Catching Up - Chromebooks, Sony Education, Presenting, and ISTE 2013

Hard to believe that it's been a few months since the last post. During a recent offline plane ride, I took the opportunity to jot down a quick catch-up on my edtech life. Year of the Chromebook What started as an initial idea and prototype piece of hardware has now developed into one of the fastest growing contributors to the edtech world. Just as quickly as the iPad was annointed as a potential game-changer, the Chromebook has swooped in with its no frills, browser-based, low maintenance and easily managed iterations (the most popular being the budget friendly Samsung Series 3). It is hard to argue with the Chromebook as it manages to accomplish much of what is requested both from the IT department and classroom teachers. The devices are easy to deploy and manage, and they reduce the time needed to get students up and running. Could this be the machine that pushes more schools into the 1:1 playground and gets computers into the hands of all of our students? For our school, we have tried a variety of options, ranging from PC laptops to iPads to Chromebooks. We will continue to support what teachers feel works best with their classes, but as evidenced by the moves of several schools in our neighboring districts, the 1:1 movement may just feature the little laptop that few thought would ever gain traction without all of those bells and whistles.

Sony Education Ambassador Earlier in the summer, I learned that I was accepted as a member of the second cohort of educators to be named Sony Education Ambassadors. Aside from receiving an amazing gift (the ridiculously light Sony Experia Z), I am looking forward to making contributions to the Sony Edu team, and I have already been impressed with the vibrant spirit found in the growing community. I look forward to improving the teaching profession through this opportunity to connect with an amazing and dedicated group of individuals, as well as a company whose products I have always admired ever since my first Sony Walkman. The Presenter Life The end of the school year unfortunately did not mean the immediate beginning of summer vacation for this author. Instead, I headed straight to Milwaukee for the 2nd Annual Google Apps Summit at Wisconsin Lutheran College. A five-day immersive experience, the Summit allowed teachers and administrators the opportunity to dive deep into Google Apps, earn graduate credits, and explore the beautiful city of Milwaukee, all with a new and shiny Samsung Chromebook. I had a blast working with close to 90 educators on sessions including Google Drive, Forms, Sheets, Scripts, Sites, and Groups. I also was honored to deliver the opening keynote for Wednesday, and this happened to take place at the Discovery World Museum. The presentation was an updated version of one that I also gave at the Commission on Technology conference at the Moody Bible Institute earlier in the year.
ISTE 2013
Worth 10,000 points in the ISTE Scavenger Hunt!
I was fortunate to attend ISTE once again this year, this time as part of a six member team sent by our school district. I presented on Chrome Apps at the Google Booth, as well as Hapara’s Teacher Dashboard. As a team, we divided and conquered the thick program book, each taking away long lists and pages of ideas. Needless to say, we are all excited to come home, share our new knowledge with others, and we hope to increase our contributions to the edtech community locally and globally. One immediate application of something we enjoyed at ISTE was the creation of an edtech blog that will be a collaborative effort from our teachers. Hope this newborn grows and continues to helps us move forward as a school. Check out the beginning here. Aside from the blog above, I’ll also work on a self-instituted summer blogging assignment. My goal is to document all of the tools that I use from my favorite company in Mountain View, CA. Similar to ESPN’s 30-for-30 series, I will blog about my own 30-for-30 journey with Google Apps and Services. Stay tuned - the adventure begins later this summer.

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