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6 Things I Learned From Talking to Edtech Experts

By Monica Burns
September 16, 2021
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As an attendee and presenter at many edtech conferences, I have learned so much from the community of educators who come together to explore education technology topics, and I'm always thrilled to dive into new books written by many of the same educators I've met at these engaging events. From computer science to environmental education, there is so much to learn!

One of the reasons I love interviewing people for my podcast is to learn new things and share the work of other educators with my listeners. Over the 100+ episodes of my Easy EdTech Podcast, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to many educators, including authors of books published by ISTE. I pulled together a few of my biggest takeaways from these conversations and included links to our conversations.

1. Kristin Harrington, author of Adventures in Authentic Learning: 21 Step-by-Step Projects From an Edtech Coach 

During our conversation, Kristin shared a list of tips for educators, including the advice to start with a low-stakes project. If you plan to introduce a larger project with students during the school year, Kristin recommended starting small so students and teachers can find success with a lower-stakes activity. Kristin also shared ideas around developing a project mindset. 

Listen to: How to Make Sure Your Next Project is Authentic with Kristin Harrington – Easy EdTech Podcast 127

Adventures in Authentic Learning

2. Dr. Kristen Mattson, author of Digital Citizenship in Action: Empowering Students to Engage in Online Communities 

I spoke with Kristen about how to use “would you rather” prompts to spark a discussion about digital citizenship. I loved the ideas Kristen shared from her book during this episode. We also talked about websites full of resources that can help teachers better understand the role digital citizenship plays in their classrooms. 

Listen to: What Does Digital Citizenship Really Mean? With Dr. Kristen Mattson — Easy EdTech Podcast 105

Digital Citizenship in Action book

3. Dr. Michele Haiken, author of Podcasting for Students: Tips and Tools to Drive Creative Expression

Michele and I first met at an EdCamp in New York several years ago. It was so much fun chatting with her about the podcasting jump start guide she created for ISTE. One thing I learned from our conversation was the importance of picking out examples of podcasts for students to use like a mentor text. This is a great strategy to help students learn about the structure of a medium they may not be very familiar with.

Listen to: Tips for Creating Podcasts with Students with Dr. Michele Haiken — Easy EdTech Podcast 089

podcasting jump start guide

4. Tim Needles, author of STEAM Power: Infusing Art Into Your STEM Curriculum 

When I spoke with Tim about his book, we chatted about our Long Island connection before diving into topics from his book. I loved Tim’s suggestion to incorporate sketchnoting into a lesson to add a burst of creativity into any subject area. Sketchnoting is a great way for students to gather ideas and represent their thinking. 

Listen to: How Art Fits Into Your STEM Curriculum with Tim Needles – Easy EdTech Podcast 067

STEAM powered learning

5. Jorge Valenzuela, author of Rev Up Robotics: Real-World Computational Thinking in the K–8 Classroom

The idea of computational thinking might seem intimidating at first, so I was so glad to have Jorge unpack this idea during our podcast interview. Jorge shared a suggestion that was very powerful. When tackling the idea of computational thinking, he encouraged listeners to ask themselves to consider how students think logically like a computer doing various activities throughout their day. Whether it’s packing a lunch or planning a weekend activity, everyone uses computational thinking. I loved how this idea can help us break down a big topic into smaller chunks that connect to different subject areas. 

Listen: How to Incorporate Computational Thinking in Any Subject with Jorge Valenzuela – Easy EdTech Podcast 066]

Get started with robotics! Start reading!

6. Rachelle Dene Poth, author of Chart a New Course: A Guide to Teaching Essential Skills for Tomorrow’s World

I’ve known Rachelle for several years and it was so much fun chatting with her about book. In our conversation, Rachelle shared lots of great tips, including why its important to use asynchronous learning opportunities so students can check in at their own pace. This episode was recorded in the spring of 2020 so you’ll also hear Rachelle’s ideas related to the quick shift to distance learning that school year. 

Listen to: How Students Can Work in Teams Remotely with Rachelle Dene Poth – Easy EdTech Podcast 064

Chart a New Course book

Save the dates for these fall podcasts

There is so much to learn about edtech, and I feel very honored to have interviewed different experts in the field. Stay tuned for more conversations with ISTE authors on my Easy EdTech Podcast this fall. You’ll hear from Jessica Pack about her book Moviemaking in the Classroom in September. In October, mark your calendars for a conversation with Ashley McBride about her book, The Edtech Coaching Primer, and with James Fester about the book he wrote with Jorge Valenzuela, Environmental Science for Grades 6-12. Follow along on your favorite podcast app, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.

Dr. Monica Burns is an edtech and curriculum consultant, author of EdTech Essentials (ASCD, 2021) and former New York City public school teacher. She works with schools and organizations around the world to support PK-20 educators with thoughtful technology integration.