31 May 2017

#ISTE17 Here I Come! - #30DayProject - Day 08

The official #ISTE17 Conference logo!
I just finished my 9th year in education and it was another great one. It was very different from my previous eight years, but I've really enjoyed the change of pace and the challenge of working with more than my individual class, grade level, and school. One thing has been pretty consistent with most of those years of teaching, my desire to attend educational conferences to learn and grow in my profession and meet other amazing educators. I've had the absolute pleasure to attend many conferences in my time as an educator, but there is one conference that I have tried and tried to attend for many years that has always found a way to elude me, sometimes at the last minute. That conference is none other than one of the largest EdTech conferences around, the big kahuna, ISTE!

I'm so excited to be a speaker
at #ISTE17!
Well, the wait is coming to an end this summer because I am so excited to announce that I will FINALLY be attending #ISTE17 in San Antonio, Texas and I couldn't be more excited! But wait, there's more because not only am I attending #ISTE17 but I will also be speaking at #ISTE17 as an Ignite Speaker on Sunday, June 25th @ 1:30pm (CDT)! I am so excited for this opportunity to not only attend #ISTE17 but also get to share the stage with some amazing educators who I consider friends, even though we haven't even met in person yet! If you attend the session you will hear from amazing people like Jaime Donally (who I have been blessed to meet IRL and she's even more amazing than she is online folks!), Kerry Gallagher, Tara Linney, Holly Clark, and ten other amazing educators who I don't know yet but am excited to meet and learn with while there! I am over the moon excited, and also more than a little nervous, to be speaking at #ISTE17 but it's something that I LOVE to do, share my passion for education with anyone who will listen, or read.

The #PassTheScopeEDU crew will be at #ISTE17!
So how is this all possible that I'll be able to attend ISTE this year where I haven't been able to do so in the past? Part of the answer is I was selected to be an Emerging Edublogger, which grants me access to the conference for $FREE as a credentialed member of the media. I will be writing blog posts before, during and after my ISTE experience as well as working with my #PassTheScopeEDU crew to make sure the entire event is properly live streamed via Periscope. I plan to scope alongside my #PTSEDU crew of Stacy Lovdahl (also an Emerging Edublogger for #ISTE17), Brian Smith, Toutoule Ntoya, Dan Kreiness, and hopefully Valerie Lewis, the founder, and visionary of #PassTheScopeEDU along with many others who are still figuring out their ISTE schedules. And in order to get ourselves ready for #ISTE17, Brian and I will be scoping the 2017 Badge Summit happening on Saturday, June 24th also in San Antonio, TX. So if you don't already have plans for the Saturday before #ISTE17, you should consider checking out Badge Summit and come say Hi! while you're at it.

I understand there are TONS of amazing things to do at ISTE more than the awesome learning from sessions and I hope to enjoy as many of them as possible. And as such, I've already RSVP'd to many great events so I can try to get a full view of just why all my friends keep talking about the great that is ISTE! So if you have any suggestions for a newbie, please feel free to reach out to me and let me know what I should be attending and be doing to make my ISTE experience the best. The best place to find me online is Twitter at @lars3eb or you can leave a comment here on this post or via the contact form on the Contact Page. I promise to respond to your comment and look forward to seeing what y'all think I should do at #ISTE17.

Be sure to keep an eye out for more #ISTE17 posts that will be appearing here before, during, and after the conference. They will all be tagged with the #ISTE17 tag so they should be nice and easy to find.


30 May 2017

Get Back Up - #30DayProject - Day 07

Source: Pixabay.com
I've had a really challenging weekend and don't know what to say. I start this #30DayProject because I want to spend more time writing and reflecting on my educational practice and I drop the ball after 6 days! In my defense, I've had some family issues that have moved the focus of my time to things that are more pressing. But, even though I missed 3 days I won't miss my numbering and I'll continue on in the process. I will get back up on the horse and return to regular posts.

I can't help but think about a great book I bought but haven't had the time to read yet called The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed * by Jessica Lahey. Side note, I tweeted about my desire to read The Gift of Failure in a recent #UTedChat and Jessica Lahey not only thanked me in the chat, she also sent me a handwritten thank you card! I couldn't believe it! A handwritten thank you card from a New York Time's Best Selling author! I was shocked! It was so nice of her to do that.

Image Source
Anyway, back to the book. I bought the book in order to participate in a Twitter Book Chat but life hit me so hard I wasn't able to read it with the group. I've always been a big proponent for looking at failure in a positive light because I believe that is where we learn the most, from our shortcomings and when we mess up. In fact, I always told First Attempt In Learning or Frequent Attempts In Learning. Regardless of how you look at it, I believe the only way you truly "fail" at something is when you quit trying and stop. For this reason, I will continue forward with my #30DayProject even though I "failed" by missing 3 days. I will continue working and hopefully learning as I go.
my students that Fail was nothing more than an acronym for

Thanks for sticking around!

* Yes this is an affiliate link to Amazon and if you purchase the book from this link I will receive a very small kickback for referring you. If you don't like referral links, here is a non-referral link to the same book.

27 May 2017

Riding A Bike - #30DayProject - Day 06

Source: Pixaby.com
I did something today that I haven't done in a long time, rode a bike. Now I didn't go on a long ride but I still got on a bike, two different bikes in fact, and rode them down the street and back to my house. I couldn't tell you the last time I rode a bike and yet I was able to hop on the bikes today and got riding without any issues at all.

Why is this important and why should it appear on an educational site? It's important for the same reason I can recite my multiplication facts up to 12 without much issues. It's important for the same reason I can recite some of the memorized poems and scriptures of my youth. It's important because when something is truly learned and, dare I say "mastered," it stays with you for life. I'm not a huge proponent of making/asking kids to memorize things unless they are needed on a regular basis because we now live in a world where it's so easy to pull a computer out of your pocket and search on Google for the answer. And yet, there are some things I believe are that necessary to memorize in order to make life easier for kids. Those things, like multiplication facts, scriptures, helpful songs/poems that help you learn, are worthwhile enough that kids still need to use some of their biological hard drive space to house it permanently and not just in the short-term cache. And even more than asking students to memorize things, if we can help them learn something so deeply that it is able to be stored on their permanent hard drive then we are actually making a difference in their lives.

Source: Pixabay.com
A couple days ago I had something amazing happen, my first-year students graduated high school. I never thought I'd see that day and yet, I didn't actually see it. My students graduated and I didn't even try to attend the event. Why not? I don't know, I just didn't realize it was happening that night because I wasn't invited to attend. I didn't attend because I was spending time with my family and visiting different doctors for medical check-ups. I didn't attend because life happened. And it was okay because I know those students learned things in my class and in their subsequent classes that will stick with them and allow them to be better people. They learned things to allow them to one day, sitting in a meeting at work, sitting in a class at University, sitting at home with their own kids, get back on their proverbial bike and get riding because they have that information permanently stored in their minds. And on that day, they'll think back to when they first learned the thing they're thinking about and realize it wasn't so bad to have worked hard in school. And they may even remember their 4th grade teacher and his crazy ways.

Congrats Class of 2017! You did it, you graduated High School and get to move on to the rest of your life. Best of luck!

p.s. It's technically still Saturday here in Utah so I haven't missed a day yet! But I'm just barely making it.

26 May 2017

Life, Challenges, and Hope - #30DayProject - Day 05

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Sometimes life hands you a crummy situation and you have to decide how you want to deal with it. Do you want to be angry and frustrated because you didn't get what you wanted or do you face life head-on and take what comes your way with strength and determination to make the best of it? I don't know where I am right now as I deal with health concerns for my Mom and the very real fact that her days may be numbered here on this Earth. I want to be 100% optimistic about her healing and getting back to full health, but I have to be realistic and know that there is a very real chance she won't be around to see her grandchildren graduate high school or get married. I love my mother very much and am really struggling with her health issues but I know that God is real and He loves me and my family and has a plan for our lives. And yet, knowing that doesn't make it any easier for me to deal with the pain and heartache I've been dealing with recently.

Visiting Voxer HQ in 2016
I love the Voxer app because it allows me to connect with people on a deeper level than Twitter or Facebook because you can hear the other person's voice and there's something about that idea that pushes you past the basics of communication. As with many tech tools, I tend to be involved in LOTS of different Voxer groups of all kinds. One of those groups has helped me deal with my Mom's health issues and concerns and it's not your normal group. The group is one where we share more spiritual messages and ideas than anything else. In fact, the group was created as a place where we could gather to share our thoughts and beliefs about God and His ways. I am very grateful for my spiritual family in my Voxer group because no matter what my concern is, I know they care about me and are willing to pray for me as well as with me. And that's a beautiful thing. Earlier I shared a link to a Mormon.org article because I am in fact a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or what many call a Mormon. And while I think I'm the only Mormon in my religious Voxer group, it doesn't matter because we all lift each other up and help each other out and I find that to be beautiful.

I don't really know why I'm writing this all here on an EdTech website other than I feel this is something that should belong here in my Babble category because not everything I do is Education or Technology and if you want to get to know the real me then you need to know more than the EdTech side. All educators are more than their classroom, teaching assignment, or extra roles (which are often many) and yet we don't always allow ourselves to show that online. As I've already said here, this site is about me and the way I see education and life. This is life for me right now and I felt the need to share it with y'all.


25 May 2017

Talks and Panels on Video - #30DayProject - Day 04

DigCitSummit @ Twitter HQ

I have had some pretty amazing things happen in the last couple of years and I just realized I haven't posted about a couple of them here. Back in October 2016 I was invited to attend the DigCitSummit @ Twitter Headquarters and speak on a panel of amazing educators on the topic of How Can We Think Outside The Box Regarding Teaching and Spreading Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy? It was a lot of fun and I learned a ton from my fellow panelists as well as the rest of the presenters and other panels that day. Below is the video from that panel discussion for your viewing pleasure, so please enjoy.

And yes, that was in fact my lovely wife calling me to check in and see how the conference was going. Ad yes, I forgot to turn my computer on Do Not Disturb mode so everyone was able to hear the ringing. But at least we were able to laugh it off and show that it's not the end of the world when something like that happens during your presentation. The other member of the panel included the following:

Panel Moderator: Alan Katzman (@SocialAssurity)
Panelists: Jaime Donally (@jaimedonally
Derek Larson (@lars3eb
Casper Pieters (@DCSOOCed
Chris Priebe (@chrispriebe
Erin Reilly (@ebreilly
Kristin Ziemke (@Kristinziemke)

UCET 2017

The other cool thing I wanted to share with you is the video footage of my first ever Ignite Talk that I gave at the UCET 2017 Conference at the University of Utah on March 17, 2017. The topic was Connecting Globally and Locally as Educators and it was the most challenging talk I've ever given. If you're not familiar with the Ignite Talk format it is 20 slides that automatically change every 15 seconds for a total of a 5-minute presentation! It was exhilarating and challenging and I can't wait for my chance to do another one. The filming started a little late so you actually miss my first two slides, but I think you still end up with a pretty good idea of how the talk turned out.

Have you had a presentation, talk, or panel recorded before? How did you feel when you finally found out it was available to watch online? I know I was both nervous and excited to watch. I hope you enjoy the above videos. Let me know your thoughts and how you think I could improve my method. 

Thanks for reading and watching!

24 May 2017

Remembering #Picademy - #30DayProject - Day 03

Image Source: Raspberry Pi
Its been over a year since I took part in #Picademy training at the Computer History Museum in Mountain
View, CA but I haven't forgotten the amazing opportunity it was and the fact that it pushed me to a different level of computer skills. It was at those two days of training that I really got into computer programing and coding and that I learned I wanted to do more with it. While I haven't been able to do as much programming as I wanted to do, I have taken lots of time to help get students interested in looking at computer programming and coding more. In fact, I recently ran into a parent of a student who told me her daughter has decided she wants to study computers and has gotten involved with some coding and programming at her school this last year and was on the school's First LEGO League team. Talk about a great present for a nerdy teacher, it was better than Christmas!

Sadly, I didn't document my experience as well as I wanted to do, but my pal Peter Strawn wrote up an awesome blogpost reflecting on the weekend. He also included some excellent pics and videos of the Show & Tell as well as another video created by the awesome Brian Briggs. You should totally go read Peter's great reflection on the weekend and get excited for #Picademy.

The amazing team at the Raspberry Pi foundation have decided to continue the push for more #Picademy training opportunities and there's still time to apply for the last two groups of classes being offered here in the good 'ol US of A. The final two locations (hopefully just for now) are Ann Arbor, MI and Boise, ID. Now, there will be two different sessions at each of the two locations, so below is a table I borrowed from the official #Picademy website, which you should probably be sure to check out ASAP so you can apply for these events.


Providence, RIJohnson & Wales UniversityJune 5 – 6April 13
Providence, RIJohnson & Wales UniversityJune 8 – 9April 13
Irvine, CAUniversity of California, IrvineJune 19 – 20April 27
Irvine, CAUniversity of California, IrvineJune 22 – 23April 27
Ann Arbor, MIAnn Arbor District LibraryJuly 24 – 25June 2
Ann Arbor, MIAnn Arbor District LibraryJuly 27 – 28June 2
Boise, IDJUMPAugust 7 – 8June 16
Boise, IDJUMPAugust 10 – 11June 16

After you complete the 2-day
training you become a
Raspberry Pi Certified Educator!
Again, if you notice, there are two dates you need to keep in mind if you are interested in applying for either of the last two locations, June 2nd and June 16th. These are the deadlines for applying, which you should all be considering doing RIGHT NOW! In fact, why are you even still here reading this amazing site? Get over to the #Picademy website and click on the Apply Here link to get started! Be sure to tell them @lars3eb sent you so they know I'm still doing my part to help the #Picademy program grow! You actually have a place to list it at the end of the application. 

Again, you can't ask for a better 2-days of professional development by a better group of trainers. I really enjoyed my time working with the Raspberry Pi crew at the Computer History Museum and would LOVE to have the chance to join them again sometime in the future. Although it'd be fun to be on the teaching side of the training this time around. All they need to do is get in touch and I'd make it happen because it was that awesome! 

If you end up applying for one of the MI or ID sessions, be sure to let me know. Oh, and best of luck to y'all in your applications!

23 May 2017

Trusted Time Management Tips for Every Kind of Educator -->

As I was going through my Pocket account, I came across an article that was shared with me over a year ago that I believe still holds some great information for educators, even as we head into Summer Break.  The title of the article was Trusted Time Management Tips for Every Kind of Educator and it had a lot of great ideas for better managing your time for peak effectiveness. One bit especially stood out to me since I still struggle with it in my current position, getting organized.
It’s hard to beat structure when you juggle as much as a teacher does in a day. Trying to focus or find important things in a mountain of mess can be stressful. Organization and order have a calming effect on mind and body. The idea here is to create as little of that as possible. 
There’s plenty that you can’t control as an educator. This, you can control.
This article contains four great areas educators can focus on to better manage their time along with multiple tips within each area. Go ahead and take some time to read through this excellent article by Lee Crocket and see if any of the ideas shared can help you take back some precious time!

(Shared by Lee Crockett (@leecrockett) via @bar_zie)

New Challenge - #30DayProject - Day 02

You may have noticed that I have recently started writing a little more here on the site, hopefully that's a good thing. I was inspired by my good pal Stacey Lindes (@iRunTech) as I watched her write more on her site iRunTech.me and try to live a more Writerly Life. It was actually Stacey who convinced me to start the #100DayProject with her last year. I was actually pretty happy I did it because I didn't think I could write every day for 100 days, which I didn't quite achieve, but it was still a lot of fun trying.

I've decided I wanted to try being more deliberate with my reflection process now that I'm coming up on a whole year with my new job and feel like I'm starting to understand what I'm doing. I've missed writing so regularly and hope that by taking part in another challenge it will help me jump start the process. While I want to do another challenge, I don't think I want to commit to another #100DayProject so I'm going to start a little slower and try for a #30DayProject instead and then see where it takes me from there. So like with the #100DayProject, I plan to have the same rules in place to help me along the way of this #30DayProject.

  1. I will have at least 1 post per day on EdTechBabble.net tagged with #30DayProject. I may do more than one, but I have to post at least once per day.
  2. In order to make that happen, you may see all sorts of different things posted here besides just education or technology topics, but that's where the "babble" part of the title comes into play. 
  3. In order for it to be considered a "post" it has to have at least 1 paragraph of text that is my own writing, not just a quick picture or quote. I want to see if I can improve my writing by taking part in this challenge and this is a good way to keep me honest. You may see some link-posts where I am sending you to check out another great article from some other site, but I will still include at least a paragraph of my own commentary with the link. A great example of a link post is when I wrote about Making Space on iOS where I linked to an article that Bradley Chambers wrote about how to move things around to make more space on an iOS device. It was a great article and I still stand by the ideas he shared. 
I hope you all will consider joining in the crazy fun of making something for 30 days to see what you can come up with. And if you do, please be sure to tag it with #30DayProject so we can all see what great stuff you are making. Here's to 30 days of fun! 

22 May 2017

#PassTheScopeEDU - 2 Days Late - #30DayProject - Day 01

Source: Brian Smith - @BrianRSmithSR
Last week was another excellent #PassTheScopeEDU event. If you didn't see the scopes live, you should totally check out the #PassTheScopeEDU hashtag and watch them soon because it was great! I once again was able to take part in the event but I wasn't there on the scheduled 3rd Thursday typical of the event because something happened that got in the way of my filming, life happened and it was okay.

I was finally able to get on camera two days late on Saturday and share some of my #aMAYzingMoments from the 2016-17 school year along with the reason for me being late, I was busy spending time with my family. We need to be sure to take the time needed to show our families that we care about them as much (or hopefully more than) the students in our classes. I loved working with my students and colleagues each and every day, but my own family was the reason why I was out there with my students, I was making a living to provide for my own family. Be sure to take the time needed to show your family you care and they mean the world to you.

I linked the Periscope above, but in case you can't find it up there, here it is again. And feel free to join us in the next edition of #PassTheScopeEDU, each and every 3rd Thursday of the month, unless of course you're busy spending time with your family and need to join in a little later.

18 May 2017


I spent a lot of time today driving (roughly 8 hours) from my home in Southern Utah to Salt Lake City in Northern Utah for meetings. The meetings were successful and we had some excellent conversations about how our state should act when it comes to the technical needs and concerns of its schools, medical facilities, and libraries. Being from an education background I assumed I would care mostly about the needs of the schools and somewhat ignore the needs of the other groups, but I was wrong. The more I listened to each short presentation shared the more I realized just how much each of the groups in the meeting were similar and dealing with issues and concerns that matched those of my own schools I work with. And it was there in that room I realized how important it is to actually listen to others fully before making judgments or casting out the falsehoods you may believe.

So, remember, we are more similar than different and we should be willing to give each other a complete chance.
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