Wednesday, July 1, 2015

#YourEduStory: Who/what was most unexpected inspiration ?

This week's topic: Who or what was one of your most unexpected inspirations for the work you do with kids?

I love that kids are paired with the word inspiration in this week's topic. In the field of edtech, we are all extremely passionate. We are the yes-sayers. As a result, credit often goes to those of us in the field for advances and inspiration that happen. And, there is no denying that we all are inspiring, we we were initially inspired by someone else. That is where we need to focus. 

I write this while I am at #iste2015. I am surrounded by educators from all over the field, all over the world. Many of which have become celebrities in this field for obvious reasons. However, it is critical to remember we may be innovators, but we are not always the inspire-rs. We would not be effective if we did not have the "followers," or the inspire-rs. So, while the credit is worthy, it is not wholly attributed to the edtech profession. It is because of students. 

Let us celebrate the students and the educators who implement our ideas. The "followers." Without them, innovation would not occur. When you return from ISTE or your summer conferences, remember the real celebrities: students. 

Last year, my librarians and I teamed together for teen tech week. The focus was on hacker movements. It's no surprise now that it is my focus. Making and hacking and girls in STEAM are now my passions. They have evolved and I attribute it all to a student. 

During our hackathon last year, we only had a few students come. One of those was a girl. And, at the time, we were a little disappointed by the numbers. But, after the week was over, this one girl came to us and said she wanted to start a branch of Girls Who Code at our school. She head this passion for a while, but this event cemented her ideas. Sadly, we are not allowed to have any exclusionary clubs at our school - and girls only clubs fit that category - unless they are part of a branch. So, in came Girls Who Code. 

After that week, this girl took the lead. She helped me start our student tech club, Warrior Tech, and represented the one girl in that club as well. She gave me the idea to do student-led PD for teachers. She gave me the idea to run a BYOD table. She came to speak to our teachers. She encouraged me to bring in other student speakers. In fact, she was the inspiration behind my passions. 

When I reflect on last year and my goals for the future, I have her to thank. Right now, I am getting the credit, but it is not because of me. It is because of her. 

As you finish out the summer, think about the whos and whats that inspired you. Who do you have to thank? Get excited by others ideas, but always ask who inspired them. That is who you must thank. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

What's a 1 in 3, #iste2015? And, why should you attend?

Today, I got to take part in the inaugural ISTE 1 in 3 talk. And, by take part, I mean present. And, by present, I mean be the very first presenter ever of the ISTE 1 in 3 talks. I can't say that the little tidbit did not add to my already-increasing nerves. However, that's not what this post is about. This is about why you should attend them and why you should try these for staff development and future conferences.

Here's what's great: you only have three minutes, which means you get to hear a lot of really inspiring stuff and, if you don't enjoy one, it's only three minutes!

Here's how it works: Each person has a set of slides they have created. There is no restraint to the slides. You can have as few or as many as you want. The catch: you have to say it all in 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, your mic is cut off and your half of the stage goes dark. If you are in mid-sentence, you end in mid-sentence. Meanwhile, the next person immediately begins their presentation from the other half of the stage. The presentations continue alternating on different halves of the stage until the end. The countdown clock starts immediately once the previous presentation is done.

It is intense as a presenter. It also allows you to focus on the gist. It's a great practice for students. Imagine if you had to cut your students down to these? Though I often struggled to get my students to use 3 minutes, I think I could win them over in this format. The focus is on the content and the delivery.

This would also be a great closing/opening session at any conference or professional development. You could even shorten it to 60-seconds. Similar to an elevator pitch, you could have participants share their stories/sessions in 60 seconds in order to win over audience members to their sessions.

The possibilities are numerous.  Having delivered both an Ignite and a 1 in 3, they are different in nature. A 1 in 3 is an inspirational idea. An Ignite can be that, but often it is also a topic of controversy meant to spark/ignite the audience.

There are still two more rounds of 1 in 3s so make sure you attend! You won't be disappointed!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Life after the #ignite talk #hacked #iste2015

One hour ago, I finished my first ever Ignite talk. It was the most exhilarating and nerve-wrenching five minute presentation I have ever given,

Here's how it works: You submit an idea - in early May - one that will Ignite the world. And, at the end of May, you are given acceptance or denial. Lucky for me, I was accepted. That meant I had two weeks to prepare 20 slides - no less, no more - with a five minute timeline. I had my trusty friend, +Krista Tyler review my slides and my notes. At the time, I thought that would be it. It was only just beginning.

Each slide says on for 15 seconds, which means you have to time your slides and rehearse according to a very strict timeline. It also means you have to get to the point. You have to ignite.

In preparing my Ignite, I realized this would be a great writing practice for students. As I rehearsed, I trimmed down and editing my presentation. In fact, I made an edit every time. What an awesome way to teach the revision process in a holistic way?!

After weeks of small practices, it came time for today. And, I was fortunate enough to go after the awesome Rafranz Davis - superstar from last year! My nerves only grew. But the time came, and I told my story - the one I wanted everyone to hear - the one about students - the one about doing good - the one I hope will ignite others to do good.

Life after the talk? I am more inspired than ever to give my students more real challenges and to find all of my students that have a passion for "hacking" and ignite it and guide it.

In case you missed the Ignite talk, you can check out my presentation (with notes) below. Be sure to catch the rest of the Ignite sessions. This is only round one of four. So much more to Ignite you!!! I only wish I could see them all.


Click on the gear to open the speaker notes that go with this presentation. Message me at @christyfenne if you want to chat about starting student tech clubs. I'd love to connect!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

#google search like a ninja #gafechat

Searching and searching effectively are two of my favorite topics. In fact, I think they are critical life skills. So, I've started compiling all of Google's best resources for searching. Check them out and share those I may have missed.

Check out for more details!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Updates to #drawings & #docs &gplus #gafe

Today, I added another great resource from Ditch That Textbook to my Google Drawings faves presentation. Check out his awesome Drawings templates!

And, check out the fantastic Google Docs templates resource I added to my Google Docs faves presentation.

Finally, check out the the information on Google + Collections that I added to my +1 Your Google Life presentation. Though Google + is being divided into pieces, Collections is a great asset. It's the Pinterest of Google +.

All Google Drive presentations can also be accessed through


Share your #EduStory @ktyler_ITS

This week's topic: Who should share their edustory? Write a letter to someone in your pln and ask if they would join Share #YourEdustory?

This is my favorite topic so far! And, it's a perfect way to get others involved in this awesome writing/journaling adventure. 

Many names come to mind when I think of those who should be joining this sharing challenge. I'd love to read the #edustory of my childhood teachers. I'd even love to read the #edustory of my parents, my grandparents, and other key members of my life. When you understand someone's #edustory, you can better figure out their #edufuture. The most important group are students. If I still had a classroom of students, I would ask my students to complete a similar challenge, journaling and sharing their #edustory to one another and to the world. My former students (including myself) could never verbalize or construct their feelings about education into writing or speech. Writing an #edustory blog is a great way to promote visible thinking, metacognition, and self-reflection. 

However, since I can't name all the students or people in my life (many of whom are not on Twitter), I choose Krista Tyler, one of my co-workers and someone who is, surprisingly, not doing this challenge. Krista became an instructional technology specialist at my former district a year after me. Since she joined though, life has not been the same. In fact, I look forward to reading her tweets and retweets. I want to know what she has to say because it's creative. This world needs more of the creative folks. She's inspiring. And...I see the impact she has on her students. Heck, last year when we were at ISTE Atlanta, a former student of hers from Austin, Texas recognized her on the street, stopped her, and started conversation. Now, that's a connection. And, it's a critical voice to hear. She needs to share how she impacts students. More people need to hear what she has to say and show. She truly makes learning fun.

So, here's her letter (and, if you know Krista, please shove a computer in front of her and get her typing):

You have been summoned. Yes, you. Your voice noticeably missed from the #edustory blogging challenge. Why is that? We need your voice!

It's really quite simple. Go to this Website and get the Google Calendar of blogging topics. You will be reminded of upcoming blogging topics (once a week) through your phone as well! How cool is that? 

Once a week, you will be given a new topic. Go to your blog creator of choice and type up a new entry each week for that topic. Share it out with the hashtag #edustory. 

Yes, that's it. It's so simple so why aren't you joining it?!

Your voice is a critical voice. The world needs more of it and your enthusiasm. Think of the impact you can have on educators, students, parents, and community members. Share your #edustory.

And, guess what? I can help you get started if you need to. I'm even writing this post to get you interested. And, when you are done writing your first post, bring in another critical voice. Bring in a student. I know you can.

I'll be patiently waiting for your #edustory. 

Your #edustalker,


Now - it's your turn to bring in another voice into the #edustory circle!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

#makelibchat - more making & library resources!

I recently finished reading Sew Electric & The Art of Tinkering, both of which are awesome books for maker environments. And, I highly recommend them for anyone considering creating a makerspace. Today, I added in a resource page from Getting Smart with a list of apps for making on the iPad. Check out the presentation below for more makerspace ideas for your library. And, share out any that you have.

Check out for more resources!