Technology Update #45

Reflections from NETA 2019

This year, 35 Westside teachers and administrators joined over 2,000 others at the 2019 NETA conference. This year also marks my last on the NETA board. At the spring conference, I finished out my term as Past-President and have rolled off the board. At the same time, another Westside staff member, Paul Lindgren, was elected to the board. Westside has a rich tradition of serving on the NETA board and Paul will do well to represent us!


Here are a few selected reflections from those that attended NETA 2019. To view all the reflections and see what folks from the elementary, secondary and district level learned, check out:

Elementary teacher Jered Hellman:
Getting to attend NETA again was a really exciting for me. I haven’t been to NETA for at least 7 or 8 years, so getting to attend at the new venue was really exciting for me. One of my main takeaways beyond the breakout sessions was the first Keynote Speaker Kayla Deltzer. Kayla was extremely energizing and actually made me reflect a lot on my teaching career. I feel that I have always placed relationships at the forefront of my teaching and hearing her put such emphasis on relationships made me realize I have been doing things the right way for years. I have always loved technology and use many different technologies on the iPad daily to enhance my students learning. The one thing that really hit home to me was when Kayla said “if its boring on paper, it’s boring on an iPad!” This hit home to me because I post a lot of information for my students on our google classroom page, and sometimes it is a scan of a document that I have used in the past. A document that is clearly boring! This made me want to revamp some of the things that I use with my students on google classroom.

Another highlight for me was being with fellow educators that share a love of technology. I had several amazing discussions, and several of them took place because the teachers saw on my badge that I teach for Westside. We are truly lucky to be 1-1 at the elementary level and I loved sharing my experiences with it.

Lastly, I always appreciate the vendor exhibits at NETA. I love seeing the new and exciting things that companies are coming up with for education. From 3D printers, to 75 inch fully moveable and interactive touch screen displays, I loved talking with the Vendors about their products and how they can enrich education.

Elementary Librarian Kelly Kenny
Mystery Skype + Skype TranslatorDid you know you can connect your students with classrooms around the world? You can, with Mystery Skype! Play a game of Mystery Skype with another class to guess where they are located. It’s a fun way to learn about other cultures and enhances your students’ critical thinking and communication skills.And here’s the best part, they’ve now developed Skype Translator. The voice translator will translate conversations in 10 languages, while the text conversations in 60 languages.Take the risk, try something new, and connect your students to others beyond the walls of the classroom. Challenge your kids to critically think and learn about new cultures by using Mystery Skype and Skype Translator!Additional Resources:

Secondary Teacher, Jeanette Kleppinger
What app do you use that has revolutionized your life? Mine is Google Maps! Have you ever wondered how it all works? Do you have students who want and can be the next big app developer?This year at NETA I took a chance and strayed from the traditional NETA route and engaged in a Learn to Code Workshop where I sat shoulder to shoulder with a student who wanted to learn to code. I went in with mixed emotions, excited and very anxious. Some things I took away:

  • Sitting next to a student and truly learning alongside them is very exciting and eye-opening.
  • For someone who has very little coding background there are an amazing amount of resources out there to get started in a safe learning environment.
  • Through the learning process there were many lessons that overlapped with curriculum being taught in all levels and all subject areas. In addition, there was problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity in every lesson we went through.

The resources that were shared can be used by anyone independently or in a classroom setting. My students and I had little coding experience and were successful using the resources shared.

Director of Professional Learning, Greg Betts
At NETA, 2019, Apple presented to a full house of educators, the multiple options Keynote has to assist in storytelling. The overarching theme was to foster creativity and empowerment in student writing (and storytelling). The description of the session was “Learn how to empower students to create interactive portfolios, movies and more with fun animations, personal illustrations, and customize shapes using the Keynote app on iPad. More than a presentation tool, Keynote gives students a powerful way to visually think through stories and ideas.” Of course, 45-minutes is not enough time to get to all of the tools in-depth. We did learn about the new features on the iPad, including how to make a GIF. This was entertaining, to say the least. The educators created some fun examples. I was able to tell a story with a picture from a previous session and added moving arrows to demonstrate progress. Adding sound was fun too! By following this link, you can access a tutorial on how to animate objects and then export as a GIF.

To view all the reflections and see what folks from the elementary, secondary and district level learned, check out: