So Long May

Written by Andrew Clark on . Posted in Uncategorized

May is on it's way out and we are about to enter June. Some of you reading this are doing so from the comfort of your beach chair because you've had your last day of school, you said goodbye to your students, and you're on vacation (or you're getting close). Some of us are still in session participating in all kinds of end of the year activities. We've been helping students check out, and we've been crossing off several to-do's from our list so that we can catch our breath before summer work begins.

My own kids are counting down the days (and I say hours and minutes) until they complete another grade level and get to move on. They are thinking that they can shut down and relax for the next few months. They always act this way for about the first 48 hours, and then the dreaded "boredom" sets in. As a parent I can think of things for them to do and I offer suggestions and sometimes those suggestions turn into actual things that they need to do. This summer I'm going to have my kids work on the Wonderopolis summer activities. I'm hoping that being curious this summer they will learn and do more. I'm going to allow them to make more decisions about what it is that they want to learn, because as they get older they can decide more. I'm sure on our road trips this summer to the Rural Schools Conference in Cedar City we will enjoy some Brains On podcasts and we'll all learn together. 

I hope your summer is full of curiosity and wonder! Catch your breath for a minute have a delicious soda from one of those awesome soda shacks and get excited for all the good things that are coming up in the next few months!

Preparing for Summer!

Written by Sallie Warnecke on . Posted in Uncategorized

As summer is quickly approaching, it is a good idea to remember how to back up your data from your computer, ipad, and other technologies that you use during the year. A great place to back up data is in a cloud storage option, such as google drive. It's as simple as a drag and drop which doesn't require a lot of time. 

As we begin to think of summer, it's also a great time to look at some good resources out there that you can use during break and upon your return from summer break. Here's a brief list:

Haiku Deck – a great tool for creating slide shows with great graphics

eMaze – another great free resource for creating captivating slide shows – free resource for creating videos

PowToon – a free resource to create animated videos and presentations

beFunky – free collage maker

picMonkey – free collage maker

Have a great summer!


2017 UCET Award Winners

Written by Pam Turley on . Posted in Uncategorized

Congratulations to the following UCET Award winners announced during the opening session of the #UCET17 on Thursday, March 16, 2017, at the University of Utah.                                      


Rick is the Educational Technology Specialist at USBE, and has worked for decades at the state and national level. His reputation is impeccable.  He knows and is well respected by key national and state leaders.  He truly loves teaching an learning.  And to top it off, his personality is easygoing and fun. 
For the past several years, Rick leveraged his knowledge and was essential to the conception, crafting and documentation with districts to bring about the state Digital Teaching and Learning master plan.
Rick has served on the board of SETDA (State Educational Tech Directors Association) including a stint as the board chair where he interacted with national leaders promoting best practices of technology integration.



 OUTSTANDING LEADER: Cody Spendlove, Alpine School District

Cody Spendlove is the Ed Tech Curriculum Director in Alpine. He is the essence of leadership excellence. He is a champion of Alpine's teachers. He knows how to get folks in the boat and pulling the oars in the same direction. Working in Alpine District, Cody also benefits the state, He knows how to communicate about the role of public education and the value of ed tech.  One of the best things about Cody is that he is always willing to take time to talk and think through the tough ed tech issues Utah is facing at the district, region and state levels.
Cody earned his CETL (Certified Educational Technology Leader) three years ago. It's a national certification. The past two years he's been mentoring other Utah ed tech leaders and helping run the Utah CETL cohorts program where others are earning their national certification. He also helps conduct National CETL trainings.


 OUTSTANDING  EDUCATOR : Ben Smith, Rowland Hall

Ben kindled a passion for Computer Science at Rowland Hall after completing his masters in Instructional Design and Education Technology at the University of Utah. Several years ago, the CS offerings were limited and disconnected and Ben saw the opportunity in working with stakeholders throughout the school to begin to formulate a schoolwide CS curriculum.  
Ben was instrumental in forming a Computer Science track including AP courses and a Joy of Computing course. He has also developed an Arduino for Middle School course in which students explore the Internet of Things by creating projects using Arduino microcontrollers. This curriculum has been so successful, Ben has presented it in regional conferences over the last several years.
Ben was also integral to securing grant funding for a redesigned learning space which became the Middle and High School Makerspaces. Through Ben’s guidance, the space became a fruitful laboratory for design, creation, and innovation.

OUTSTANDING YOUNG EDUCATOR: Ashley Lennox, Draper Elementary

Ashley Lennox is an outstanding young educator who combines creativity, technology use, classroom management, and superior teaching skills to create a classroom where all students learn and achieve. Don't let her easy-going nature fool you — she is a skilled educator who knows how to reach each individual student. Ashley is first in line to write grants, implement new technology, and combine the tools she receives to improve her pedagogy and focus on educational priorities. For example, right now in her classroom Ashley has a Chromebook lab, iPads, an iPod Touch lab, a Sphero lab, and Makey Makey kits. Unlike in some classrooms, these tools don't just sit. Ashley uses these resources masterfully to engage her students in the curriculum in new ways and push beyond the traditional walls of the classroom. She also happens to have exercise balls for chairs, an iguana, a chameleon, a turtle, and an altogether interactive classroom and teaching style that encourages students to think, problem solve, and create. When entering her classroom, what becomes instantly obvious is the passion Ashley has for teaching and learning and the love she has for her students. She motivates, encourages, and inspires.

UCET 2017 Award Nominees

ISTE Making it Happen

  • Ben Smith, Rowland Hall
  • Rick Gaisford, USBE
  • Bri Pela, Provo School District
  • Deborah Morgan, Sevier School District
  • Dallas Gledhill, Provo School District

Outstanding Leader

  • Courtney Johnson, Alpine School District
  • Jamie Hagan, Wasatch School District
  • Bret McCabe, Provo School District
  • Brett Zabell, Wasatch School Disrict
  • Sarah Weston, Mountain Heights Academy
  • Cody Spendlove, Alpine School District
  • Tim Smith, Cache County School District
  • Sam Mitchell, Granite School District
  • Joe Keddington, Good Foundations Academy

Outstanding Teacher

  • Kim Parsons, South Sevier School District
  • Landon Ashcroft, InTech Collegiate High School
  • Keenan Hart, Iron County School District
  • Kelly Witkowski, Odgen School District
  • Staci Rodriguez, Salt Lake City School District
  • Richard Peterson, South Sanpete School District
  • Wendy Radke, South Summit School District
  • Daniel Potter, Alpine School District
  • Matt Hiatt, Provo School District
  • Angie Frabasilio, Washington County School District
  • Cindy Butterfield, South Summit School District
  • Scott Brady, South Sevier School District
  • Ben Smith, Rowland Hall High School

Outstanding Young Educator

  • Jeremiah Tijerina, Dixon Middle School
  • Matthew Rhees, North Sevier Middle School
  • Amanda Lotine,  Old Mill Elementary School
  • Ashley Lennox, Draper Elementary School
  • Jordann Vaha, Manti High School
  • Danae Huizenga, Canyons School District
  • Stuart Baggaley, Edith Bowen Laboratory School

Momentum Chrome Extension

Written by Tricia Jackson on . Posted in Uncategorized

Momentum is a Chrome extension. It provides a beautiful picture in a new tab, has a daily quote and offers a few widgets for customization. More information can be found at

They also offer a Plus version that offers some integrations, countdowns and notes.

"What integrations are supported? Todo integrations: Trello, Todoist, Wunderlist, Google Tasks. Metric integrations: Fitbit Steps and Todoist Karma. Next integration: Asana."

For the Love of the Tech

Written by Michael Hakkarinen on . Posted in Uncategorized

Remember the LiveScribe Pen?  That was a great tool.  For about a year, and then it was an expensive fad.  What about SmartBoards?  Or did you prefer Promethean ActivBoards?  Epson BrightLink?  Maybe you were the first teacher in your school to get an iPad?  You probably felt like the coolest teacher in the school.  For about a year.  And then the iPad2 came out with dual cameras, a faster processor, and a nicer body shape that was both lighter and easier to carry around.

As new technology comes out it’s easy to fall in love with a new gadget, device, or piece of software.  The problem with this industry, however, is that a new item seems to become available every 15-20 seconds.  From MacBooks to MacBook Airs to MacBook Pros to MacBook Woes, you’re lucky to have the “new thing” for an entire calendar year.  

The problem with these fickle waves of technological advancements is that we sometimes go a step farther than falling in love with a new device.  Sometimes we get married to it.  This is exceptionally dangerous in our dynamic fast paced work place.  It’s not uncommon to see arguments break out between EdTechs that prefer Smart Notebook to Promethean ActivInspire.  Support specialists are quick to judge users in their school by whether they have a Droid phone or an iPhone.  iPhone User!?!?  Ever heard this – “You must be an “Apple Fan Boy”, I can’t help you, you’re a Mac User, you don’t think like me.”

These divisive forces can quickly tear apart a team of educators.

So how do we keep an open mind about all the possibilities that exist to help us do our jobs?  How do we balance “falling love” with “making an informed decision” as we select technology for our schools?  

The answer is in our questions.  As we look at the technology that is being purchased for schools we need to consider three specific “ingredients” to ensuring it’s success. Conveniently, these ingredients come in “cans” –

  1. Can the current infrastructure support this

  2. Can we afford to maintain this item?

  3. Can the item connect to curriculum.

The reality, however, is that unlike with marriage, there is rarely one simple answer.  Instead, we may have to look at more than one device.  An iPad, for example, is an excellent device for our younger students in Pre-K, Kindergarten, and grades 1-2.  But when a student starts more complex writing activities and doing more online research it might be time for a Chromebook.  And then, when the third-sixth graders move on to secondary schools they may need more robust machines like Windows based laptops or MacBooks.

To make matters, worse, if the support structures like a strong wifi network and ample funding for professional development aren’t in place then there’s pretty much no chance of any money spent on buying technology having any positive impact on student learning what so ever.

The only magic answer is this – be open.  Be open to trying new things.  Be open to thinking outside of the box with technology.  Be open to working with other school districts who may have had experiences beyond your scope.  Be open to sharing.  Be open to listening.

Listen to your administrators, curriculum specialists, teachers, special education teachers, and most importantly – listen to the students.