Iterating, Searching, Mapping, Designing & Slamming at EdTechTeam AZ Summit

I had the pleasure of attending the EdTechTeam Arizona Summit.  The program is online and each session’s title is a clickable link to a Google Doc with information about that session. I’d like to tell you a little about my first day at the summit.

Keynote: Iterating Education

Jaime Casap (@jcasap), Global Education Evangelist for Google, keynoted the summit. He says that while we have been talking about technology in education for decades, what is different now? Jaime explained that we can now make learning personal, technology is wrapped around the core of our lives, and the new generation is expecting different things.

Some notes I took during Jaime’s presentation:

  • Jaime likes to ask students, “What problem do you want to solve?" rather than asking what they want to be when they grow up.
  • Half of all workers use their own tech at work.
  • Iteration is the new failure. Instead of using a word that is negative and final, iteration implies that improvement is ongoing.
  • Teachers no longer have to be the "Google" in the room. Now teachers are not the holders of all information. Students can get information easily. The key skill is to turn information into intelligence.
  • The latest and greatest technology we’re using right now is the lowest technology five year olds will ever know. 
  • Jaime blogs at

And here are some great tweets from the keynote:

To experience more Jaime, watch his TED talk titled Saving the Silver Bullet.


Search: Effective and Efficient Ways At Information Acquisition

The first breakout session I attended was presented by Ken Shelton. Ken is a former teacher and is an active presenter. I always enjoy listening to him. Ken is an advocate for information literacy. He calls today’s generation Generation Now because they always want answer right now, right away. Here are a few notes from this session.

Ken Shelton & Tony Vincent

Ken Shelton & Tony Vincent

Ken says, "Everyone can search, but not everyone can find.” Most everyone can access a search engine, but too many don’t have the skills to quickly find exactly what they are looking for.

Search Google using an operator to get instant information without opening any links. These include weathertimeearthquake, convert units and currencypopulationstocks, and calculator.

Ken demoed how to narrow Google search results by removing terms, specifying exact phrases, indicating file type, and limiting domains. This can be done using operators in a search query or by filling in fields in an Advanced Search.

Test your search savvy with A Google A Day. The site reads: "Crack the questions using Google search techniques and discover nifty new tricks."

Ken created a Google Site for this session. Check out the site and follow him on Twitter and Google Plus.

Making Magnificent Maps

This session was presented by Jim Sill. He spent time teaching us about the new Google Maps (which is almost a year old, but some people are still using the old version). Jim’s digital handout for the session is right here.

“The real word is continually changing and our maps should reflect that.” - Ed Parsons

Jim showed how you can find 360º Photo Spheres taken all over the world in Google Maps Views. Unlike Street View, these photos are less blurry and taken by Google’s users. Jim showed a camera that can take Photo Spheres in just one click using a Ricoh THETA Spherical 360 Degree Panorama Digital Camera. The THETA is controlled by an iOS or Android app and retails for $400.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 12.09.51 PM.png

The main reason I attended this session is because I wanted to learn about how to do a “My Map” in the new version of Google Maps. Google Maps Engine is what is taking the My Maps place. I think Google Maps Engine is easier to use and the old My Maps, and it has a Share button, just like Google Docs. 

In the session we collaboratively added pins to a map  just as you might collaboratively contribute to a Google Doc. Each pin can have text, links, and a photo. You can search for a photo from within your map (and the default setting is to search Creative Commons images!). Google Maps Engine is limited to 300 pins and three layers. But that limitation shouldn’t be a problem. You can create as many maps as you’d like.

Another demo Jim did was collect locations and our names in a Google Form. In Google Maps Engine he clicked Add Layer and clicked Import. He found the results to the form in his Google Drive and choose the columns to import. Then our responses were instantly pinned all over the map!

Thanks Jim for helping us learn how to create our own maps the new way – with Google Maps Engine. He has lots of example maps and resources on this page. Jim’s website is

Redefine the Elementary Classroom with Google Apps for Education

Holly Clark is a technology and innovation specialist from San Diego. She presented ideas for using Google apps in K-6 classrooms. You can see her slides in this Google Presentation.

  • Holly used Socrative to collect information from the session participants. After collecting typed responses from us, she pushed them back to our screens so we could vote on one by clicking it. She did mention an alternative to Socrative, InfuseLearning. InfuseLearning lets students draw their answer and submit to the teachers.
  • Holly says our students have never known life B.G. (Before Google).
  • She shared a fantastic video that I have been showing to primary teachers: Learning and Creating with iPads in Kindergarten.
  • Holly shared a variety of ways and examples to use Google Docs with students. Check them out in her Google Presentation.
  • Her presentation includes the chart below. She cites the source as Marc Prensky. 

A Different View of Google Sites: Using Google Sites to Create Websites with Pizzazz, Flair, and Dynamic Design

I went to another session by Ken Shelton. He said he could have titled this "How to Make a Google Site Not Look Like a Google Site.” Google Sites is Google’s tools for making websites. It’s free and had no ads. You can make as many Google Sites as you’d like. And, similar to Google Docs, Google Sites can be shared publicly or privately. 

Of course, he made a Google Site as the session’s digital handout:

Here are some notes from Ken’s session:

  • He tells students that all content in a site should be accessible in no more than two clicks from the home page.
  • Use Piknik to find a color you like and get the RBG, Hex, HSL codes.
  • Plug in the color code you got at Piknik into Color Scheme Designer to find a color scheme for your website. After finding a color scheme you like, click Color List and copy the Hex code of each color. Paste the colors into the Themes, Colors & Fonts panel in the Manage Site section of your Google Site. 
  • Colour Lovers is a website where you can make your own color and design pallets. You can also see others’ designs. Ken demonstrated how you can save an image of a Colour Lovers design and make it the background of your Google Sites header.
  • If you upload a .ico file to a Google Site, it will use it as the site’s favicon (which is the icon that shows up in a web browser’s address bar and is often seen when you bookmark a site). You can convert a .jpg, .gif, or .png into a .ico file using FavIcon Generator. Since favicons are small, Ken had his students make a square image with their initials to use as the favicon. 

Demo Slam

Day One ended with a Demo Slam. The program says, "The Demo Slam is a high energy, geek out kind of session. We are going to have about 10 presenters share 3 minutes of their most geeky use or tip and trick of a Google App. At then end of the Slam you will get to vote for your favorite, most geeky presentation. Come for the Slam and stay for the give aways!”

Many of the demos were by vendors. Below are the presenters, their Slam's title, and a short note about what they showed.

Greg Gardner: Securly in Action - web filtering for schools

Rachael & Andrea: Screen Recording with Snagit for Google Chrome - screen captures that save to Google Drive and works on Chromebooks

Riley Eynon-Lynch: PearDeck for Assessment - students enter a code and the teachers can push out pictures and questions

Beth Molaskey: Read & Write for Google - make Google Apps for Education accessible for those with reading and writing difficulties, learning disabilities such as Dyslexia, or English Language Learners

Steve: Harpa Teacher - access a teacher dashboard to monitor and access students’ Google Drives

Heather Breedlove: It's an Image Thing - insert images into Google Apps using the Insert menu

Michelle Armstrong: Parent Communication Made Easy with YAMM - add-on for the new Google Spreadsheets that sends personalized emails

Megan Bird: Essay Grading?!?! EASY Grading! - give feedback with links, comments, and audio recordings inside of Google Docs with Kaizena.

Jim Sill: Thank you for not getting me fired Gmail - undo of sending email from Gmail, add it in Settings > Labs > Enable Undo Send

Rodney Turner: My Tracks - Android app for logging your location

Holly Clark: The Power of Three - Chrome extensions One Tab, YouTube Options, and Google URL Shortener

Karen Mensing: TED Ed Will Make You Flip! - build a lesson around a YouTube video at

Monica Martinez: YouTube Video Concerns - YouTube Options and Turn Off the Lights extensions


Day Two of the EdTechTeam Arizona Summit looks to be full of even more strategies, ideas, tips, and examples. I'll be sure to share what I learn!