Author: Jared Covili

Jared Covili has been a regular UCET presenter and attendee since 2003 - when the UCET bug first bit him. Jared has been on the UCET board since 2008 and served as UCET President in 2011-2012. He is currently serving as ISTE Affiliate Rep. Jared works at UEN (tech training), the U of U (adjunct teaching), and Corwin Press (book writing and speaking).


This week we went to Logan to visit CacheMakers, an Makerspace lab for students.  While we were there we interacted with Girls Space Science, a group of 11-17 year old girls, who are learning about coding and programming.  Kevin Reeve, from Utah State University, leads the club through a series of different projects that involve electronics, engineering, and a variety of other STEM skills.  IMG_3249While we were there the girls were building high frequency attennas, with the purpose of tracking a remote beacon.  The girls assembled their attennas using a combination of PVC pipe, hose clamps, sections of a tape measure, and a saudered radio wire.  Once compelte, everyone used their attennas to find a hidden beacon in a nearby field. 

It was an incredible experience to see these girls working through complex problems with minimal adult interference (I mean help).  They were awesome.  It was a collaborative evnironment, as the girls all pitched in to help one another as they built their projects and performed the tasks.  I can only imagine the impact that CacheMakers is having in the lives of their participants.  I know it certainly opened my eyes to the potential of having Makerspaces as part of our learning environments.

Denver or Bust #iste16

Are you looking to attend ISTE '16 in Denver this summer?  For those of you who don't understand the question – ISTE is the International Society for Technology in Education.  Each summer, they hold their annual conference at in the United States.  This year the conference will be from June 26 – 29 in Denver Colorado, a mere 9 hour drive from SLC!  Registration is currently underway and I recently learned of a great contest to help you get a free conference registration.  Look below for details: 



We’ve got thousands of reasons why you should attend the world’s most comprehensive ed tech conference. What are yours? What are the problems you hope to solve? What do you hope to get out of the experience? We want to hear your voice – literally. Record a video to tell (or show!) us why your community and your PLN need you to attend ISTE 2016 in Denver, and you could win one free registration and up to three nights of lodging!


  1. Record a video (no more than 20 seconds long) telling us what you hope to learn at ISTE 2016 and why you want to attend.
  2. Upload it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use #ISTE2016
  3. Make your post public to qualify.
  4. Enter as many times as you like.

Be creative! Entries are judged on originality and creativity.


Entry. No purchase necessary to enter or win. To enter, participants must record a video (not to exceed 20 seconds in length) telling us what they hope to learn at ISTE 2016 and upload it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the #ISTE2016 hashtag. The post must be public to qualify. There is no limit to the number of entries.

Contest officially opens February 12, 2016, and ends March 31, 2016. Winner will be drawn in April 2016.

Eligibility. This contest is open to everyone over the age of 18, except where prohibited. Contest is open to all, regardless of ISTE membership status. Employees of ISTE (along with its contractors, affiliates and subsidiaries) and their families are not eligible. Void where prohibited by law. Contestants residing in areas where the contest is void may participate in the contest but may not win any prizes.

Winner selection. ISTE employees and select volunteers will judge the contest. Submissions will be judged on creativity and originality. All judges’ decisions are final.


Prizes. ISTE will award to the winner one (1) registration to ISTE 2016 and one (1) hotel room for up to three (3) nights at a conference hotel of ISTE’s choice. Winner is responsible for travel to and from ISTE 2016, food and other incidental expenses. Prizes are not transferrable or redeemable for cash.

Winner notification. We will notify the winner in April 2016 via social media direct message, mention and/or email. Inability to contact a winner may result in disqualification and selection of an alternate winner. If winner does not respond within 14 days of notification, we will select an alternate winner.

Use of submission content. Participants hereby grant ISTE a nonexclusive, perpetual, worldwide license to broadcast, publish, store, reproduce, distribute, syndicate, and otherwise use and exhibit the submission (along with their first name and last initial) in all current and future media for purposes of trade or advertising without further compensation. Participants represent and warrant that they have full legal right, power and authority to grant ISTE the foregoing license and, if applicable, have secured all necessary rights from any participants in, and contributors to, their submission in order to grant such a license.

ISTE is under no obligation to use any submission or return submissions to participants.

Use of contest information. All entries become the property of ISTE, and ISTE reserves the right to use any and all information related to the contest, including submissions provided by the contestants, for editorial, marketing and any other purpose, unless prohibited by law.

Not endorsed by social media platforms. By participating in this contest, you acknowledge that this contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, any social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, and release all social media platforms from any and all liability arising from or related to this contest. You are providing all information for this contest to ISTE and not to any social media platform.

Conduct. All contest participants agree to be bound by these official rules. ISTE in its sole discretion reserves the right to disqualify any person we deem to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of its website, or to otherwise be in violation of these rules.

Limitations of liability. ISTE is not responsible for late, lost or misdirected entries or for any computer, online, telephone or technical malfunctions that may occur. If for any reason the contest does not run as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention or technical failures of any sort, ISTE may cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the contest. Entrants further agree to release ISTE from any liability resulting from, or related to, participation in the contest.

Winners list. You may obtain the name of the winner by sending an email to by July 1, 2016.

#utedchat for 3/9 – Going Google

Here are the questions for tonight's #utedchat:

Q1 How has Google changed your life in the past 20 years?  How about your classroom?


Q2  GMail has changed communication for many of us.  Share some of your communication strategies with your students? Best practices?


Q3 Google maximizes the Cloud to help with collaboration – how are you using Google tools to collaborate with students?  with colleagues?


Q4  GAFE is growing nationally,  but teachers feel they need more training.  Share a GAFE tool you want to learn better and your PD plan to make that happen.


Q5  Google eliminates tools from time to time.  What is the one tool you can’t teach without?  Why is it so important to your classroom?


Q6 – Share your best Google tip or trick.  What’s one of your “game changers” for a GAFE tool?

Q7 – Google constantly adds new features to tools.  What’s something new you’re doing this year in your classroom?

Changing Face of PD

Years ago I attended my first educational conference.  It was amazing!  There were sessions on cutting edge technology tools that I could use with my students.  Keynote speakers who were in touch with the struggles and possibilities I was facing.  The chance to connect with old friends and meet new colleagues.  Conferences seemed to have it all for me.  I was hooked and couldn’t wait until the conference came around again a year later.

Therein lies the problem.  Conferences are great professional development tools but they have a limited reach.  No matter how big the conference – it can’t meet all teachers’ needs.  No matter how convenient the time and location – not all can attend.  Even the best conferences last for only a few days.  What are teachers supposed to do the rest of the year for PD?

Over the past few years there has been a dramatic shift in the professional development landscape.  One in which the individual teacher has the opportunity to take control over his/her learning.  No longer are teachers content to sit on the sidelines and wait for a great training to be scheduled by their district.  “Next year’s conference will be great but what can I do today?” is heard throughout the education world.

Here are three big things teachers are doing to take control over their own professional learning today:

1. Build your PLN with Twitter:  Twitter has changed the game for educators looking to connect with one another.  With a twitter account I can connect with educators from across the globe in seconds.  I don’t have to wait for a session at a conference to find great resources – I can turn to my PLN (Personal Learning Network) and find ideas and options for my classroom immediately.  

Here are some good ideas for building your PLN on Twitter:

  • Join with in your state or regional Twitter chat.  For many teachers Twitter can be overwhelming at first,  so connecting with people from your local area is a great way to learn from the people you know.  You can find a list of educational twitter chats from Jerry Blumengartem (@cybraryman) –  Once you join the chat, look to follow educators from your area.

  • Use Hashtags.  Twitter is a constant  information stream that can intimidate beginning users.  Searching for hashtags can filter out the noise and help you find the resources you’re looking for in your classroom.  Again, @cybraryman has provided a list of educational hashtags to help get you started –

  • Don’t just consume – share.  When starting with Twitter it’s great to find and learn from others.  You’ll find that there are tons of incredible educators willing to share resources with you.  To build your PLN you’ll want to contribute to the crowd.  Consider sharing a great article you just read, provide a testimonial of a website or tool you use, or contribute a great lesson idea that’s worked in your classroom.  Others will appreciate the information and your network will grow!

  • Don’t try to read everything.  You’ll never keep up.  Twitter is on 24/7 and you’ll never be able to digest every idea or comment.  Focus on learning one or two new things everyday and you’ll be ahead of the game.  Imagine a tool that can give you a couple ideas for your classroom everyday – amazing.

2.  Attend (or Start) an Edcamp:  Edcamps are one of largest growing movements in education right now.  This is a grassroots movement that empowers teachers and administrators to learn about the topics they want.  Rather than a traditional conference where the program is pre-determined well in advance of the event, an edcamp uses crowdsourcing to determine what topics will be covered at an edcamp.  It all happens during the first hour of the edcamp.  Any teacher can suggest the topic they want to learn and discuss by putting it on the idea board.  If others want to learn about that topic as well they simply add their names to the topic and a session is born.

Edcamps are popping up all over the country and because of their cost – FREE, they are putting learning back into the hands of educators.  You can learn more about the edcamps in your area by visiting the Edcamps Wiki (  There are edcamps coming up in regions across the US and abroad so find one that works for you.  Even better, if there isn’t one that meets your needs – start an edcamp for you and your colleagues! Get started with the basics at  I truly believe edcamps embody professional development at it’s finest – teachers learning from one another!

3.  Join a MOOC:  Many times you might think you have to pay tuition prices in order to take great online courses – not true!  Consider signing up for a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to learn about almost any subject you teach.  

Embed video ( Basic ideas for learning from a MOOC.
These courses are a great way to jump in and get high quality instruction for FREE.  Some great sources for MOOCs for teachers include: Cousera, edXonline, Canvasnet, and iTunesU.  The best part for many courses is that you can jump in and start learning today.  

Questions for #utedchat on 2/3

Partnering with Parents using Digital Tools

  1. What digital tools do you use to communicate with parents on a classroom, school, and/or district level?

  2. How do you encourage parents, teachers, and administrators who are reluctant to use social media to communicate?

  3. What tools do you use to share student work with parents and the larger school community?

  4. What tools do you use to facilitate parent conferences and volunteers?

  5. How do you draw parents and other community members to your school website and social media feeds?
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