It was another fabulous day at ISTE! ISTE is so large that it is beneficial to have a plan and set a goal when you attend the conference. My plan was to attend as may sessions that I could that approached educational technology. I was there in the mindset of a classroom teacher more than as a music educator. My goal was to take away as much as info as I could that would be beneficial to our school.

In hindsight, my plan and goal were a bit too overarching and I should have had more been more specific in my intentions. I did come away with a lot of info, more edtech knowledge, plenty of new resources, and new ideas for the classroom. With that in mind, it was a very successful conference. Here are some highlights from Tuesday.

Chromebook App Hub

Kate Perry showcased the new Chromebook App Hub. This hub was developed because there was no place to find apps. Google formed a group of educators, admin, and more and they spoke of wanting apps, lesson ideas, resources, tips, and information on where to find apps for the classroom. Instead of focusing on just lesson plans, they focused on lesson ideas. They felt that since every classroom has a variety of needs, focusing on lesson ideas is more beneficial for educators.


When you click on “Ideas”, you can filter by category, age range, subject, and learning goal. Once you apply the filters, you find ideas from educators that includes two apps for the idea, tips, explanation of idea, and how to differentiate the ideas for students who are ELL or students of special needs. It also includes information about the app, such as the deelopers, the cost, their website, etc. Finally, when you use the filters, you can choose one to all categories.

Kate noted that the app developers had to strengthen their privacy in order to be included. When you click on the info of an app, it will give you information about the app, the company, the privacy policies, the developers, webinars about the app, and the lesson ideas that include them.

Design Thinking, Lesson Planning, and PD

Douglas Konopelko spoke about the Design Thinking (DT) model, which is Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test (EDIPT). His school chose design thinking because it is an intuitive process to use when teaching any subject. Their professional development focused on student-centered lesson planning as they teachers had the end goal of creating a lesson as a part of a large unit.

Much like our school did, the teachers in his school began their PD with creating a group of four educators. Each group had to create something from the materials in a box. From there, they put the DT process into play and began creating lessons that were cross curriculum. For example, one group created an Escape Room lesson.

EDIPT Process


  • Empathize – They had to answer questions about who their students are.
  • D-Design: They designed a lesson plan or unit.
  • I-Ideate – This was the portion where they asked questions pertaining to the lesson and the answers were framed with, “yes and…” to help develop the lesson.
  • P – Prototype: They created physical models of their lessons.
  • T-Test: They build out the lesson, deliver it to the class, and after you test it, you make revisions. In this case, they invited other teachers to watch the lesson. At the end, they collaborated to reflect and ask questions of each other. They were given one hour at the end of professional development to talk to each other about the process.

When asked about the educational technology they used in the DT process, he answered that they implemented technology such as GSuite, YouTube, GoPro, and Padlet. They felt it was important to use tools that the students should know, not the ones that might be the biggest and best. This was a great point as the teachers were showing that they know their students well, which is the E in the Design Thinking process for this project. I found that this particular point about using technology that the students should know because they use it currently, as well as mixing in technology that is on the cutting edge, is something I will explore more this year.

Our school had an extensive year-long training in the Design Thinking process. I feel that this training has made me reflect more on my teaching, in particular to empathy (walking in the shoes of my students) and student-centered activities. It is a valuable process and one that is beneficial for all teachers to experience, no matter the subject area that they teach. Though the process might seem intuitive in the field of music education, it still helps you reflect on your teaching and gives you some insight into how you might improve your teaching to reach all students, as opposed to the ones who gravitate towards music.

Future of the Classroom Panel

This panel included Chris Everett, Mike Reading, Rosen McQuillan, and Marcie Hebert. These four presenters on the panel work with edtech companies that work with teachers; however, some of them were teachers for a good part of their careers. They were based in the States or New Zealand. Marcie was one of my ISTE trainers from this past weekend for the beginning of my ISTE Certification and it was great to see her on this panel advocating the ISTE standards and more.

The panel focused on the topic of student-led learning. In this picture, you can see where this is happening.

They were asked about the foundational pieces that are most important in creating a student-led environment, and most of the panel cited support from the administration and parents, as well as time. Another answer was to understand the culture of your students because you must connect and involve your community. Finally, there must be trust. The relationships between the teacher and students, the teachers and admin, and the teachers and parents, must have trust.

When asked about how to begin a student-led classroom, the advice was given to start small. In addition, find colleagues or a PLN to support you. The question came up about the teacher that is reluctant, for whatever reason, and does not want to change their teaching style. The answers that were given focused on support. Those that fear change need support and coaching, especially when the process becomes challenging.

These answers reminded me of how well this was implemented in our school this year. Our school started the BrainSpace, a space where Design Thinking is implemented in a student-led classroom. The classroom teachers paired up with IT and assisted IT this first year as they taught the lessons that followed the ISTE Standards for Students. This coming year, the classroom teachers will take the lead in developing and implementing the projects for the BrainSpace that correlates with their curriculum.


I love the ISTE Expo! It is very large. Almost too large; however, if you focus on what you are looking for, you will find it valuable in numerous ways. The Expo has gurus of edtech that you can immediately ask questions and get advice. You can audition items. For example, I played with the newest specdrums because we just ordered them and the rep was able to show me every aspect of them. You can try out hardware (I love the QBall-the microphone inside the ball) and apps. Finally, you can meet those educators in your online PLNs in person!

I met one of my heroes: Angela from Seesaw!

I am exhausted mentally and physically, but an so happy that the school and my family supported my venture to ISTE! Tomorrow’s post is about the Arts/Technology Playground!

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