As another iPadPaloozaOU comes to a close, I’m struck by how lucky I am to have access to this excellent local conference. Bravo to Anne Beck for being a force of nature when it comes to organization and the effort required to bring together students (pre-service teachers), K-12 instructors, professors, educational technology folks, administrators (and more) into a positive environment to showcase and collaborate.


The Keynotes this year were spectacular. I especially enjoyed getting to hear Reshan Richards speak and present using a long-time favorite tool of mine—Explain Everything (which he helps develop). You rock Reshan at presentation as sketch-noting:

Being present for Josh Flores inaugural Keynote was a also a treat since he equated us teachers to Xmen and really nailed why we all attend iPadPaloozaOU to better ourselves as instructors:


In the sessions I attended, Andre Daughty provided tangible ways for teachers to instill positive culture in their classrooms and address students as people who each have valuable stories to tell. Andre reminded me of our impacts as teachers and encouraged us to recognize students as human beings who struggle, feel pain, and still persevere to be in our classrooms:

Timothy Laubach let me geek out on the latest and greatest tools for science education:

Shelly Fryer, shared why and how her 3rd grade students podcast in her classroom. I mean, listen to these awesome kiddos! Next time I’m working with faculty who are on the fence about integrating media projects into their courses because they’re concerned it might be too difficult, I’m pointing to Shelly’s class as an example. If 3rd graders can podcast, imagine what your students can do! 🙂

And Vanessa Perez captivated our imaginations with BreakoutEDU fun:

(I want to say more about how awesome Vanessa was at iPadPaloozaOU, but I’ll reserve that for my next post.)

All that to say, iPadPaloozaOU will be remembered as a highlight of 2017 for me. Thanks everyone for making this a blast!

Students At Conferences

I’ve written about the need to incorporate students into our educational conferences as I believe their voices must be heard and their presence adds value to our conversations. Pre-service teachers are educators too and one of iPadPaloozaOU’s greatest strengths is bringing these students into our conversations.

Like all conferences there’s room for improvement. For example, I understand that some students only attend because their instructors incentivize their participation. In my session, I had one student share that she was participating for that exact reason. I recognize we must balance this pragmatic approach of bring students into conference spaces; but ideally, I want students to crave the community and intrinsic value of this collection of minds coming together  in hopes to make this world a better place through education.

That being said there were also students present for this very reason—individuals who wanted to mingle with the phenomenal #oklaed community, make connections, explore job prospects, and join our conversations. These students were repeat attenders who put themselves out there and experienced profession and personal growth. I’m EXCITED when this happens and I want it to occur as often as possible. 🙂

All that to say, we need to continue to improve as instructors and mentors of pre-service teachers. We must make sure our students know their voices are valued and continuously invite and encourage them to participate in our discussions. In practice, one way I’d like to see us do better is having more students presenting in our conference spaces. Whether they’re collaborating with others, leading their own sessions, or participating on panels, bringing their voices to the forefront would benefit us all.

I want to use this opportunity to send a shoutout to Terri Cullen because she’s collecting student perspectives on iPadPaloozaOU in this Flipgrid:

Pre-service teachers your voices matter, because as students, you’re so close to the learning process and can offer valuable feedback and perspectives that will make all of us better educators.

Our iPad Game Jam Session

Lastly, I want to shoutout my co-presenter John Stewart for rocking (as usual) as my partner. I was so pleased with our session, iPad Game Jam. We had a dozen folks from all kinds of backgrounds—students, technologists, & teachers in one place making Twine games—it was glorious! Seeing folks experimenting and discussing ways they could integrate game design into their courses to engage students in writing, storytelling, project management, collaboration, and more was fantastic. I had a lot of fun and if you want to learn more about our session, you can see our presentation materials here or explore our (free & open) text-based curriculum here.

Keep on rocking everyone! Keep on rocking #oklaed! Thanks for a wonderful time.

PS: Here’s the iPadPaloozaOU Spotify playlist if you also want to rock out:

The featured image is provided CC0 by Daniel Robert via Unsplash.

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