Thursday, October 29, 2015

Resource Roundup! Key Takeaways from Collaborating and Connecting at Conferences!

October was Connected Educator Month (#CE15) and wow, did we get connected! We started the month with a #TOSAChat all about the importance of connecting with other educators and came away with lots of tips on how to get and stay connected. You can read all about that chat here. We ended October with a bang and chatted about the power of building your professional learning network through presenting at and attending conferences! As we attended Edcamps, GAFE Summits, Fall CUE, and more we connected, collaborated and curated resources to share. So in true #TOSAChat form we had another fast and furious whirlwind of awesome that ended with a resource sharing extravaganza! View the storified chat to get a good dose of all the #eduawesome.

Powerful Presenters

Having an engaging, passionate and energetic presenter makes a session awesome. So #TOSAChat tweeps started the chat by giving a shout out to their Favorite Conference Presenters. Take a look, lots of great people to follow! 

MUST Attend Conferences

Some conferences come VERY highly recommended from #TOSAChat! Here are a few to consider checking out if you haven't already. Did we leave some off the list? Please share any other MUST attend conferences in the comments!

  • CUE RockStar, CUE Black Label TOSA Edition and CUE Admin. Find all the great locations and more at or
  • FallCUE in October in Napa, CA . Even if you didn't attend you can still see all of the session descriptions and presenter resources at
  • National CUE (Computer Using Educators) conference in Palm Springs (March 17-19 2016)
  • Edcamps are happening all over the world, all the time. Check out the complete list to find an EdCamp near you!
  • NCTE15 (National Council of Teachers of English) is coming up on November 19-22 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) will be in Denver, Colorado in 2016 from June 26-29. Check out Even if you can't attend you can still be "at" the conference by following #notatISTE and by joining the Not At ISTE Google+ community. Follow Craig Yen (@CraigYen) to get the Not at ISTE details for this year's conference.
  • Google Edu On Air is a full two day conference with Keynote speakers and many, many fabulous sessions to choose from. You can view the sessions and access session materials from last year's conference at
  • Google For Education (GAFE) Global Summits are happening often all over the world. Check out to find one coming up near you.
  • Confratute is a combined CONFerence, instiTUTE and FRATernity at the University of Connecticut. Confratute is scheduled for July 10-15, 2016.
  • The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) is coming up on November 12-15, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. You can learn more about NAGC and register for the conference at
  • The Flipped Learning Network offers and annual Flipped Conference (FlipCon). Registration for Virtual FlipCon 2015 is still open and the archives are available for unlimited viewing through December 2015.
  • Looking for more? Check out this list of K-12 Educational Technology Conferences from EdSurge (@edsurge) shared by Matthew Binder (@BinderBytes)


We ended #TOSAChat with a fantastic crowdsourcing session! The members of #TOSAChat, along with other fabulous connected educators, shared ideas, tips, resources, and more. Take a look at all their awesome ideas, snag one, then copy a blank slide and share yours! Don't forget to add your name, twitter handle, links to any/all resources and a shout out to where you got the idea from. Once you're done follow all of these brilliant educators. You already know they share great stuff!

#TOSAChat Resource Roundup Google Slides Presentation

#TOSAChat was started by Ben Cogswell (@Cogswell_ben), Joe Young (@Jyoung1219), Kelly Martin (@kmartintahoe) and myself  as a way for Teachers On Special Assignment to connect, share and grow together. Check out to view past chats, storify links and upcoming questions. You can join us at 8PM PST on Monday nights.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Blended Learning: The What, Where, When, Why and How

Blended learning is a topic that I am becoming familiar with and love learning more about so when Ari Flewelling (@edtechari) offered to be the first guest moderator of #TOSAChat, choosing blended learning as her topic, I was very excited. As always #TOSAChat was a tornado of edu awesome ideas, resources, tips and tricks from blended learning experts and newbies alike! 


Susan Stewart (@TechCoachSusan) described blended learning well as "combining traditional instruction and online content/instruction". Blended learning can happen in different ways, S Kong (@SKong81) shared a useful infographic he created that describes the various blended learning models. Edutopia also has many useful articles, videos and links about blended learning instruction which you can see here


There are lots of options to use when implementing blended learning but Schoology (shared by Ryan O'Donnell @creativeedtech) and Google Classroom (shared by Darin Anderson @coachdarin22) were both given the #TOSAChat stamp of approval as easy to use platforms for blended learning instruction. Schoology is a popular Learning Management System (LMS) while Google Classroom is a Google Drive Management System* and they can and are used separately or together to provide blended instruction. Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler) has an informative blog post on using Google Classroom with an LMS.

*Updated: According to Alice Keeler, Google Classroom is neither an LMS or a CMS. Read Alice's blog post on the subject.  


Blended learning can happen in any subject and in any grade level (yes EVEN kinder!) and a popular idea mentioned many times in #TOSAChat is to provide blended learning before, during and after professional development. The idea of flipping PD is not new, check out this April 2014 article from +EdSurge"The Flipped Side of Professional Development" by Kristin Daniels (@kadaniels). However, the concept is new to many and Kristi Forsythe (@techyTwinMom) reminds us of the importance of modeling blended learning for other educators so that they can see what it looks like.  


I agree with Scott Padway (@ScottPadway) on this one and will defer to the Blended Learning expert, Catlin Tucker (@Catlin_Tucker), who explains her journey into blended instruction in this YouTube video. She has a fantastic book, Blended Learning Grades 4-12 which you can buy on Corwin Press or Amazon.


My fabulous #TOSAChat blog challenge buddy Amanda Haughs (@MsHaughs) just recently posted "Thinking about blending instruction? Tips for getting started!" I especially love her advice to not "expect things to go perfectly the 1st time... or the 2nd, or the 3rd". 

As for resources Amanda recommends Edmodo, PBS Learning Media, Khan Academy and LearnZillion. Darin Anderson (@coachdarin22) gave a shout out to Versal which works well with Google Classroom. For assessment in a blended learning environment Ari Flewelling (@edtechari) and Susan Stewart recommended Google Forms, Ed Puzzle, Haiku Learning, Go Formative, Kahoot, Scoot Pad and Illuminate Education

MANY, MANY, MANY more resources were shared in #TOSAChat. Check out the full storify by Joe Young (@jyoung1219here.

A big, HUGE thank you to our very first guest moderator, Ari Flewelling +Ari Flewelling, (@edtechari) for hosting a fabulous #TOSAChatAri Flewelling is a Tech Coach in SoCal, IA CUE President, former high school English Teacher,  w/MA in EdTech &  Demo Slam Winner. So grateful to have such an incredible resource in our #TOSAChat PLN!

#TOSAChat was started by Ben Cogswell (@Cogswell_ben), Joe Young (@Jyoung1219), Kelly Martin (@kmartintahoe) and myself as a way for Teachers On Special Assignment to connect, share and grow together. Check out to view past chats storify links and upcoming questions. You can join us at 8PM PST on Monday nights.