Practical and Hands-On Ed Tech Rule at CUE Spring

If AccuWeather is even close to being right, it should be a balmy 80 degrees and clear in Palm Springs in mid-March compared to the estimated mid-50s with rain or snow for Seattle and Des Moines, low- and mid-40s for New York City and Chicago and high-30s for Anchorage. In other words, the latest Spring CUE Conference, which takes place in Palm Springs over Mar.14-16, 2019, Thursday through Friday, might be the optimal location -- and perfect weather -- to get your game on for education technology.

CUE, originally known as Computer-Using Educators, is a nonprofit membership organization that focuses on innovation in education

This year's event includes hundreds of sessions, with workshops, poster presentation, panels, playgrounds and numerous special events intended to help attendees try out ed tech in a friendly, supportive environment.

Among the many activities are these:

In two sessions, "Abraham Lincoln Was a Woman, and Other Fake News!" and "Saving Democracy: Educator's Survival Guide to Fake News Across the Curriculum," teachers will gain strategies for creating lessons that help students learn how to hunt down facts and primary sources.

For "Embedded Coaching: Bringing personalized PD to the Classroom," four members of the Buena Park School District ed tech team will share their approaches for delivering personalized learning to teachers that encourages them to embrace technology.

In "How Did They Do That: Live Events Across Our District," Modesto City Schools will lay out how to use Skype for Business and Nearpod to run live, collaborative sessions to "celebrate teacher success" and boost "cross-district collaboration." And "Badging and Micro-Credentialing for Adult Learners" The Stanislaus County Office of Education will explain how it uses badging in its professional development programs with "tremendous success."

Saddleback Valley Unified School District, which uses regular Saturday "summits" to enable teachers to learn from teachers conference-style, will share how it organizes these professional development days and what lessons it has learned from putting the events on in "Saturday Summits: Building Professional Learning Capacity."

Common Sense Education will be on hand, leading a panel on "District Digital Citizenship Exemplars," to share varied approaches for integrating digital citizenship with STEM, badging and "wellness and character" initiatives.

Google Expeditions is a collection of 900 virtual reality trips and 100 augmented reality tours that Google makes available free to classrooms. "VR in the Classroom: Exploring the Curriculum with Google Expeditions" will offer the basics for using Expeditions in STEAM lessons.

In "Design Thinking Integration for the 6-8 Humanities Classroom," two teachers from San Marcos Unified School District will share resources that help others create standards-based design thinking lessons for a middle school English language arts, history or art class; while in "Make History Come Alive!," a separate session, a teacher from the Corona-Norco Unified School District will show how to create "Forrest Gump" moments that place students into historic events.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) runs two programs, "Discover Tech Trek" and "Tech Savvy," to help girls drawn to STEM fields pursue their interests. STEM for Girls: Tech Trek, Tech Savvy and STEMpacks describes how teachers can find those programs in their area and make the contacts needed to involve their girls. Then, in "Inspiring Future Steminists," a panel of teachers will deliver strategies for getting more girls interested in STEM disciplines.

Computer science is about more than just coding, as "What Does Computer Science Look Like in K-5?" covers in its discussion of elementary CS.

In "Before Clicking 'I Accept' " tech experts from Manteca Unified School District will explore what teachers and administrators needed to understand about protecting student data privacy. And "Don't Steal That!" shares "copyright-friendly" resources for the classroom.

Buck Institute for Education will share tips and tools for facilitating "great" project-based learning in "PBL Tools to Rock Your Projects and Promote Equitable Student Learning Experiences."

Ever wondered how to use a green screen in the classroom? Poster session, "Green Screen Playground," will share tactics for implementing this simple technology into K-2. And "Lights, Camera, Action" will demonstrate how to produce weekly news bulletins in video form for elementary and middle schools.

Universal Design for Learning, which makes digital content more accessible for all students and users, will get coverage by CUE's Equity & Access Learning Network in "Putting UDL into Practice with G Suite."

Middle school and high school teachers will share how they've used the popular "rotations and stations" format from elementary school in their higher grades for getting students "moving, collaborating, and discussing" in "Rotate, Rotate, Switch."

Two educators from Vista Unified School District will share their "Crash Course in Design Thinking."

Five instructional coaches will lead discussions on "inspiring change, leading and coaching with empathy and helping all teachers integrate technology in their classrooms."

For those already conversant with Office 365, maybe "20 in 50" will appeal. Two Microsoft experts will share 20 ways artificial intelligence built into O365 can "revolutionize" productivity.

The "CUE STEAMpunk Playground" will allow attendees to try out augmented and virtual reality, robots, 3D design and printing, coding, programming and other forms for boosting creativity and engagement among students and take away quick ideas for integrating them into all grades.

Attendees will have eight opportunities during the conference to participate in a "CUE Escape Experience," a team-based active learning activity that takes place in the conference exhibit hall, intended to generate ideas for becoming district problem solvers who can design engaging PD.

Likewise, Apple Distinguished Educators will be on hand daily to show how Apple technology can be used to create content and digital learning experiences.

On opening day, a limited number of participants will be able to attend the "MIE Minecraft Academy," a free, multi-course workshop to show educators how to integrate this game into learning; "Breakout EDU," covered in one of those sessions, will show teachers how to use breakout boxes to study Native American history.

During the same timeframe people may also choose the "Microsoft O365 Teacher Academy," a free six-hour workshop designed to help teachers understand how the tools of Office 365 can be used for better learning outcomes -- including lesser known ones, such as Sway, OneNote and Class notebook.

Attendance at CUE is $359 per person until March 16 or until the event is sold out. A Saturday-only registration is $149. Groups who sign up at least five people (with or without participant names) get a sixth registration for free.

Learn more at the Spring CUE website.