Vegas for My Vegan and Vegetarian Friends

Hello friends..

As we get ready for AECT, I know there are lot of Vegans and Vegetarians in the organization.  While not everyone loves Vegas my husband and I love how he can eat so many places as a vegetarian. Vegas is a great place for foodies, especially for vegetarians.  So here are some suggestions from our Vegas Travels. Most will require an Uber or Lyft but most are worth that. here are our suggestions.

Las Vegas Strip
we don’t love the strip – and don’t spend much time there.  We know that the Gordon Ramsey burger place has impossible burgers etc. but there are better places in town to eat in our opinion.

Buffet and many choices at one place.
https://www.wynnlasvegas.com/dining
Bill Wynn the former owner of Wynn Resorts was a vegan.  So every restaurant including their buffet has vegetarian and vegan offerings. They are particularly sensitive to it. When Brian and I ate at the Buffet last year, they had a staff member walk around with him and discuss ingredients and choices with him. All other restaurants at Wynn have vegan and vegetarian offers.

Downtown Vegas – Fremont Street 
Old Vegas as it is sometimes known, is a great spot for vegetarians and vegans. Because its a revitalizing neighborhood due to the Zappos being located there (btw.. you can tour Zappos)  there are many new and smaller restaurants that are vegetarian, vegan, or with extended menus. There are cheaper options down here too, and if you want to gamble places like the El Cortez has lower tables.

Vegenation
https://vegenationlv.com/

Vegenation is by far my favorite Vegan food anywhere. I try to go there every time I am in Vegas.  They are a few blocks from Fremont Street. My favorite is Chicken Pot Pie Gnocchi. Servings are big, so you might want to plan to share plates.

Nacho Daddy
https://nachodaddy.com/
Nacho Daddy is a bar with great Mexican food. They have vegan options including cashew cheese. this is a great choice for someone who wants to drink or have food for all eating options.

Simply Pure
http://www.simplypurelv.com/
This is a very very small restaurant (I think like 4 or 6 seats) foud in  the downtown Container Mall. (Its a mall built by Zappos that is made of shipping containers). The food is really good and fresh. .but you probably would not love it with a large group. However there are other restaurants around.

 

Near the Airport

Modern Vegan
https://www.tmvrestaurants.com

If you are just coming in town, you might take a stopover near the UNLV campus to go to the Modern Vegan. They are used to people showing up with luggage. The sizes are huge and they use a lot of fake meets (like morningstar etc.. ) but cook them in a way that I don’t think I can do at home.

China Town
Like many larger cities Las Vegas has a Chinese community but it also has two really great vegan options.

Veggie House
https://www.veggiehouserestaurant.com/#/
We have eaten here several times.  If I did not read the signs that said, don’t disrespect our restaurant by bringing in meat, I might not know they were Vegan.  We love the General Tso Chicken. We also tried a great pumpkin dish that reminded me the smooth flavor of moo goo gai pan.

Cafe No Fur
https://www.cafenofur.com/
We have not eaten here yet but spotted it because it is in the same parking lot of Veggie House. Its menu looks interesting and we may try it during the AECT conference.

 

You will need a car, but might be worth it.. 

Tacoterian
http://www.tacotarianlv.com/
This is quote a way out of the city but if you are going to Mount Charleston or Ikea.  It is a relatively small restaurant but it has a really interesting selection of vegan tacos.  If you are are yelp user they have free drink if you check in.  We tried several different tacos they are small but really unique I enjoyed the mole one.

Want more options  – This site https://vegansbaby.com/dine/  offers a lot of ideas but we noticed it was a little outdated so verify they are still open before you pay for the uber.

 

 

 

InstructureCon:

Gosh, yesterday was a busy day..  I am actually documenting a lot of what is happening and I am learning through Twitter but Let me recap.

Morning started with me sitting at a table with professors from Wayne State College in Nebraska (there are so many cornhuskers here!) I ended up doing some impromptu demos of Nearpod at the table.. I actually love when I share some of what I know with colleagues.

The opening session with Dan Heath was great and continued on the theme that all students matter and we should be focusing on those students who need our attention and make them feel included and important.  And let me just say, that the Canvas Community is a good example of that..  people are great about making everyone . feel included at this conference.. Which is not typical of all conferences.

They also shared some product updates that look good some analytics, Everyone Can Code resources for Apple, and new student views.  What I am hearing from people that have a longer history with Canvas than we do that many of these changes were directly requested from the Users.  it was interesting to me how even the non Techies showed that Instructure is an Agile (SCRUM) workplace, they value people and users stories and innovate based on user requests and needs.

I attended a session on LTI advantage the tool that is being updated to link apps directly into Canvas. One complaint I have from students is that I ask them go bunches of different places. I hate how the App is killed when LTI integration occurs which results in a poor IOS experience. The panel made me think this might be solved.

 

I spent my lunch tweeting with the CanvasEduChat.  I will tell you, nothing lets you find the tweeters in the house like a midconference twitter chat. I made some more twitter friends and even met one at the party at night.

The second keynote of the day recognized amazing teachers that were using the platform and how they were reaching out to students and helping to build the canvas community through peer to peer support and modeling.

I spent my afternoon in the Partner hall and to be honest it was more fruitful than the formal sessions that I attended. I spoke with a few vendors and got some ideas of new projects as we grow our programs.  I also spent time at the User Services Station and in the Developer Hut..  It really helped me to solve a few user problems I am having. It also helped me to better understand the different functionalities and priorities between browser base and app based.  It has given me a lot to think about for my course in Fall.  It is a good and bad thing how robust Canvas is.. There are too many choices . and too many ways to do things.  However, the mobile team was great at helping me understand video updates that are coming and I am excited to use.

Now the conference has a 90 minute break after last session and the . Party at the Aquarium of the pacific. This was particularly dangerous because to get the aquarium you had to walk through an outlet mall.  Suffices to say, I will be checking a bag.

The Party at the aquarium was really fun.. I was kind of done and tired for the day but I was reinvigorated by a great DJ, relaxing fish, and meeting some new people.

Overall a great day, I am looking forward . to the final day and thinking about how I will attack the day!

Day 2 in Long Beach – PreCon at InstructureCon!

What a fun day.. My apple watch approves.. Exercise ring from walking to lunch and 2x move ring..

I was fortunate to attend a preconference session by @RachelAnnEdtech  about creating engaging blended learning. There were several things I liked about the session.

  1. It was very movement oriented and not too sit and get.
  2. It was very reflective.. I tweeted out to former students during the session with . – Do I do this? Questions? and Could I do better?
  3. We explored different technologies you could use.. it was not super canvas focused – ie.. some of the tools were LTI integrated others were not.
  4. It felt good to know most of the tools and be able to help my fellow students learn.
  5. It has the opportunity badge with @DigitalPromise which makes me excited and I want to support credentialing in education for Professional Learning.

After the session, I was invited to a special lunch with some really influential people.  In fact, I did not totally realize how influential until I followed on twitter . later.  Love that I am getting to meet people out of my lane at InstructureCon.

I spent the afternoon wandering the vendor fair with a new from LA Community College.  We met walking back from lunch. He is new to the edtech and was there for the day to attend a PreCon. He asked he could tag along which was fun.. because he was really new and I got to explain why we use what we use.  I had really meaningful conversations with Zoom (fixed my link! Yeah!) , not worried about my camera, talked to some accessibility people, had really meaningful conversation about changing my badges to Badgr and met some new apps that I was not familiar with..

I like how instructurecon does the vendors.  They are there all day..  and they schedule meals and events with them..  it is not like skip a session to talk to them, it is easy to fit it into the day.

So then I went to the Keynote.. Malcolm Gladwell talked about how the world is changing and education needs to change with it. He talked about how we can shift the Paradigm. Gladwell . is a masterful storyteller. (I may have to follow his podcast now).  I really like when EdTech conferences pick speakers that acknowledge that we are about education . not just ed tech.  He asked some good questions about following up with the students that are feel marginalized or left behind in our classes. We will only grow stronger if we view ourselves as team and strengthen our weakest members.  It really made me think about how its easy to focus on the students truckin’ along in our courses, but not delving deeper into those that struggle.

After that we had the opening party.. It was pretty full with long lines.. (3000 attendees I hear). I found a quiet corner and ended up having a cross country conversation (Idaho, Nebraska and Oklahoma) about the use of badges and Badgr in Class.  Made me feel good about what I have planned.

In addition, I ran into people I used to work with in 2000 at my BS and MS alma mater Northwest Missouri State University and it really made me think about how long I have been working in computer enhanced learning and how I need to push myself to be doing more and going further!

Overall, so far a really high quality conference were I am able to get stuff done (talk to vendors, try out some things). While I am working I am planning out my fall classes… I have google doc running with ideas.

 

Day one in Long Beach #instcon Tourist Day

So I was fortunately to get a direct flight from OKC to LAX but I had leave at 6am to arrive at 7:15 in LA.

Since i did not have anything scheduled until 8am . on Tuesday, I took the opportunity to be a tourist.

 

I started with a . hearty breakfast at the Breakfast Bar. (near the convention center) Then I went to see the Queen Mary. The haunted tour was a bust but the historical was really interesting. Also was the 4D movie and the first hand accounts of how the Queen Mary contributed to the War Effort.   When in Long Beach.. At the 4-D movie I ran into my first other #instcon attendee from Phoenix..

After the Queen Mary I took the advice of every Lyft Driver I asked and went to the Attic.. which is known for its Flaming Cheeto Mac and Cheese.  (and know there is a good coupon on Yelp for free fries).

Then to be honest, I saw all the fun stuff people were tweeting about but I had been up since 4am CST and it was 8pm PST – so . I was out..

Now feeling refreshed i am ready to learn in my PreCon Session on making engaging courses.

Going to InstructureCon

So I am sitting here with my dog getting ready to go to Instructure Con.. and I am trying to think about my goals.  i rarely get to go to conferences any more where my main goal is to learn. so I am excited about that.

So here are my goals, as of now..

  • have some meaningful conversations with K12 users to better know how they are using Canvas..
    • Is it compatible with our use?
    • how are they scaffolding learning for students?
    • How are they managing deadlines and  developing independent learners.
    • How should I be preparing my future teachers to better use Canvas.
  • Up my Canvas game..
    • I hope to learn some new skills.  I am tired of my course set up.. and I have a new collaborator this fall.. It’s a good time to change.
    • Learn more about plugins.
    • Explore Badgr again.. I am currently using Badgelist but I would love to see more integration.
  • Make sure to use both the App and the web browser so I can compare student experiences.

I need to begin blogging again and use this as my opportunity..  So I will try  to take notes each night.

Town Hall on Facebook Community Oversight Board

I had the privilege of attending a town hall meeting hosted by the OU Law School Center for International Business and Human Rights   http://www.law.ou.edu/IBHRCenter. 

They had a session describing how Facebook is seeking to form review panels of facebook users to help set their community standards. They will likely have a website that will allow every day users to report problems that they think should be heard from the board.

There are a few things that are interesting. 

  • Board members will only work part time – which seems crazy with 2 billion users – there are going to be a lot of people who want to be heard by the board.
  • Facebook is going to pay board members out of a trust in order to keep them impartial and not paid by facebook.
  • There is a lot of concern about the power of Facebook staff to drive the selection of cases to be heard.
  • Each group will work like a review panel and will release statements kind of like support and dissent documents like they do in the supreme court. These will be published.
  • Facebook expects the board to both agree and disagree with decisions made by the algorithm and their staff.  They feel that the board will provide them with oversight to be able to create a safe community.  They expect the board to have full independent decision making power.
  • Facebook community standards are already based on human rights values. They broke them down into:
    • Free expression
    • Safety
    • Equity
  • They wonder if these standards will expand after the boards convene and hear cases.

I find this really interesting, and I am cautiously watching to see what happens with it..  It is a big task and big company, with lots of people whose ability to make money is tied to their platform.  So the ramifications of whatever process they have is going to have world wide implications.

My questions/ ponderings:

For me.. The board is going to be made up of every day people.  I thought, what if I were on this board and I questioned:

  • Would I have enough skills to be able to make decisions?
  • Would I be able to write effectively to do a brief about a case?
  • How would someone put their own beliefs and biases away to make a fair and just decision?
  • Much like law, is this board creating precedent? How would that be enforced?
  • How does this translate to a world wide company – ie.. people asked if something is illegal in one country would they not deal with it in this board? Different countries have different laws?
  • how do you really create a board that is as diverse as facebook users?
  • Finally, if you are a facebook users or even non users – you have all these connections to the tool and platform – what guidelines would have to be in place to make the best candidates?  Ie.. one person said.. no one should be a facebook advertiser – I have done facebook ads once for work and I have stuff on marketplace – am i out? or do I have perspective I bring to the table as having used a variety of facebook tools?

Overall this is a huge undertaking.  As a Facebook user and in my role as a technology educator it is important to participate in the process and make ourselves aware of what is going. Many other tech companies take the lead from facebook, what they do may be the standard.  In another view, Facebook if it is truly a community, how do you participate in other communities? How do you contribute your input to your neighborhood? Church? Club? Organization?

 

Learn More:

if you want to know more: please read their draft of their process and current questions : https://fbnewsroomus.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/draft-charter-oversight-board-for-content-decisions-2.pdf

Make sure you are aware of the current community standards: https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards/  And also look at how they are currently enforcing the community standards. https://transparency.facebook.com/community-standards-enforcement 

Why I am in love in Thunkable this week

In my undergraduate technology course, we finally (after years of talking about it) separated the secondary majors (social studies, language arts, foreign language, science and math) from the early childhood and elementary majors.  We still teach the ISTE standards for Educators but this semester they are taking on a new look in each of the classes.. and this week was one of the most radical..

So here is the sequence  – First we talk about digital equity, then we use Code.org to talk about coding and tie to digital equity and then we usually do swift playgrounds.

Well the secondary evaluations, said that coding was not relevant to them and it was too kiddie and I could see that with my approach.  The Everyone Can Code curriculum from Apple eventually gets to App development, it is much more involved (have to get x-code etc..)

What I really wanted to do was teach them how to make an app.. a real product with some teeth but I can’t do that in a single 2 hour and 45 minute class..   But wait I can.. by using Thunkable..

First a shoutout to my PLN (professional learning network) for turning me on to this.. Thunkable is a web-based block based coding tool that lets you test out content on your phone or iPad and also program using a blockly language.

So first we did Code.org Express Course and then we went to Thunkable. We used three videos from the 2017 Hour of Code playlist https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB89L9PPGIrwy4Tfi1x9eu0LccH5Hsb3V  to get my students started and then spent two hours in class.

In those two hours we had students create a Shakespearean Insult Generator (and compliment),  A variety of quizzes,  an app to explain differential equations, and apps to explain a variety of topics. Most groups got it done during 2 hours in class.. but they have until next week to polish and perfect,

So here are the key takeaways..

  1. I was able to model learning for my students.  I only started learning this next week and while my MS in School Computer Studies from Northwest Missouri State helps it is plenty rusty.
  2. We had great conversation about abstraction and details – so we did avoid some higher end topics like lists and arrays but we got to talk about brute force programming.
  3. Students had a sense of pride for making something they could show.
  4. Several told me that the code.org did not seem relevant until they did thunkable – because they saw what it created..
  5. After this first foray into teaching app development – I will likely go into it deeper and focus more on design.
  6. This activity also helped me to refine and voice my views on appropriateness of block programming to a colleague. I explained that if it is your first foray into programming, then block is appropriate, but if we truly achieve CS integration throughout the K12 universe then we need to move away from it. it needs to grow in skill and opportunity.  ie..  by middle school students should be at a point where they need to do “real code” because the blocks will limit them.

I would highly recommend using Thunkable.. it allowed my students to make a real app – and have something to show..  Now I have them open to programming – the door is open..

Nice Thunking!

 

my 7th Anniversary on Twitter

So the other day, I got a message.. Congratulations this is your Twitter Versary you have been on twitter for 7 years!  I actually was on twitter longer than 7 years but 7 years is when I created my account that I ended up using professionally and regularly.

Its funny because I was reflection on this just the other day when I presented about twitter for OU IT’s Academic Technology Expo and I talked about my Thoughts on Twitter.

Normally in spring semesters I teach Integrating Technology into Teaching EIPT 5513 which is a graduate version of the undergraduate course.  The course is different each time, partially because of my own ADD but also because technology is always changing.  Each class I try to pick to a technology that I don’t know well and use it with my students.   In January 2012, I had chosen Twitter.

Twitter had been around for a while, and I remember thinking it was a mistake because so many of students had twitter accounts.  However, it was just starting to be used with teachers in Oklahoma.  The people in that class were also memorable.. I know for sure that Zuki Flores, Chase Alexander, and Bekah Hightower were in there.. and it is quite possible that Adam Forester was too.   Several years later when I hit 4000 tweets, I had tagged some of them and Chase had remembered my reaction.  “I am just not really a big fan”  Oh how times have changed!

 

Twitter is now my go to social media. Perhaps for its brevity, all of the educators that are part of it,  the fast nature of it..  So I first started tweeting in 2012.. 

So today I have tweeted nearly 20,000 times.  I have nearly 4500 followers.

 

What has changed?

Well there was the apple thing in Fall 2012 and the start of the iPad program and especially becoming and ADE in 2015.. that got me more hits. It was running research through twitter for recruitment and participating in countless twitter chats with educator. Overall, Twitter has changed my career – it has made me more accessible to educators, my students and our alumni. It has changed my own professional learning and allowed me to connect with others. It has helped me to become an advocate for things I care about and to reach new audiences.

7 years seems like forever, but honestly, its been a good 7 years and I hope that year 8  I report I have crossed the 5000 mark!  Wish me luck.

 

Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education

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