Wednesday, May 28, 2014

ISTE 2014

Updated Itinerary

Flight info:
Depart: +June 27( +Friday)
LV: Denver at 11:10A ARR: Atlanta at 4:05P (non stop)

Return: +July 2 ( +Wednesday)
LV: Atlanta at 9:35A ARR: Denver at 10:55A

Friday, June 27:
  • Depart from West HS parking lot (2 vans) no later than 4:45 AM.
  • Rest stop at Big Springs at truck stop.
  • Arrive Denver airport approximately 9 AM MDT.
  • Arrive Atlanta 4:05 PM EDT
  • Check in to hotel, attend conference registration (closes at 6 PM), return to hotel for manager social, group meal TBD.
  • If you haven't already, please sign up for a workshop for Saturday morning or afternoon (or all day).  Technology will pay the workshop fees.
  • Please take notes, pictures, etc. and be prepared to share your workshop & conference experiences and resources with other staff when we return!
  • Breakfast 6 AM - 8 AM  provided by the hotel.  We don't set a time, but usually we all see each other at breakfast.  Great time to coordinate and plan the day
  • Most sessions end at 5:15, though there are evening sessions for some SIGs as well.  We will meet at the manager's social for cocktails and snacks.  This is when we'll plan our evening activities.

Sunday - Tuesday:
  • Breakfast 6 AM - 7:30 AM  This is a good time to coordinate with your grade/building level cohorts in terms of the sessions you plan to attend.
  • Meet at the manager's social to relax, reflect, and enjoy the group camaraderie.  We will plan our evening activities at this time.
  • We'll arrange group transportation to the airport.  We'll need to leave the hotel by 7:30 AM, so take advantage of the hotel breakfast and be packed and ready by this time.
  • We'll arrive in Denver around 11 AM MDT (Noon, Cozad time).  We'll grab lunch somewhere on the way home, plan on being back in Cozad by 5 or 6 PM.
  • We ask that each attendee post a reflection or summary of their conference experience here as a way to share thoughts and resources with others.  Please have this done by Friday, July 11.  Links to other resources are welcome!

ISTE 2014 Conference Program

We are excited to have 15 staff members attending the ISTE conference in Atlanta!  Those attending the conference are:


  • Joel Applegate
  • Bill Beckenhauer
  • Cory Spotaski


  • Karen Berreckman
  • Anngie Love

Middle School

  • Barry Mraz
  • Patty Margritz

High School

  • Nick Auwerda
  • Alisa Favinger
  • Kyle Vincent
  • Dustin Favinger
  • Chris Tvrdy
  • Keely Reinert


  • Patty Wolfe
  • Dave Evertson

Information for Attendees

ISTE is a large conference and there will thousands of attendees from all across the world.  We will be staying at the Embassy Suites Atlanta - at Centennial Olympic Park.  Contact information is:

267 Marietta Street,  Atlanta,  Georgia,  30313,  USA
TEL: 1-404-223-2300
FAX: 1-404-223-0925


  • ALL attendees, please complete this contact & travel plans form by Friday, June 13th!

Departure & Return

  • We will depart at approximately 4:45 AM from the West parking lot of the High School on Friday, June 27.  We will be traveling as a group in two large school vans.  You may arrange your own travel to the Denver airport if you wish, but the district will not reimburse travel expenses.
  • We will return the day after the conference ends (flight departs Atlanta at 9:35 AM EDT) on Wednesday, July 2.  We should arrive back in Cozad by 5 or 6 PM.


  • All attendees will receive a $120 cash meal per Diem at departure time.  That probably won't cover all of your meals, so you may want to bring some extra cash.  No other meal expenses will be covered by the district.
  • For those traveling with the group in school vehicles, we will stop in Big Springs for a restroom break on the way to Denver.  You will be able to grab a bite for breakfast at this time.  
  • Embassy Suites provides a very good complimentary breakfast.  We usually try to gather in the commons for breakfast together.  Early risers (before 7 AM) generally get through the lines pretty quickly.  This is a full breakfast with a wide selection.  I try to eat a large breakfast and then skip lunch.  The food is very good.  Hint:  fill your coffee here for free, you will have to pay for coffee and other snacks in the conference center.
  • Lunch - There are many options available in the convention center or you may leave to find some place close for lunch.
  • At the end of the day Embassy Suites hosts a manager's social from 4 to 6 PM with complimentary hors d' oeuvres and cocktails.  Please join us in the common area for socializing!
  • Dinner - We will go to dinner together as a group each evening (optional).  All are welcome!  We will not be stopping for a formal dinner on the return trip, but will likely stop for gas some place where you can get a meal or snack.  


  • While you will see some people dressed in jeans and shorts at the conference, we ask that you dress professionally, as you would at school.  Please remember that you are representing our entire school district.
  • While the weather in Atlanta will likely be warm and muggy, it will be cool in the convention center, and sometimes downright cold!  You may want to carry a light jacket.
  • Evening activities are very casual, feel free to pack shorts and t-shirts.  You may also dress casually but tastefully for travel days.

Keynotes and sessions

  • Conference Schedule.  A map of the convention center will be included in your registration packet.
  • Saturday you will attend the workshop you signed up for, followed by the opening keynote at 5:45.  They keynote fills up fast so be early!
  • There is an optional keynote presentation on Monday morning at 9 AM.  The closing keynote is on Tuesday at 2:45.  We ask that everyone attend the closing keynote.
  • ISTE provides an on-line planner called My Favorites where you can save the sessions you are interested in and build your schedule.  
  • Please look over the session descriptions ahead of time and plan which you might like to attend.  This conference is large and can be overwhelming at first, so take the time ahead of time to look at the program and plan ahead!


  • The vendor expo is huge and you can attend vendor sessions there as well.  This is also a good place to grab a snack or refreshment.  Many vendors give freebies and hold drawings for prizes.  Visiting the expo is well worth your time.


  •  You may bring your iPad, computer, phone or all three.  You will receive a bag during registration with the conference guide and many other flyers and goodies, but I usually carry a backpack.  Note that charging a device during the day is difficult, so you may want to leave your computer at home.
  • Some prefer paper and pen for notes.  If you are looking for good note-taking apps, I personally recommend Evernote, but there are many others.  Whatever your preference, you should plan on being able to take notes without a WiFi connection (so a google doc is probably not the best choice).
  • WiFi is available in the common area of the Embassy Suites but it is not provided in the rooms.  If you need WiFi in your room, you will have to pay for it.  WiFi is available in the conference center all day, but there are thousands of people connecting multiple devices, so don't plan on speedy internet!
  • Etiquette dictates that each person limit the number of devices they connect to the WiFi.  Please stick with just a single device on the WiFi network.


  • We ask that each attendee post a reflection or summary of their conference experience here as a way to share thoughts and resources with others.  Please have this done by Friday, July 11th.  
  • We expect all of our ISTE attendees to share their experiences and ideas with other staff through various channels.  This may include PLCs, staff meetings, or by helping to provide leadership through various staff groups and organizations.  
We look forward to spending an exciting and educational week together!

Friday, May 23, 2014

CCS Teacher Computer Preference

As we prepare the technology budget and plan for staff computer replacements in the coming school year, we'd like to have your input in terms of the computer you would most prefer to use for the next cycle of upgrades.

We feel we can offer 5 basic choices to you.  Please keep in mind that we are only in the planning stage and the budget may not allow for upgrading all teacher computers next year.

Option 1 would be to keep using a PC with Windows 7 installed.  This is what most teachers have had for the past few years.

Option 2 would be to upgrade to a new PC with Windows 8.  There is a learning curve going to Windows 8, but it is a more capable and modern OS than Windows 7.

Option 3 would be a basic Macbook Pro.  This would not be the retina-display version.  This would be the only option with an optical (DVD) drive.  Most laptops no longer come with this.

Option 4 would be a basic Macbook Air.  The Air is a thin, light laptop with about 8-10 hours of battery life.  It would be slightly less powerful than the Pro, but more mobile.  We would probably go with the 13 inch display version with 256 GB SSD.

Option 5 has not been finalized, but if we have enough interest I think we can get a staff BYOD program with reimbursement started.  I posted the original idea here.  There may be some modification of the upper limit (probably $1400).

Please take a minute to look these options over and complete this one-question survey to let us know your preferences.

Look for more information throughout the summer on the Tech Cafe blog at

Friday, May 16, 2014

CCS Summer Staff Development

The end of the school year is almost here and I am sure you are not thinking about professional development right now! However, I wanted to give you some dates and topics that I will be offering for technology professional development this summer. All sessions will be in the morning from 9 to 12 at the district office. I am hoping these sessions will be casual and be a sharing session. Information of the Summer PD schedule can be found at: In addition to the scheduled sessions, I am going to offer this summer "Tech On Demand". These will be scheduled times that I will be available over the summer in the High School Tech office and you can just drop in or schedule a "spot" to come see me and have me help you on whatever you are needing. It will be a relaxed time to set down together and work 1 on 1 or in a small group if you wish. The website will show the Tech on Demand available dates and times.

Here are the planned sessions and topics:
Mark Your Calendars!

June 10 - Getting Reacquainted with Your iPad
June 11 - iCreate (Using the iPad for creative student projects & app smashing)
June 18 - Production & Assessment
June 19 - iConnect, iCommunicate, iCollaborate
August 5 - Going Google (hopefully I will have more info by this time on Google Classrooms)
August 6 - Create a Google Classroom Website

Sessions for Summer 2014 will be from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at the District Office.In addition to these sessions, I will be offering "Tech on Demand".

Please visit my Summer PD Website for more information. The website will be updated throughout the summer. (

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What is your #digcit SPF?

We all love summer--the relaxing times at the lake, at the pool, camping, playing ball, and socializing. We all know we must protect ourselves from the sun's rays. Just as we protect ourselves from the sun, we need to protect our online presence. Summer is a great time to examine your online digital presence and take the time to protect it and clean it up! May's CHS STOPiT class focuses on examining our online selfies, hashtags, photos, and posts and taking the time for some "digital dusting"!

Even though this information was designed for our STOPiT class, all CHS students should take the time this summer to organize and clean up your digital presence so you will be ready to start off the new school year with a POSITIVE social media identity.


This presentation was used for May STOPiT. The original presentation was created by Mrs. Heather Callihan, GINW Tech Integration, for a presentation for York Middle School.

Monday, May 5, 2014

NETA 2014 Staff Reflections

Cozad Community Schools Staff Reflections - NETA 2014

Cozad Community Schools has been fortunate over the past several years in that we've been able to send multiple staff to several professional conferences, including NETA and ISTE.  I cannot overstate the positive effect this has had on our staff and our school.  Twitter and Facebook are great tools, but if you want your staff to truly get connected and inspired, they need to see other educators and what they are doing in person.  They also need a chance to visit, and especially a chance to reflect.

We sent a record number of staff (18) to NETA this year.  The sub list was stretched the breaking point and we really appreciate the support of our administrators in allowing this to happen!  We asked the staff to take a few minutes to reflect on their experiences the week after the conference.  The result was a remarkable document which clearly illustrates the power of collaboration and reflection.  We tend to forget that most of our teachers WANT to be excited and revitalized, and that they can be easily inspired by others.

I was planning to post something with just excerpts, but the google document has so many great ideas and observations that we decided to just present the entire document as our teachers created it.  Please feel free to share or comment!  We did check with the participants first to make sure it was alright with them for us to share with the public using their names.  These teachers range from early elementary to high school.  Several of them presented at NETA as well.

I would especially encourage you to share this document with your administrators as an example of the return a district can receive on the investment of sending staff to professional conferences.  With a group this large, there was also the added benefit of socialization and conversation within our own staff.  What a great investment in our teachers and our students!

Make-up Date for Parent Take-home Meeting

Students grades 8-11, you will have ONE more chance to attend a parent meeting if you want to take your iPad home for the summer but were not able to get to one of our previous meetings.  If you miss this meeting, you will have to turn your iPad in at check-in and wait until August to get it back.  You will STILL have to attend a parent meeting in August to renew your take-home privileges if you want to be able to take your iPad home during the 2014-15 school year!

The make-up date for the FINAL parent meeting will be Wednesday, May 21, at 7 PM in the auditorium.  Both the student and a parent must attend, and you MUST bring your iPad.  You can get all of the details for the meeting and the summer take-home program here.

Make sure you tell your parent!