The Stupidest Remote Teaching Ideas (and Why They're Actually Pretty Smart!)

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Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Steve Dembo  
Phil Hintz  
Carl Hooker  
Jackie Patanio  
Dr. Adam Phyall  
Andrew Wallace  

There are many technology trends that seem asinine at first but become incredibly popular. What is it about certain technologies that turn them into viral sensations? From Alexa to drones, Pinterest to Pokemon, we'll explore stupidly awesome trends... and how they can make in-person, virtual or hybrid classrooms more awesome!

Audience: Coaches, Library media specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Just Wi-Fi Access is needed!
Topic: Innovative learning environments
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Education Leaders:
Empowering Leader
  • Support educators in using technology to advance learning that meets the diverse learning, cultural, and social-emotional needs of individual students.
For Educators:
  • Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.
  • Establish a learning culture that promotes curiosity and critical examination of online resources and fosters digital literacy and media fluency.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

When an application or topic becomes trendy, it is common for educators to jump in and try to find a way to force them into the curriculum. We'll explore current trends and how they can be implemented into the learning environment. There are so many trending topics to explore, we'll try to focus on topics that are somewhat controversial in the edtech space (such as things like wearables and 'smart' furniture). We'll draw from our own experiences with them, but also share how educators are applying the trends into their own classrooms. This session will be fast paced, humorous and represent a global perspective to educational trends.


Participants will be taken through a tour of recent education trends, both popular and obscure. We'll review the trend, and then proceed to break down how educators are making use of it. For example, Pokemon Go is still wildly popular amongst youth and educators are finding creative ways to integrate it into the classroom (such as using it to teach probability). We'll explore how the trend is being used and whether the use is legit for the long term or just a fad. If legit, we'll provide ample examples of how educators are using each technology in classrooms. The specific topics will vary based on what is trending at the time of the conference, but will likely include Augmented Reality, App based scavenger hunts, Pokemon Go, gamification in general and various social networks (including Snap Chat). Audience participation will be encouraged, by allowing them to vote whether they feel a trend is legit or bunk in the long run.

Supporting research

Sustaining Digital Literacy - Wilkes University

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Steve Dembo, Western Springs, District 101
Phil Hintz, Niles Township School District 219

Phil Hintz is the new Director of Student Information for Barrington School District 220 in Illinois. In June 2015, Phil was the recipient of ISTE’s Outstanding Leader Award, in Philadelphia. In 2016, Phil made the list of the National School Boards Association’s “20 to Watch” in Edtech for 2016. In 2015, Phil collaborated with the team at Gurnee District 56 to be inducted into League of Innovative Schools by Digital Promise. In 2017, Phil helped Gurnee to earn the coveted ISTE Distinguished District Award. Recently, Phil was the 2019 Withrow CTO of the Year for Consortium of School Networking (CoSN).

Carl Hooker, HookerTech LLC

Carl Hooker has been part of the educational shift that includes technology integration since becoming an educator. During his 22 years in education, he’s been a teacher, virtualization coordinator and director of innovation, always focused on ensuring students drive their own learning. As director of innovation and digital learning at Eanes Independent School District in Texas, Hooker helped spearhead the launch of the Learning & Engaging Through Access & Personalization program (LEAP), which put 1:1 iPads in the hands of all K-12 students in his 8,000-student district. His unique blend of educational background, technical expertise and humor make him a driving force for this change. Hooker is the author of a six-book series for ISTE titled Mobile Learning Mindset. The books focus on each education stakeholder and the role they play in a successful mobile learning initiative. He also recently launched a self-paced online course called “The Remote Learning Coach.” In addition to his work as an author and district leader, Hooker is also a keynote speaker and consultant through his company HookerTech LLC, and an adviser to edtech startup companies. He’s been named Tech & Learning Magazine’s Leader of the Year, and is a member of the Apple Distinguished Educator class of 2013. He’s also the host of ISTE’s “Learning Unleashed” podcast and Future Ready’s “UnDisrupted” Podcast.

Dr. Adam Phyall, Future Ready Schools

Adam Phyall, Ed.D., is a former high school science teacher and the current director of technology and media services for Newton County School System in Georgia. Since getting his first laptop in college, Phyall has been hooked on the fantastic things technology can add. Early in his teaching career, Phyall began having students create videos and podcasts to explain advanced science concepts. Once he saw the impact technology had on learning in his classroom, he began to share his activities and strategies with his peers. This led to him becoming a building instructional technology leader and then a technology facilitator. Throughout his career, Phyall has worked extensively with Title I and urban schools to improve technology integration for economically disadvantaged students. He has planned and developed mobile learning plans for school districts in Georgia and Missouri that led to 1:1 device initiatives. His philosophy on teaching is, “If you’re having fun teaching it, then your students will have fun learning it.”

Andrew Wallace, South Portland Schools

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