#ISTE17 – EdTech Insights: Teacher Hacks

This session takes place in the middle of the Expo Hall, which is really odd. It’s loud and distracting. They are organizing the session into three parts, Hacks for 12 Years & Under, Hacks for 13 Years & Up and Hacks for Any Age.

Vicki Davis starts it out with hacks for 12 and under. Her number one suggestion is Seesaw for elementary digital portfolios. She also talked about using IKEA bins, lining them with soundproofing, and putting an iPad inside it. You can then have students put their heads in the bins and you have a soundproof recording studio.

Blair Pircon says she uses Screencastify alot, but thinks about other uses besides her profession. For example, use it to go over a rubric. This would let kids not only review the rubric itself, but also the additional information you give when explaining it.

Aaron Sams says to use a chore app that maybe designed for parents to help manage their own kids in the classroom. Use it to manage who does what chore in the room. DIY.org is a great tool to find projects for things like 20-time, Genius Hour or a Maker Space. Lastly, he adds that he uses a “poor man’s 3D printer”, a hot glue gun. You can make all kinds of shapes with a hot glue gun. Love this idea!

For the upper kids, Vicki talks about ClassCraft, a gamification app. You can use it to add a gaming element to the class, and as students earn “points”, they can get new outfits or items. I will definitely have to look into this further.

Walter Duncan says that QuickKey is apparently a great tool for taking paper-assessment data and digitizing it. Will need to look into it.

Trello is the best hack that Blair mentioned for tracking to-do lists and processes. It can also be used to organize a roadmap, such as what is going to be done in a class period or a unit. I like the idea of making a kind of macro to-do list where they mark off the to-do’s for a whole unit as you complete them, but each item may require multiple activities to be considered “done.”

Aaron stressed that the LMS app must be on their phone. Students can easily take pictures of anything you give them and upload to the LMS App. Even in a 1:1 environment, students should have the app on the phone week one.

He also says that as a hack for all ages, give yourself 24 hours a year to disconnect. His argument is that we need at least one day a year to completely disconnect. Wake up, turn your phone off, and don’t turn it on until you wake up the following morning. Go outside, explore nature, experience the world. I like this idea in theory, but his premise is that it “gives you your brain back.” I disagree with that part. I think it is a good idea to increase mindfulness and make you more present in the world. Probably a great idea for relationships with family and loved ones as well. However, your phone is part of your extended brain I’m starting to believe. More on that later probably.