Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Not at ISTE 2016 Survey

The last two posts that I've written have referenced the ISTE conference. I realize that I am fortunate to be able to attend to the conference. The first time that I went to the ISTE conference (then known as NECC) it was only because of the generosity of Beth Still's "NECC Newbie" project and the many people who donated to that. Therefore, today I feel that I should do my best to share the ISTE learning experiences with as many people as possible. To that end, I want to know what you would want to learn more about if you were at the ISTE conference too. Please take a minute to complete the one question survey below. I'll do my best to share what I learn about the most popular topics selected in the survey.

Where I'll Be During #ISTE2016

The annual ISTE conference is less than 24 hours away now. One of the best parts of the conference is getting to meet new people and reconnect with those I've met before. This year I'm on a couple of panel discussions and I'll also be visiting with a couple of companies with whom I have worked. In addition to the Blogger Cafe (despite the tone of this post, it's a friendly place)  you can find me at these places during ISTE 2016:
  •  Virtual Reality - Blend This Into Your Learning - Monday at 2:30pm in room CCC 401
  •  Free Digital Flexbooks - Why Is It Worth It ? - Wednesday at 8:30am in room CCC 706
  •  Buncee booth - Tuesday at 10am at booth #3324
  •  Otus booth - Monday at 10am at booth #3731

The Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

Good morning from an airplane somewhere over the North Carolina/ Tennessee border. I'm headed out to Denver for the ISTE 2016 conference. As I boarded the flight I ran into my friend Kelly Hines from Discovery Education. I'm sure there are plenty of other excited educators on the flight too. If you are going to ISTE, please say hello if you see me. I look just like I do in the picture in my blog's header.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. 5 Reasons to Have a Classroom Blog
2. 7 Tools for Creating Classroom Blogs
3. My Three Favorite Video Creation iPad Apps for Elementary School
4. Three Geography Games Based on Google Maps and Google Earth
5. 5 Ways to Quickly Get Your Students On the Same Webpage
6. A Good Example of a Student & Teacher Blog - And How to Make Your Own
7. Beware of the Copycat Trap!

Bring Me To Your School or Conference
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Online  PD Opportunities With Me
Take a look at the online workshops I'm hosting throughout the spring and summer.
Please visit the official advertisers that help keep this blog going.
Practical Ed Tech is the brand through which I offer PD webinars.
BoomWriter provides a fantastic tool for creating writing lessons. 
Storyboard That is my go-to tool for creating storyboards and cartoon stories.
Discovery Education & Wilkes University offer online courses for earning Master's degrees in Instructional Media.
PrepFactory offers a great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
FrontRow offers adaptive online ELA and Math practice activities.  
Teach n Go is a comprehensive platform for teaching online courses.
The University of Maryland Baltimore County offers graduate programs for teachers.
Boise State University offers a 100% online program in educational technology.
EdTechTeacher is hosting host workshops in six cities in the U.S. in the summer.
Buncee offers a great tool for creating visual stories. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Handy, Overlooked YouTube Features

YouTube offers a bunch of handy editing tools that often go overlooked by users. One of those is the option to rotate videos that have been shot in vertical mode when they should have been shot horizontally. Another great feature is the face blurring tool built into the video editor. You can learn about those features and more in my video embedded below.

Ed Tech Start-ups, Please Don't Do This At #ISTE2016

Dear Ed Tech Start-up Marketing Directors:

ISTE 2016 is just a couple of days away. Everyone who is going  is excited about it. Teachers and school administrators are excited to learn new things in workshops, see great presenters, learn about new tech, and connect with friends they've met online and or at previous conferences. ISTE's Blogger Cafe and Social Media lounge is one of the places that conference attendees love to connect and share the exciting new things that they've learned during the conference. Unfortunately, over the last few years there has been a trend of ed tech start-ups who aren't paying for booth space to use the Blogger Cafe and Social Media lounge to fling around flyers, stickers, and other marketing trinkets.

Littering a lounge with marketing trinkets is annoying, but it's not nearly as annoying as the other trend I've noticed over the last few years. That trend is to send low level employees to the lounges to "pick the brains" of conference attendees who are just trying to connect with fellow educators in a relaxed environment. In other words, these ed tech start-ups are trying to conduct market research for free by taking advantage of the polite nature of most educators. Nothing will make a company representative seem more disingenuous than starting up a conversation with me and then when I ask "what do you do?" or "why are you at ISTE?" being given a sales pitch for a start-up. By the way, if you are going to give a pitch, please make sure you're not making this mistake too.

Go ahead and wear your company's tee shirts, sit in on presentations, and have pre-arranged meetings with bloggers and press members (Even the lowest level of ISTE vendor space/ sponsorship will give you access to the contact info for bloggers and press members with a reach of more than 100,000 readers, each). Just be respectful of why so many educators are in those lounges, it's to connect with each other not to hear your sales pitch or have you "pick their brains" for your market research.

If you're now wondering, "how do we connect with people at ISTE 2016 if we can't bug them in the lounges?" here are a couple of low budget marketing strategies that I've seen work well. 1. Tweet a link to a very simple landing page that gives visitors a code for free coffee when they enter an email address. 2. Partnering with another small start-up or two to sponsor a fun evening activity that doesn't involve drinking at a bar.

I hope my advice doesn't foil your plans for ISTE 2016. If it does, I'll make it up to you by letting you pick my brain during a pre-arranged fifteen minute meeting during the conference. Email me at richardbyrne (at) to arrange that meeting.