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The President's Message

Rachelle Dene Poth

 Hello members of the Teacher Education Network!

Time sure does fly by quickly doesn't it? It seems like our TEN leadership team was just making final preparations for the ISTE conference, connecting in Philadelphia at our sessions and networking events, and enjoying time to learn and laugh together. We also had time to celebrate at the awards luncheon where several members of our team received Volunteer Awards for service to education. 

It has only been two months since the conference ended and we are getting started with our plans for the upcoming year which promises to be another busy but fantastic year!

This year the Teacher Education Network leadership team has decided to focus on several important themes throughout the year including pedagogy, research, teacher preparation, and the power of being connected. We will also look at themes related to self-care, school safety, and SEL. Our themes will be reflected in our monthly newsletters, in our monthly Twitter chats, and in the TEN and ISTE Commons community discussions. We encourage you to join in the chats held on the last Monday of each month at 7:00 pm. EST and to share your ideas in the ISTE TEN Community. 

Thinking about last year, we enjoyed having guest contributions to our monthly newsletter and being able to share so many ideas and resources from educators around the world. There is so much power in connecting and collaborating. Starting in October’s newsletter, we will be including some guest posts. An email will be sent with more details. Our main goal is to continue to find ways to promote collaborative learning and professional development and to be a supportive network for all educators whether pre-service or those who have been in the teaching profession for years.

We have a great group of educators on our leadership team this year. Some members have shifted into new roles and will also be creating new areas of focus for our leadership team.


Our leadership team for 2019-2020 is:

President  - Rachelle Dene Poth

President-Elect - Dennis McElroy

Past President - Torrey Trust

Communications Chair - Chip Cash

ISTE Conference Coordinator - Peter Hessling

Pre-conference /ISTE Coordinators - Susan Poyo and Sam Fecich

Professional Development Chair - Steve Wick

Research and Developments Chair - Jennifer Courduff

Website Editor - Deborah Kerby

Strategic Initiatives - Mia Williams

Special Education - Pena Bedesem 

Awards Review Coordinator - Susan Poyo 

Innovation & Resources Chair - Jean Kiekel 


Dennis McElroy is stepping into the role as President-elect. We will be focused more on research and finding best practices and ways to support our pre-service teachers and to involve them more in the ISTE community.

Looking back to the conference, we had a lot of fun!

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Many members of our leadership team received awards and recognitions.

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Be sure to read through the highlights, check out our pictures and also our end-of-year review of the Teacher Education Network.  I hope that you enjoy this newsletter and look forward to connecting and sharing our experiences. We would love to hear from you so be sure to reach out in the discussion community as well as on Twitter using the hashtag #isteTEN.

Best wishes for a fantastic start to the new school year!

Award Winners Galore!


Torrey Trust, Asst. Professor of Learning Technology, UMass Amherst @torreytrust

The ISTE conference has so many amazing things, it’s hard to write about just one. But alas, I’ll focus on what I felt was the most amazing part of ISTE - the award winners. Congrats to Rachelle Dene Poth (Making IT Happen Award Winner), Nicol Howard (Making IT Happen Award Winner and ISTE Teacher Education Network Award for Excellence in Teacher Education Runner-Up), and Tim Green (Teacher Education Network Award for Excellence in Teacher Education Winner). I’ve seen their CVs and the work that they do and am so delighted that they were honored this year. I’ve always wanted to have an Academy Awards for educators because, quite frankly, what all-stars like Rachelle, Tim, and Nicol do every day to make education a better place and improve our future should be recognized on a big scale!! Also, shout out to the many members of our ISTE Teacher Education Network leadership team who were recipients of the Presidential Service Award! Congrats to these amazing leaders and I hope that you’ll be inspired by them to step up, lead, advocate, inspire, share, and learn!

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The Best of...Our Personal Selections of the Best Sessions We Attended at ISTE 2019


Dennis McElroy, Professor of Education, Graceland University @acoustimac

ISTE 2019 was another amazing conference with hundreds of presentations that met the needs I’ve so many attendees! What you will find here are the “best of…“ selections by the teacher education network leadership team. These are the best sessions that we personally attended. Without further ado…


I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation groups I was connected to.  I learned about many different apps and tools that I will be using in my future classes.  Another favorite event at ISTE this year was the networking social event and using Goosechase.  I got the opportunity to meet people I might not have otherwise met and had a great time. -Jean Kiekel

The focus on digital citizenship at this conference was amazing. I don't think there has ever been a time when this topic was more relevant than it is today. Seeing more of these guiding sessions and being able to gather new ideas from the presenters was incredibly helpful. Coming in a close second was the research being done that focused on the preparation of teachers for future classrooms. Teresa Foulger (JDTLE Outstanding Research Paper Award winner) provided some fantastic insights and the TEN team presenting the findings from their national study reinforced the need for massive change in teacher preparation. - Dennis McElroy

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Oh, man, I can’t name one event or presentation, but if I had to choose something, it would be: 1) poster sessions in general; and 2) the entrepreneurs area in the Expo.  I know, that’s two things. :) I usually don’t hit the Expo very hard, but this year I decided to spend a few hours there and was pleasantly surprised when I wandered away from the big commercial displays into the closely-packed nest of ed. technology entrepreneurs.  I was fascinated by their ideas and enthusiasm for what they were doing. In fact, I made several contacts there that I am following up this year! - Peter Hessling

Over the last year, I was able to participate in the online TED Masterclass course that ISTE sponsored. This opportunity allowed me to share ideas and collaborate with other educators around the world about teaching and learning in the form of TED-style talks. At ISTE, I had the opportunity to share my own TED educator talk (see recordings). This was an experience that I will never forget! - Julie Delello

The "Play" in Teaching (and Playgrounds!)


Petter Hessling, Professor of Teaching, North Carolina State University, @ProfHessling

I just finished reading all the responses from my undergraduate teacher education students.  The assignment was to create an ideal school: no limits; unlimited budget. Of course, students’ ideas of what is “ideal” differ widely, but one element keeps emerging from year to year:  the need to give students the opportunity to create; to be surprised; to, well, play. One student argued strongly for “weird hallways,” which would both surprise and delight students. Others wanted more student autonomy to design their own curricula and environment. These responses shouldn’t be surprising.  Way back in 1938, Johan Huitzinga published Homo ludens, arguing that play is a critical part of any culture, something that gets us into a space where creativity, social interaction, and change may flourish. We seem to have a fundamental need as humans to create and to play. 


As the ISTE TEN Playground co-coordinator at the Philly conference, I felt strongly that a playground ought to involve playing!  And I think that, for the most part, that’s exactly what it did.  Participants had the opportunity to view through VR lenses, to see how “fake images” could be deciphered, and even to make slime!  Other presenters shared building networks with Twitter bingo; using video games in special education; and using Makey-Makey approaches for assistive technology.  ISTE TEN leaders, of course, were soberly wandering around making sure everything in the playground functioned perfectly – NOT! You can see what we were up to in the newsletter photo where we are apparently flying around in a space capsule. 


The Playground – and much of ISTE in general – gave me a reminder that I need from time to time:  teaching might be a calling, a profession, a dedicated obsession, but it is also FUN! In fact, I’d argue that if teaching stops being fun for me, it probably isn’t fun for my students either. 


So, until next year’s playground (in Anaheim, appropriately!), play hard, play long, and play often.  Our students appreciate it!

ISTE 2019 ~ An Opportunity to Give


Deborah Kerby, Northeast, PA, Computer Teacher, @DocKerby

Those of you who know me know that 2018-19 was my year to eliminate the comfort zone. That’s right, I didn’t just step outside of it, I did away with it. 

I started a new career path this year going from secondary to primary education, from a classroom teacher to a specials teacher. The change in workload freed up some time for me to do other things. I started with presenting to the ISTE community through an Expert Webinar on Adaptive Learning. I continued sharing throughout the year in the ISTE Connect communities.

Of course, it was not all one-sided; I learned a great deal participating in ISTE PLN forums and Twitter Chats.

The adventure continued at ISTE in Philadelphia. I presented at the ISTE TEN SPARK Learning preconference event on Saturday and a BYOD on Sunday. I have presented at ISTE before but just in the playgrounds so this was a new experience. And, it was a wonderful experience. I actually learned while I was presenting! 

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I am hoping that you will get some inspiration from this and consider sharing your knowledge and talents with the ISTE community. Feel free to reach out to me any time for encouragement.

And, in case you missed it, here are the resources from ISTE TEN SPARK preconference and playground events. And check out all of our resources on the ISTE TEN Website.

Virtual Reality...Oh So Real!


Susan Poyo, Associate Professor of Education, Franciscan University, @SPoyo

I had some free time at ISTE 2019 and was super excited to go to the NASA playground. So of course the first thing I did was to grab a ticket for the Virtual Reality Simulation.  But really... we had to take a ticket like you were at the deli counter or the bakery at the grocery store?! OH, yes, this part of their playground was quite popular. After waiting about 20 minutes it was FINALLY my turn. I put the glasses on and was instantly transported to a Space lab where I was instructed to engage in tasks allowing me to practice with the controls to move objects around the lab. Pretty cool because I had never been in a Space lab before. 


What happened next though is something I am still grappling to understand and believe!! With a click of a button from the NASA playground volunteer, I was suddenly thrust into outer space. There I was, standing on a platform, literally in outer space staring at the beautiful planet we call Earth! The blackness surrounding Earth was blacker than I had ever seen before and the brightness of the planet I was staring at was captivating. Just gorgeous!! 


While I was in awe at the beauty I was experiencing, the NASA playground volunteer tells me to step to the edge of the platform...OK, no problem. Suddenly the railing on the platform separating me from the vastness of outer space just disappeared. 


“Take a step forward. Just one step forward. Go ahead.” 


I’m hearing this voice, and my eyes are not seeing ANYWHERE to step safely. 

Are you kidding me?! 


Flashbacks of Sandra Bullock and the movie Gravity are now racing through my head, my heart rate accelerates, and I’m thinking, oh NO WAY am I stepping into space!  


You are probably thinking I’m a few fries short of a happy meal because clearly I am not REALLY in outer space. I’m at ISTE for crying out loud. Just take the step!! Actually that is exactly what I thought when I saw the girl before me not only hesitate but refuse to step out. The inner battle begins...step out, I’m telling myself, you know where you really are. The eyes and the brain are battling.

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What power these glasses have over our minds, our sense of what is real, true, right. I knew I was on the convention center floor, but what my eyes were taking in over powered any sense of what was real in that moment. What a beautiful and awesome responsibility we educators have as we share experiences with our students through pedagogy like Virtual Reality.  We have the opportunity to take our students to places they have never been, experience and see sites and sounds that literally take them away from the school grounds and into an alternate reality. 


I am curious about how we are using VR with our students. How are you using this pedagogy? What awesome places do you send your students? Do they “come back” from their travels different than when they began? Do they reflect on their experiences and share positive changes in their minds, thoughts, actions? How is VR transforming learning?


Back at ISTE, did I take the step? Absolutely not!

One. Last. Thing. #ISTE2020


Jennifer Courduff, Professor, Azuza Pacific University, @gamine64

I bet you’re feeling completely revved up from reading these stories! Our people have amazing energy! It’s never too soon to start thinking about ISTE 2020 in good old SoCal! ISTE will start accepting conference proposals in late August - so start planning! If you have never written a proposal and you’d like some help - reach out to any of us. We’d be glad to help. 


In fact, I am already helping a REALLY talented sixth grade STEM teacher from Maine. 

(Let’s do this, Maine! know who you are…..just call me goose chase... :)

Some Tools and Resources to Explore


99Math - a free app for students to play, similar to Kahoot, focused on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. 99Math is a game created by a recent high school graduate in Estonia!  Sign up and give them a follow on Twitter @99Mathgame and sign up for Math Game Day!


Abre Platform - The Abre Hub is a platform that connects the entire learning community with the tools needed to run school. There are apps in the platform for learning management systems, behavior management, and data and analytics. Through the Learn App, schools can create courses and group lessons. 


Buncee has recently integrated with Microsoft’s Immersive Reader which makes the platform even more accessible for students of diverse ages, backgrounds, and abilities.  By clicking on the Immersive Reader icon when viewing a Buncee, a personalized reading and learning experience for students appears. It is definitely worth checking out. 


Listenwise - Listenwise is a multi-purpose platform with capabilities to foster improved listening skills, reading comprehension, and create a more personalized learning experience for students. Listenwise is beneficial for increasing participation in discussions and promoting student engagement. It creates a virtual space where students can build listening and reading comprehension skills, confidence, as well as develop their own creativity and storytelling skills. Using Listenwise, teachers can better differentiate learning for students and promote more cultural and global awareness through access to more meaningful, real-world stories.


Kahoot! Has  added some new features for the back to school event! There are millions of images, a new dashboard, more public questions to choose from, over 500 million! With a PRO account, teachers can get a lot more options for creating games. 

2gnōMe is a platform for PD, where teachers can have an ongoing journal that they can refer to as they engage in learning activities. There is access to resources and personalized recommendations for their learning. It's also an effective way for teachers to have portfolios that show proof of learning and provide different credentials and certifications that they need to be in compliance with state requirements.