From 2013: Edscape! Edscape! Edscape! (The Sequel)

Sarah Thomas, PhD
Jul 20, 2018 · 7 min read

What a day…I’m beat (but in the best possible way)!

I just got in the house about an hour ago, coming from New Milford High School in New Jersey, where they had their 4th (I think) annual Edscape conference. It was soooooo awesome! I think the exact phrase I kept tweeting over and over was, “it’s like Disney World…but for teachers!” No exaggeration. Now that I’m twenty-teen, I’ve stopped getting excited about things like birthdays. But nothing riles me up more than a good Edtech conference lol.

I figure that I’ll do this post Memento-style, because…well, why not? Let’s start at the end, and go backwards, shall we? *insert trippy time-travel music here*

11:50 PM October 19th, 2013

I am sitting in bed, blogging on my laptop, about how awesome my day was.


I am fast asleep in the back seat of a car, with my mouth hanging wide open, coming back from New Jersey. My family and I drove up together and stayed overnight. We stopped to get some gas and I got a scoop of cookies and cream from Hershey’s at a rest stop. Ok, I’ll spare you the rest of the minutiae.


OMG, I just met *another* member of my personal learning network (PLN) on Twitter, face-to-face! This is too cool! Three of us are standing in the now-empty auditorium, talking shop, but it feels like we are old friends. Developing a PLN is probably the best thing I’ve ever done for my career. I’ve learned new concepts that have revolutionized my teaching. Continuing to build and grow!


Just attended an awesome session on Augmented Reality (AR), delivered by a member of my PLN, who I’ve been learning with for over a year. She was so excited about the topic, and her enthusiasm was contagious. I can’t wait to try this with my students. AR means using technology that annotates (for lack of a better word) ordinary objects, and makes them more interactive. You can use it in education to add depth to your teaching, and it looks really fun! I’ve had Aurasma on my iPad for a while, but now I’m getting ideas on how to use it.

I made sure to also follow the co-presenter, who had some phenomenal examples of how she uses it with students. She is also a Yearbook Coordinator, and talked a little about adding AR this year. I heard someone mention that a few months ago (it was most likely her), and I was inspired to give it a shot as well. Now, I understand. I’m really excited about the possibilities.

Made a new connection with another session attendee, who is somewhat new to Twitter. I’m excited to have her in my PLN, because she teaches engineering. I’d love to learn more about how to apply some of those concepts to my Tech class.

I received information about an edcamp in November. I’m definitely hoping to come back to NJ and learn more great things!


Just wrapped up my session on flipping the classroom. I’m sitting at a desk, chowing down, because I took the lunch hour to set up for my presentation. This food is bomb-diggedy, but I need to hurry up because I’m already late for my next session.

The presentation went really well! There were 10 other educators in the room, teaching at the middle and high school level. Most were from NJ, but there was also a New Yorker in the room. I set up my camera in the back of the room to videotape myself, and hopefully put it online. We’ll see how that goes (ha!).

Anyway, back to the session. The consensus in the room was that most of them had heard of flipping, but wanted more information before they tried it themselves. Throughout the session, we had a dialogue of what flipping is, reasons to flip, and how to do it. After the session, I shared my presentation with participants through Google Drive. Speaking of Google, we spoke a little bit about how well Google apps for education can support the flipped model. I’ll be doing this presentation again in three weeks for Powering Up. I have, once again, caught the presenting bug.

Huge shoutout to a fellow PG educator for allowing me to show his YouTube channel on flipped ELA as part of my presentation. Sharing is caring!


Here we go. OMG…OMG…OMG…


Finally got the speakers to work, thanks to one of the session attendees. My brain was going a mile a minute, and I forgot to do something very simple. Like George said in his keynote speech, the smartest person in the room is…well, the room.


Got the Apple TV to work with my iPad. I switched over to my hotspot and it was smooth sailing.


Oh, crap. Nothing is working. I’m screwed.


Just grabbed a box lunch, and I’m making my way upstairs to set up. I’m paranoid that nothing will work and I’ll be screwed, since this is the first time I’m presenting via Apple TV.

Yay, they have a veggie option. It looks like it’s Wow, just ran into a member of my PLN in the hallway! It’s the same one who presented in Session 1 at 10:10. Big hugs all around.


Attending a session on how to create iBooks using iBooks Author. This is very timely, because I promised my students that I’m going to look into creating an eBook using their in-class poetry assignment that we did last week. I think it would be awesome to be in 6th or 7th grade, and be a published author. A member of my PLN sold me on the concept last year. Time to put it to work.

This is too cool. Now I know how to do it. My goal was to do one while sitting in the session, but I need Mountain Lion. It’s gonna take an hour to download. Grrrrr.


Just got out of Session One of being a connected educator. Two or three members of my PLN are on the panel, and I just followed the rest. This session is really making me think of the progress my school has made so far regarding technology. I’ve been there for six years, and teachers are now embracing tools such as document cameras, iPads, and SMARTBoards. It’s amazing how they have just thrown themselves into it. I am so thankful to work in a school with a supportive administration, where risk-taking is encouraged, particularly regarding technology. It makes all the difference in the world.

Next step: encourage my co-workers to get on Twitter and other social media, to grow their PLNs. Ed chats are the bomb!!!!

Made a new connection with the lady in front of me. (Spoiler: she attended my afternoon session, and messaged me afterwards, saying she was ready to try flipping in her classroom. Yay!)


A member of my PLN (PLN must be the acronym of the day lol) just wrapped up his keynote. He is a very engaging speaker. You want to laugh with him. You want to cry with him. He excites the crap out of you when it comes to technology innovations. I love the videos and anecdotes that he shared with us. I was backchannelling the entire time via Twitter, which was exploding with the #edscape hashtag. Backchannelling is the bomb. I need to start doing it with my kids again, but I’ll make sure they know that making “yo mama” jokes while I’m teaching is not the point.


Walking upstairs to the auditorium to get ready for the keynote speech. I ran into the principal of the school, who organized this whole thing. Big props to him for doing so. It is so well-designed, and the student guides are very helpful. Walking through the halls, you can tell how much the school as a whole has bought into educational technology. There are QR codes on the walls, each teacher seems to have a class website, and there’s an area right outside the cafeteria where, it seems, they do annoucements via TV. (Note to self: gotta get back on that project.) There is even a charging station for electronic devices on the cafeteria stage. I really hope that my district will switch to BYOD (bring your own device).


Sitting in the cafeteria, alone, going through the program for today’s conference. In the list of sessions, I’m putting stars next to the people whose names I recognize. I definitely want to hit the sessions of as many members of my PLN as possible, so that I can introduce myself. I think most of them know each other, since NJ seems to have a lot of tech conferences. However, I am a newbie here.

OMG, there are so many people here. I’m seriously going to have to step out of my shell and start making connections. I didn’t drive six hours not to. How, though? I suck at conversations. Hmmm…maybe I can use Twitter. I’m definitely not shy on social media. (I wonder how many of our students are like that?)


Leaving the hotel. Oh crap, #satchat went live at 7:30. I’m going to miss it, but I’m sure that I’ll make up for it by the connections I make today.


Woke up. Started getting ready.


Woke up. I’m hot.


Woke up. I’m cold.

2:15 AM

Just put the final touches on my presentation. Time for bed.

October 18, 2013 7:30 PM

Just got to the hotel. Time to polish my presentation for tomorrow. I have a few last minute ideas. Shouldn’t take more than an hour or so.

So, that’s pretty much it. I had such a great time. I absolutely cannot wait for the next conference, which is November 9th. It’s in my district…I’m so excited!!! I hope to return to NJ for their Edcamp next month. Thanks so much to everyone who made today such a positive experience. It’s way late, sooooo…goodnight!

Originally published at on July 20, 2018.