’s Blockly, OzoBlockly offers five modes from Pre-Reader with icon-based blocks to Master with support for many low-level functions and advanced programming concepts. Ozobot Classroom offers a teacher dashboard so as to track a student’s progress and provide additional lesson plans for advancing students. But the work doesn’t stop them. Ozobot continues to work with educators in the classroom, taking recommendations to improve the process, and provide free webinars for professional development for all educators to attend. My sincere apologies for mispronouncing “O”zobot in the interview. Find Ozobot on Twitter, Instagram, and visit their website.
Various Exhibitors at CUE (1:09:30)
Kajeet partners with over 800 districts around the nation to provide disadvantaged students with safe internet access, power Wi-Fi enabled school buses, ensure peace of mind with wireless Internet failover, and easily manage district-issued devices. Kajeet wants kids to be agile with technology, to be empowered and safe, and to help them respond with confidence to what’s happening in their world. Not incidentally, we want parents, educators and guardians to be involved too. Being part of the mobile world is not just fun, it’s a responsibility – a shared responsibility.
Kiddom builds technology enabling teachers and learners to unlock their full potential. Teachers are often constrained by limited access to quality tools or mandated use of ineffective tools that do not meet their students’ needs. We believe technology should be utilized to close the achievement gap and level the playing field for all students. Kiddom bridges the gap between curriculum management and learning management systems. A special thank you to Tricia Akerman for sharing the details of Kiddom with me.
Explore Learning provide online simulations that power inquiry and understanding. Gizmos are interactive math and science simulations for grades 3 through 12. Gizmos are interactive math and science simulations for grades 3-12. Over 400 Gizmos aligned to the latest standards help educators bring powerful new learning experiences to the classroom and gives everyone something to graph, measure, and compare. That’s hundreds of opportunities where students don’t just act like scientists and mathematicians…they are scientists and mathematicians.
Promethean provides award winning technologies and solutions for the classroom. Their goal is to reimagine and reinvent educational technology solutions to create the dynamic environments, communities, and tools that empower teachers and motivate students to learn. Promethean provides interactive displays, lesson delivery software, accessories, and professional services. Thank you Fran for showing me the ins and outs of your products.
Jamf has been helping schools around the globe (since 2002) successfully inventory, deploy, and secure Apple devices with ease. Long before Apple became the world’s most valuable brand, Jamf Pro provided IT staff with the ability to automate tasks associated with device deployment and management while empowering users to be more creative, productive, and happier. You may be interested in their podcast too – Jamf After Dark. Thanks for Si Cook and the Jamf crew for spending a few moments with me.
NetRef is a smarter school internet management tool and eliminates internet distractions in the classroom. Developed with teachers, NetRef offers easy, one-touch controls that empower educators to control students’ web use. NetRef provides timeframes of when students have gone off task, allows teachers to lock down and whitelist web activity, and offers detailed reporting on Internet usage by student, class or school. The patent-pending approach ensures no individual app downloads are needed. NetRef is truly device independent — it works for all iOS, Android, Chromebook, Windows and other Internet-connected devices. Thanks to Harrison for spending the time to show my the ropes of NetRef.
Kyte Learning is classroom technology simplified, inspiring teachers to embrace technology in the classroom. Kyte asks, “Are you an educator trying to stay afloat in a sea of changing technology?” They are here to help you learn about all things EdTech. Learn at your own pace, earn as you learn, find what works, and make it yours. Thank you Asher for the in-depth talk about Kyte.
Mackin has provided library and classroom materials for grades PK-12 for 35 years. Working with over 18,000 publishers and an age-appropriate database of nearly 3 million print titles and more than 2 million digital titles, Mackin supplies print books, eBooks, read-alongs, audiobooks, databases, videos and more, along with digital content management and custom collection analysis services.
Aeries software is the benchmark in delivering industry leading student data management system software while providing unequaled customer service and innovative solutions for K-12 education. Thank you Sonia for taking the time to chat with.
Flocabulary helps students thrive by bringing the K-12 curriculum to life. Their rappers, artists and educators develop videos and activities that are captivating, relevant and research-based. By engaging students in academically rigorous content, their platform supports teachers in their daily instruction and helps students master standards, build vocabulary and develop 21st century skills.