It’s hard to believe a week has passed since iPadPaloozaOU. I’ve already written about this conference, but wanted to quickly shoutout a couple people that took my experience to the next level: Vanessa Perez and Terri Cullen, you made my conference experience phenomenal.


Vanessa displayed tremendous passion and was inspiration to me this year. First, she led one of the best sessions I’ve attended at any conference, ever. Vanessa facilitated “Break(outEDU) on Through to the Other Side and had attendees complete two Break(outEDU) puzzles, brainstorm curriculum ideas associated with this escape-room-esque problem solving, and shared how to create our own kits. On top of that, one of the Break(outEDU) puzzles she facilitated was completely online which sparked all kinds of thoughts and possibilities in my mind. Now I want to engage students in creating digital Break(outEDU) games to practice design and experience all the fun of game development similar to ideas in the eXperience Play program.

Vanessa was the last person to speak at iPadPaloozaOU. She did one of the 5 minute “Ignite Talks” and spoke about her identity, student identity, and why teachers need to avoid smothering this crucial aspect of their students. I can’t do her talk justice here, so you’ll have to watch it for yourself:

Goodness, what a rockstar. Great work Vanessa! Thank you for being a voice of passion and inspiration at this years iPadPaloozaOU.


Terri Cullen was once my professor and as I transitioned to a staff member at the university, our relationship shifted. Terri mentored me as a student and continues to support me professionally in similar capacities. What’s changed is now we speak as colleagues about teaching, innovation, and the future of higher education. Being treated as an equal—as a scholar—makes me feel valued and gives me opportunities to exchange ideas and feedback with one of the most supportive professors at OU.

I’m so glad we’ve stayed connected because now I see the backend of her courses and efforts. Over the years I’ve gained newfound appreciation for Terri as a teacher that goes the extra mile for her students. As I hear her break down her course design, expectations for her students, and how she’s hoping to equip pupils with the tools to be successful teachers, I see how much love she’s poured into her work.

I bring all this up because at iPadPaloozaOU we had the opportunity to connect for some enriching conversations that reminded me how much she does for her students. Having been in her classroom, it makes me grateful for all those times I wasn’t aware of the lengths she went to improve my learning experiences. Seeing this in practice, I value her efforts and the sacrifices she makes for a better world through education. No doubt our interactions are one of the many reasons I’ve come this far as an educational technologist.

When it comes to connecting with Terri and all the wonderful folks at iPadPaloozaOU, I believe Vanessa said it best:

Like I wrote in my last post. iPadPaloozaOU under Anne Beck was stelar because it brings out the best minds in education across the state. Until next time, #oklaed keep on rocking! 🤘

The featured image is provided CC0 by Maxime Bhm via Unsplash.

Leave a Reply