So you are attending FETC – Make the most of it.

I have some friends attending FETC for the first time, so I made a few recommendations for them.  Feel free to share these if you like them too.

Link to FETC Agenda – they are suggesting Tracks this year and they are color coded



Basic tips for FETC or other big tech conferences. 

  1. Sometimes the “cool sessions” fill up so it is not a bad idea to have a Plan B for each time.  
    1. If you want to really go to to something, pick a session before nearby so you are not last to get there. 
    2. There is no shame in taking a break and skipping a session to take it all in.. make notes, and be in position for the session that you really want. 
  2. Tech conferences are can be overwhelming – take pictures. I take pictures of badges for contact people, business cards and brochures. Then I can leave them at the table, toss them, or save room in your luggage. 
  3. Your devices (phones and iPads) are great friends.. Take a video – review it later… 
  4. Talk to other attendees.. Ask questions what are great sessions you went to? What is the coolest thing you learned? Write down the sessions titles. Often they have online materials for you to access.
  5. Divide and conquer .. Make plans to attend different sessions but meet up for dinner or coffee to compare notes.. The discussion of what you saw might be the most useful time spent and will help you build your team. 
  6. Be on Twitter – The hashtag for twitter is #FETC – watch it for sessions and other opportunities. Tweet your questions and benefit from other attendees. 
  7. Finally try to plan ahead – take time each night to reflect on what you did and make a plan for the next day. This is a great thing to do on the Plane at the front end but be flexible to change it as your needs change. 
  8. Pat yourself on the back if you go to a session that is routine for you. For me, some ed tech sessions helps me know that I am doing the right things.. It helps me feel confident in my everyday choices. 
  9. Finally, don’t get swayed by the big names.. Big names were once teachers too -if someone is presenting at the conference they have something to contribute – even if you never heard of them. 
  10. Don’t miss sessions like vendor classrooms. For example, I know the Apple Pop Up classroom and vendor playgrounds are often filled with really skilled teachers sharing great classroom examples. 

There is no shame in taking a break to take it all in..(I know I said it twice).. Tech conferences are overwhelming – admit you need some quiet time before it is too late!  

I also made them a notetaking template:

Copy this Google Doc – Name it your own and then share it with people back home.. I do this at conferences where we only have money to send a few team members. They can even ask questions..  (Google docs can act like a chat room – ask your middle school students!) .

(Have each person create a copy of this sheet and share with whomever they like)
So the steps:
Click on the link
Go to File Menu
Make a Copy
n the top right corner, click Share.
Click “Get shareable link” in the top right of the “Share with others” box.
To choose whether a person can view, comment, or edit the file, click the Down arrow next to “Anyone with the link.”
Then copy that link and share it in your team.


Have a great time at FETC!

Creativity Tools Available in Native IOS

AECT Presentation – Tuesday October 22nd – Las Vegas Nevada.

In Apple speak, one might refer to programs that come free with your phone or your iPad as Native IOS Apps.  From days gone by, these apps might have been called the iWork suite.

However, they have refreshed these apps in the last year to be more creativity focused and published a series of books to encourage more creativity.

Apple has published a series called Everyone Can Create (you can easily find it in the Apple Bookstore with “Everyone Can Create”) or by following the link below.

These books provide lesson plans and activities that encourage student creativity. There are so many projects here but these are some of my favorites:

  • Using Photo App and Live Photos to make an animated gif.
  • Using Keynote to create animated drawings to share as video or animated gifs.
  • Using Keynote to create animated GIFs with video!
  • Using Numbers as an open canvas – Delete the grid – and you can design without the boundaries of a page.
  • Using Photo App with Burst and animating individual pictures to add detail.
  • Using iMovie to Green Screen but I still prefer DoinkGreenScreen App.
  • Using Pages to publish your own book including multimedia and scaffolding student learning and creativity.

Some other great resources found for free in the Apple Bookstore 


The Creatives by Kurt Klynen, Camilia Gaglioli and Rebecca Hare







The Why Use Series by Simon Pile



The Little Orange Book




Why are these such great resources for teaching preservice teachers and instructional design? 

  • Cost – Free
  • Allow for easy prototyping
  • Allow for drawing
  • Allow for publication
  • Offers opportunities for students to scaffold lessons and invite in creative content like videos and drawings.
  • Portability – its a creative studio in your hands.


Creating eBooks (EPubs) Using Pages

There are great resources for creating Books using pages. 

Create your own materials for class.

Create content to share amongst other teachers.

Publish to the Apple Store to publish your or student work.

Three important things: 

Make sure to use a Book Template.

Export as EPUB to have the book experience.

When sharing often things like Google Classroom don’t know what to do with it until downloaded.


Here are some books to guide you:

Pages for Mac Guide

Pages for IOS Guide

Planning template

Pages Template to Share



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.
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 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
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
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

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
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
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.. 

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  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.





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.

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