ISTE Teacher Standards

Educational technology is not about the device, software, or platform.

Teaching using educational technology is at its root about making connections with students, colleagues, and parents as human beings in the digital age.

ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) has developed rigorous standards for teachers, administrators, instructional coaches, and students. None of the standards talk about proficiency using word processing or spreadsheets, coding or programming. The standards are about inspiring, promoting, facilitating, designing & developing, modeling and engaging using technology.

The five standards for teachers are:

  1. Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity
  2. Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments
  3. Model digital age work and learning
  4. Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility
  5. Engage in professional growth and leadership

Notice that 21st Century Skills are not mentioned anywhere in ISTE standards. It is well into the 17th year of the 21st Century. 21st Century Skills are just skills. 21st Century Learning is just learning. My colleagues laugh when I say this, probably because I say it too often.

Where are your strengths according to the ISTE Teacher Standards? Where do you see needing to focus your efforts for growth?

Synergyse/G Suite Training

Synergyse Google apps training was such an awesome product that Google acquired it and is available natively directly within G Suite as well as via video in your browser.

G Suite Training (aka Synergyse) is a Chrome extension that gives very clear and interactive lessons while you use Google apps. After you install G Suite Training extension, when you’re using any of the G Suite apps (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, etc.) simply click on the training icon. You’ll be presented with a menu that corresponds to the particular app you’re using. G Suite Training is also available via their portal where you can watch the training videos.

Training icon in your extensions:

Training icon in G Suite: 

G Suite Training portal:


Recap- Reflecting on Learning

Reflecting on learning is vital to increasing deep and critical thinking. With Recap, you create and assign your students a question about their learning that day (or perhaps at the end of a lesson/unit of study.)

They record a video (15 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 or 2 minutes) answering the question.

Recap is available on iOS, Android, and via browser. Student responses are collected and collated in the cloud and viewable through the teacher dashboard. Student responses can be shared with parents and other teachers.

Recap Quick Start from Swivl on Vimeo.


Creating a class is simple! Just sign up at using a Google address (gmail is fine too…) You can choose to have students log in with an email address (recommended) or use a class code. Using a class code allows students to log in without an email, but runs the risk of having students use another students log in. Using the class code allows for fast student switching using shared devices or for younger students who might not remember email and passwords.

Once you’ve added your students, click the green Add Recap button to enter your first question. Give your question a title, put what you want answered, then click next.

Specify the duration of the recap, 30 seconds to two minutes. You can also add a self-evaluation of understanding of the concept. Enter a due date and send the recap to your students. You can also send your recap to more than one class at a time.

When students log in, they’ll see their recaps on their dashboard. They’ll click Respond now. They’ll need to allow Recap to use the microphone and camera on their device.


Last, they need to hit that red submit button in the lower right hand corner. This is where most students go awry, because once they see their trophy, they think they’re done. Not the most intuitive of interfaces, but I think Recap will fix things with their UX once they have enough feedback.

Google Earth- now web based!

Just in time for Earth Day, Google Earth is now web based and runs on almost any device with the Chrome browser.

  • Search for more
  • Learn with Knowledge Cards
  • Orbit the world in 3D
  • Take the helm with Voyager to choose your adventure
  • Feel lucky and let Google Earth take you somewhere in the world

Imagine the possibilities for your classroom and broaden your students’ horizons!

EdTechTeam G-Suite Tips Posters

EdTechTeam, provider of amazing edtech summits, has created a slew of poster tips for G Suite and educational technology resources. Their newest poster is Music Tips and features links to sites and apps such as Audio Cutter, Glogster, and Flat- a music scores and guitar tabs editor.

You can download or add these files to your own Google Drive and print them out in your choice of sizes.

EdTechTeam G Suite Tips Poster folder

Seesaw- Student Driven Digital Portfolios

Seesaw provides a safe and robust way to compile your students’ digital and analog work into online portfolios.

Features include importing photos, videos, text, drawings, PDFs, and even links. Most popular apps will import content directly.

Seesaw is always free to educators, with additional paid features starting at $120/year. However, the basic “forever free” version is full of useful features including the ability to have two teachers with 10 classes- awesome for co-teachers and secondary education.

With the blogging feature, students will engage with an authentic audience of parents, families, classmates. Students can comment on their peers’ work generating real feedback. Teachers control who sees which work, and all comments are approved beforehand. A public blog can be set up, expanding student work on a global scale using Seesaw Connected Blogs.

Students can use the recordable whiteboard feature to capture the learning process and explain how they came to a solution or reflect on their learning.

Using QR codes for younger students allows for quick access- no memorizing complicated log in sequences. Just a flash of their code on the web cam and they’re in.

Paid features include assessment and private notes and posts that are not available to parents.

** Updated- 4/19/2017: Seesaw now integrates with G Suite (Google Apps for Education.)

Seesaw has a great help section, including PD in Your PJs. Check out this great webinar on Seesaw and Sketchnotes with the amazing Sylvia Duckworth.




Do you have trouble relaxing? Is it difficult to focus on being productive? Are you distracted by coworkers’ chatter, clacking on keyboards, popping of gum?

Check out Noisli where you can mix different sounds to create your optimal ambient sound mix to improve productivity or relaxation. You can mix and match ambient sounds such as falling rain, crackling fire, forest sounds, coffee shop background noise, lapping water, and a variety of white noise static.

Download iOS app, Chrome Web Store, or from Google Play, or enjoy right in your browser.

Caine’s Arcade 2017

Back in 2012, film maker Nirvan Mullick stumbled across a hidden gem in Boyle Heights. Caine Monroy, 9 years old, built a cardboard arcade at his father’s used parts storefront. Nirvan was his first customer.

Nirvan’s short film about a flash-mob to make Caine’s day by bringing hundreds of customers to his arcade went on to generate millions of views. Further fundraising efforts secured $240,000+ for Caine’s college education and led to the establishment of a non-profit, Imagination Foundation.

Caine’s Earth Day Challenge is scheduled to culminate April 22, 2017. The challenge is to recycle cardboard into new creations that address environmental themes and challenges.

What could you create? Use #EarthDayCC to connect with other cardboard challengers!

Google CS First

Google’s CS First program is an engaging way to get kids coding and exploring computer science. Teachers can form clubs for students starting in Grade 4, with no computer science background needed. The curriculum is completely free and Google will even send printed materials so you don’t have to use your precious copies! All of the concepts use video tutorials to guide students through the theme-based units.

Steps to starting a CS First club:

  1. Meet the minimum requirements with students, computers & internet connection, and headphones.
  2. Set up the club online.
  3. Google sends materials and provides curriculum.
  4. You host the club at a school, library, church, or at home.

Tracking your students’ progress is easy and the CS First dashboard allows you to manage the club. Students will be motivated by “pride pages” where they share their achievements.

Google can also connect you with volunteers from the community who can allocate 10 hours for a month (as well as pass a background check.)

If you are interested in advocating for Google’s CS First program, you can email schools/teachers, send a flyer to a principal, or spread the word using social media.

Themes include Storytelling, Fashion & Design, Sports, Music & Sound, Game Design, and Animation.

 Check out a sample lesson.

Google also provides educator (teacher, parent, after school leader) online training.

Nine of ten parents want their children to learn computer science, but only four of ten schools actually provide computer science curriculum to their students. You can help bring computer science into schools and even to your church, after school program, scouting program, or home school.