Innovating Digital Learning with Carl Hooker

Episode 19 | The Creatively Connected Classroom Podcast

Innovating Digital Learning with Carl Hooker

By |2019-01-18T13:42:49+00:00January 24th, 2019|


Innovation isn’t just about the next cool tech tool or gadget. In this episode, Carl Hooker joins Team Grundler in a discussion about what digital learning really means and how it’s affecting innovation in our schools.

Show Transcript

Matt Grundler: Alright everybody, hey, this is Matt and Laura and welcome to the Creatively Connected Classroom. Today we have our-

Laura Grundler: I’m throwing things. It’s our first podcast recording of 2019 and I’m throwing things at my husband.

Matt Grundler: We have an awesome guest with us today by the name Carl Hooker. We’ve known him and had the pleasure of knowing him for a good couple years now, just can’t wait to find out more and talk to you.

Laura Grundler: Yeah, we’re thrilled to have you because we feel like … Before we were actually recording you were talking about our little tagline is “One glue stick connecting everyone” that kind of thing, but I feel like you’re the glue.

Carl Hooker: Aw, wow.

Laura Grundler: It’s true.

Carl Hooker: I am a little sticky, that’s for sure. I’ve been told that many a time. I was gonna … See what I did?

Laura Grundler: Yeah. We feel like seriously, if you’ve listened to the podcast over … really from the beginning, when it started with Tech Rabbi and a lot of the connections we made, and a personal friend of ours, Chris Parker, who you’re connected to, it’s that six degrees of separation and we just felt like we had to have you on the podcast because you really have connected so many different people together and you have so many great ideas and we just want to hear more about that.

Laura Grundler: I don’t know if Matt and I have even heard your back story, but we’d like to hear a little bit about your back story.

Carl Hooker: Well a couple things, first of all, Chris Parker, you mentioned him, so he and I taught first grade together 16 years together I think, and we shared a bathroom together, actually our classrooms connected. We were the only two male teachers in that room and he actually ended up moving in with me for a little while. We were roommates. He introduced me to y’all. So he said, “You got to meet these crazy art teachers, the Grundlers, and you got to get them to come up to iPad Palooza,” I’ll talk a little bit about that too. I thank Chris for that. He’s still out there kicking butt and taking names with art over there. 

Laura Grundler: Yes, he’s amazing. We will definitely have to have him on too. Yeah.

Carl Hooker: Yeah. Me, I started out as … I went to school to be an engineer, decided that was a totally wrong field for me, so I switched to the most opposite thing I could think of, which was drama, believe it or not, and I have a face for radio, so that didn’t really work out either. But the drama part does play, because I’m able to use it on the stage and do training and PD for staff, but I switched to elementary education, was a fifth grade teacher, first grade teacher for a long time, and I then became kind of like a computer lab teacher for a little bit in a low economic part of town here in Austin, and then moved around and got to Eanes IC where I’m at now [inaudible 00:03:07]. That was in 2006. Been there ever since, kind of moved my way up to the tech department, now I’m in this position now I’m Director of Innovation and Digital Learning which is kind of like an instructional tech director.

Carl Hooker: But the true story there is I did change my … I changed my title on an e-mail signature and made business cards for myself without any permission because you know, sometimes better to ask for forgiveness instead of permission.

Laura Grundler: Yeah.

Carl Hooker: So that worked about three months and then I got called into Superintendent’s office, and she said “What’s this title change about? This takes a board action”. I was like “Oh, just … I didn’t want the word technology in my title anymore, so I changed it.” They ended up keeping it, and they changed a few other titles around, but yeah we need updates and stuff so it worked out well and I’ve got a great team at Eanes where Lisa Johnson @TechChef4u, you guys probably know, Jennifer Floods, @Floodedu, there’s who else … my gosh … Chris Hanson, I mean there’s a lot, my team is an all star staff. I’ve been recruiting them, I had Tim Yenca for the longest time now, Cathy Yenca who’s his wife @mathycathy is on Twitter a lot … she works at one of the middle schools with us, so we have a dream team.

Carl Hooker: A lot of ADE’s, a lot of Apple Distinguished Educators, I think five of us now including Laura Wright, art teacher at Eanes Elementary where my kids go to school, so, bring it all full circle speaking of the glue. It’s all about those guys at the end, and so for me everything I’ve done in this job it directly impacts my own kiddos. Because I know whatever I do, whatever decisions you make up top, it’s going to affect them in the classroom so I have a K, a first and a fourth grade girl, all girls. All with the last name Hooker. Pray for them.

Carl Hooker: That brings us back, so- 

Laura Grundler: There’s this. I mean, I know for Matt and I, our kids, we have three as well, that we’re always thinking about how everything we do affects them in the long term, in the big picture. So what decisions have you made in your position that you really feel have directly impacted your three?

Carl Hooker: I think we’ve had one-to-one iPads since 2011, so one of the longest K-12 programs out there with iPads, and I know that the Chromebooks kind of came and hit huge in 2014, but see now they’re … I think 70% market share, and we just did a re-up recently, we’ve done it twice now where we re-evaluated. “Is this where we want to go? And I think we looked at Chromebooks again, but back to kind of a thinking about creativity and the angle of the district in terms of creativity and innovation, we really want that iPad to be the basic device and so decisions made, and luckily Apple, well thank you Google, but Apple’s dropped the price quite a bit on their iPads.

Laura Grundler: Yeah.

Carl Hooker: So the new one, the pen-enabled one which I love, in fact I got one for each of my kids for Christmas, or I should say Santa did, I got each of them the pen-enabled iPad, it was like $250 at Target and my eldest, whose really into art right now so I got her, I think it is a pencil. I did the Logitech, because I want to try that out.

Laura Grundler: I’m very curious about that.

Carl Hooker: Yeah, so part of it is doing things for them at the school level but also I use them to kind of experiment on “well, let’s see how this works with kids.”

Laura Grundler: They’re the kid guinea pigs.

Matt Grundler: They are the guinea pig.

Carl Hooker: Yeah!

Laura Grundler: We might have some experience with that as well.

Matt Grundler: We may or may not have done that several-

Carl Hooker: Well, I mean it’s hard not to take the work home, right? That’s, I think most of the decisions we make, and I substitute teach every year in my daughter’s classes just to … well it’s two reasons, one is I feel like administrators need to get out of their offices and get into classrooms more to see what changes, what things they’re doing, and how they’re affecting the classroom. But also, I get to teach again which I love, I teach little kids, so I sub for my teachers and let them take the day off, or half day off, during teacher appreciation week, as just like a thank you for them because time is a big thing at that part of the year in May and I love it. This year it’ll be my first year doing three, that’ll be interesting. Kinder one day, and then first, and then fourth but it’s fun. I like to see that. Now when they get to Middle School I don’t know what’s going to happen.

Carl Hooker: Middle school is a weird world, man, I don’t know but yeah. I think a lot of things we’re doing we’re trying to think future ready for them, and that’s getting them prepped for middle school. How old are y’all’s kids?

Matt Grundler: We have twelve, eight and six.

Laura Grundler: So first grade-

Carl Hooker: That’s similar.

Laura Grundler: Third grade, and sixth grade.

Matt Grundler: We just entered the middle school world, our oldest just started sixth grade and actually I moved to middle school this year, so I’m teaching middle school as well.

Laura Grundler: Yeah, Daddy moved with our oldest and it’s been a really good transition for both. I will say-

Carl Hooker:  Stares for her Dad, probably but-

Laura Grundler: Yeah, a little bit. The girls actually were more sad that Daddy’s not at their school anymore.

Matt Grundler: Yeah.

Carl Hooker: Aw, yeah.

Matt Grundler: Last year was the last year that I had all three of my kids together, and so we went to school together, came home together and so … but at least we get to end the day, where I’m actually split between two middle schools and so where I end my day is where, nearby the girls elementary school and my son’s middle school, so we just kind of all end up there and we’re home in five minutes which is nice.

Carl Hooker: I love that. That’s an awesome, I mean, can’t trade that in for anything. To have that time of their lives where you’re actually both at home, but also teaching them, then letting other people kind of teach them, too.

Matt Grundler: Yeah.

Carl Hooker: I’ve been with my kids for, I guess the last sixteen days now straight so I’m ready for school, right? Now I know what those parents are like “here, you can have them, good luck.” Yeah. I love you, but only for a little while.

Matt Grundler: I can only handle so many hours in the day.

Carl Hooker: Yeah.

Matt Grundler: Yeah, for sure.

Carl Hooker: It’s been pretty neat, we’re doing a film festival, too, and that was another thing I was gonna bring up at some point, I think it’s to bring up during the chat ’cause thank you all for letting me host that chat last month, too. So we’re doing a film festival, this one’s only Eanes this year but we’ve opened it up in the past previous years, so full-on National film festival, mostly with mobile devices that’s kind of our encouragement. We give bonus points if you do the whole thing on a mobile device, make your original soundtracks so I was really working, hoping my kids when they got their new iPads would be alright “Let’s start thinking about concepts,” ’cause each one of them can submit a film this year.

Carl Hooker: A couple of them are interested, one of them I’m kind of pushing a little bit into it but we’ll see how that goes, ’cause we have until Spring Break to get that done but another great way, I mean it’s the camera, I mean what a basic tool and app, right? But use it in art all the time, just screencast to find things, I mean that’s just a big part of that.

Matt Grundler: Absolutely loved that new feature of screencasting, I’ve done quite a few teaching demos that I recorded of-

Laura Grundler: Drawing.

Matt Grundler: Teachers will be like “well how do you use this app?” Or “how do you use that app?” And so I’ll record a little demo of how to use it and then send it to him and he was like “Oh my gosh, it makes so much sense!”

Laura Grundler: And for art teachers, art teachers … the ones that have really embraced it and figured it out, they can do screencasts of how to draw something and give kids basic ideas. And then that gives that child instead of seeing it once with the teacher on the stage, where they’re just doing it one time for them, they can go back in the Google Classroom and re-watch it, and re-watch it and it’s “Oh, okay I understand what a contour line really is.”

Laura Grundler: But I guess going back to your chat, the fear of technology … I, as a coordinator in a similar … Where I worked with art teachers, not technology, but I’m pretty tech forward, and I’m trying to get them to embrace the tech as a tool to make their lives easier, but I still see a lot of resistance. What are your feelings on that, and how do you help people pass that?

Carl Hooker: So resistance from the teachers or from the community?

Laura Grundler: Teachers. Not community, I think in art especially, I think there’s this fear of letting go of analog, that if we embrace tech too much that we’re not taking our traditional art forms forward, so it might be a little bit different in the art world than maybe other subject areas, but I do feel like they just-

Matt Grundler: Fear is fear.

Laura Grundler: They just … or its a resistance, “I just don’t have time to learn something new”, you know.

Carl Hooker: Right. Maybe use, again the camera being the ultimate tool for us, but you know it started with that. A few years ago I had an art teacher, Jesse Hanson, who introduced us to Artsonia, and really just started using that as a portfolio to keep our … keep just capturing kids work, they bring in their iPad, not every day but, when they’d have their art rotation they’d come in and capture some of work on Artsonia.

Carl Hooker: My daughter was actually this morning was showing me a book that she … something she had drawn and captured just on paper, pencil the traditional paper, pencil, colored pencil, in art class and then captured it, put it in Artsonia. My mother had actually bought it as a notebook for her, it’s her drawing book now, because at Artsonia that’s how they make money of course, right? Breathing-ish, so I mean even just that as a substituted tool in some ways is a great way to do it.

Carl Hooker: The other things I’ve seen that are starting to kind of make headway is, well, I was just in a class right before the break where a teacher said “Okay, bring in your iPads.” This was second grade, but they were doing a class on … they were learning about birds, I think it was something they were doing in science also, in their second grade classroom. The Art teacher connected with the second grade teachers, so we’re going to have them kind of diagram and draw.

Carl Hooker: And so he showed them just kind of paper and pencil how to do it on a big screen, and then had them take their iPads out and just use it as a research tool, and say alright go to a kid friendly website like Pebblego, look up different images of birds, and I want you to find the one that you’re studying on, and I want you to recreate it paper pencil so kind of, again the tool’s an assist, it’s not going to take over the world, gonna do everything, and nor do I think they should use it every single day in art class, I just think it does have some little things like that, it just kind of breaks it in.

Carl Hooker: Because you’re not going to get to the lower ride we talked about before we came on who’s an ADE at Eanes Elementary and she’s amazing, but one of the things she does, she’s really pushing the envelope I mean she’s using, I don’t know if you all were at the iPad Palooza where she did that, but she put out a big canvas essentially and had different people come and drive tear, she dipped them in paint and she did a mural. Just gorgeous, and she has all of her classes do that and I think she’s also pushing the boundary with AR a little bit, she’s starting to get more into Augmented Virtual Reality-

Laura Grundler: So many cool things out there.

Carl Hooker: I just got a … One of my Christmas toys I told you I’d told you I’d talk about was an Oculus Go, which … That thing for a couple hundred bucks … It’s all in one. It has the computer in it. I’ve only had it for a couple of weeks or so, and just watching the kids interact with it for a little bit, it’s amazing to think … Cause there’s a tilt brush in there where you can actually paint in 3D, and it’s amazing to think where that’s gonna go, not just for art, but in just in technology in general.

Carl Hooker: I’ll probably test it out on them a little bit, but for a couple hundred bucks now. It’s pretty cheap, you can have total virtual world at your fingertips, and you look like you’re in a 97 story building about to fall off a cliff. The are pretty scary, but I think that’s gonna be an interesting thing for the future. For the art guys again, back to your original question, I think start with small things: using the camera, capturing, cataloging portfolios. And then using it also for research, using either even a Chromebook, or an iPad, or something, that it can gather research, throw up an image and then try to do some free hand of it.

Laura Grundler: Awesome. I have a former student who’s working on some grad work in he did a VR gallery where you could walk through the gallery of his students work. That was amazing. I just think that there’s gonna be so many applications for VR and AR. I just think it’s all …

Carl Hooker: I just seen an AR maker app, AR MAKR. I think I put it in the chat. I have the guys name. He was in Australia, but he showed it to me originally. He was using keynote, on an iPad. You know you can make your own icons in keynote, you can draw your own, or create your own, and then you save … He had no backgrounds on em, and then he saved them as PNG files essentially. But on iPad you can do the dual screen and drag them into your camera roll, and once they’re in the camera roll, and they’re images, that they have no background. And he pulled up AR MAKR, and he photographed his table, or whatever. He held it up, and you can place the objects on this grid and then if you look around with your iPad, walk around the object in the 3D view. It was pretty neat. You can probably do almost a similar thing, even with a drawing that you did on paper. Take out the background with Instant Alpha and then make it a PNG, drop it in to AR Space somehow.

Carl Hooker: And again, you guys are the art minds, you would know better than me, but I feel like that’s another level of engagement. It’s not just tech for tech’s sake, but it’s pretty highly engaging too to get them interested in what does it look like from a different perspective, which is a big thing in art, right?

Laura Grundler: Absolutely. Placement of the object is huge.

Matt Grundler: Well, I guess, kind of thinking about that, I mean, we’ve talked about just in the art room. What’s your take on having technology, cause you just said tech for tech’s sake. How do you have that in creative classrooms. I’m not sure if I’m wording this right.

Laura Grundler: I think what you’re saying, if I can interpret, is . In a creative classroom what are the ways of not just having technology for tech’s sake, but really … And thinking beyond art, but thinking having creativity in all classrooms. What are the things you really must have to make that happen in a really meaningful way?

Carl Hooker: I think it’s a balance. I think there’s this line, this continuum of creativity and consumption with technology. And I think when we introduced most devices, iPads of course, because they were seen as consumptive devices. I think that’s just one thing that everyone goes to. And so for us, in our school, and this is hard because there’s a sweet spot in there But for us we really talk to teachers about having that sweet spot, and not just saying okay go sit over there on that device and do your math problems repetitively on an app. Which is good for some extension, but not like as just a teaching tool in general.

Carl Hooker: And now go over here and make an iBook. Use Book Creator to create a story around the american revolution and you’re gonna make your own graphic novel. It’s really that blend of there are some little quick things you can do, and those are gonna be your consumptive items, you know, the little consumptive apps. But in the longer projects is where they’ll use the creative side of it. So we really preach what we call the evergreen apps. I think I stole that from Sean Richards, or somebody, I don’t know who. And his app is one of them. Explains everything, which is [inaudible 00:17:09] app, that’s one Book Creator. Bold is something that we use for digital portfolios, that’s on all our devices now. Google drive, of course, google docs and all those. But really just sticking with a core of about eight to ten of those … They can be used for anything, any subject area and really just promoting those heavily and showing how their used.

Carl Hooker: And is a blend of all, and we use that as our … It’s also been a little bit of a carrot for some teachers that are struggling. It’s like “Hey, here’s this one thing that can give you some level of control,” but we want to really havemore on the students as much as we can. So don’t over do it. We had Cahoot where every kid was sick of Cahoot literally . Not that song again . Don’t over do it. It’s all a balancing act.

Carl Hooker: I wrote about this. I wrote some books a couple of years on mobile learning in . And in those books I talk about that continuum of looking at is everything you do creative or is everything you do consumptive. And we can’t do everything creatively all the time, but you also don’t wanna be just consuming stuff all the time. You need a balance in there. So that’s a long way to give you a vague answer.

Laura Grundler:  No, that’s all good.

Announcer: Hey there friend, it’s Susan from Education Closet. I hope you’re finding Carl’s interview as inspiring as I am. If you’re digging his ideas for integrating technology and creativity and wanna know how to do that in your classroom, definitely check out our online course Designed to Steam. It’s packed with lessons, templates, and resources you can use to bring Steam to life for your students. Plus you’ll get ten PD hours and lifetime access. Just visit educationcloset.com/courses and select to Design to Steam for all the details. Now let’s get back to the conversation.

Matt Grundler: So you had mentioned iPad Palooza. Can you walk us through the evolution of that, cause it really was …

Laura Grundler: Yeah.

Carl Hooker: We have about three hours? No, no . I’ll do this in five minutes.

Laura Grundler: It sounds like, I mean, I’m hoping there’s new things on the horizon as well.

Carl Hooker: Absolutely. Whenever you name something around the device, you have the device name in it, you know it’s gonna be … The will be some problems there. Ipad palooza was fun and the idea was a learning festival more than it was just about iPads. It kind of turned into it as. Well, it says iPad in the title, so that’s what it must be about. No, it was really more about learning with technology. So it started out in 2012 as just a thing we were gonna do in-house, but some districts around central Texas said “Hey, can we come too?” And I was like “Yeah, sure. Pay $25 and we’ll give you some barbecue and a tshirt.” So we lost money that year. But, you know, fell forward.

Carl Hooker: The next year we actually … I lied to Ken Robinson’s people and told them that it was a global event with a thousand people from around the world and it wasn’t. So he agreed to come and be a keynote. And then guess what? So did a thousand people from around the world because of Ken Robinson. So I didn’t really lie, I just kinda predicted the future. And so he got [crosstalk 00:20:11] there and then we started doing other keynotes over the years. Kevin Honeycutt, we had the music guy, Eric Whitaker-

Laura Grundler: Eric’s awesome.

Carl Hooker: Yeah, lots of different people from all over. an opportunity to really meet and have some dinner with these people and.

Laura Grundler: Guy Kawasaki.

Carl Hooker: Guy Kawasaki.

Laura Grundler: Yes, he was amazing.

Carl Hooker: Yeah. Funny little back story about him, because he may not ever hear this, so I’ll say it. He does one of three keynotes and it’s like I’ll do either 10 things Steve jobs taught me, ten things in something about innovation, and then something, something, something about something else. And I said alright give me the 10 things about innovation, that sounds like a good keynote. So I’m there on stage setting up his getting ready and I look at his keynote and it says 10 things Steve Jobs taught me. And I said “Wait, I thought I said the 10 things about innovation?” And he goes “Yeah, no, I’m doing that one.” And I was like “Okay, you’re doing that one.”

Carl Hooker: But, no, he was awesome. He came for free. I mean it was Lisa Johnson, and Monica Burns, and him had had breakfast together at SXSW and they talked about iPad palooza and he was like “Oh, I gotta get to this thing.” So we paid for his flight, but he came for free otherwise.

Laura Grundler: That’s awesome.

Carl Hooker: Which is awesome. After 2017 I could feel it turning into this … Especially with the Chromebook market, people were feeling turned off about it. And I thought that I really don’t want it to be exclusive in terms of that. So we dropped it out. We killed it. We rebranded it into something called Learn fest ATX, cause there is a Learn fest, it turns out, in the UK that’s nothing about education but something else. So Learn fest ATX we went beta with it last year, tried out seven different things that have been kicking around in my head a little bit about things that I want to see at a conference that I’ve never seen. And most of them worked, not all of them. It was beta and that was our theme. In fact, every time something would fall are break, we’d go “oh look, beta.” Yeah it doesn’t work. And so actually the one word that we just shared.

Carl Hooker: But it was cool. We had about 200 people, we capped it at 200. Tried out some new ideas that we’re gonna reveal this year. So this year we’re opening it back up and I’ll tell you a couple, just to give your listeners a hook. One of em … Are you guys familiar with silent disco?

Laura Grundler: No.

Carl Hooker: Have you ever heard of it?

Laura Grundler: No.

Carl Hooker: Well, this is awesome. So you take things from other parts of life and then you try to apply them to education, so I was at concert here at ACL Fest, you know, Austin City Limits Festival, and I went to this tent and they said “Oh, it’s something called silent disco and there’s three DJs onstage. There’s a red, a green, and a blue DJ. And you put on these headphones and you can switch between the red, the blue, and the green, and your color headphones would change.” So it’s somewhat of a social experience too, in terms of you have certain friends that are listening to red, and its 80s, and you’re listening to blue hip hop or whatever. And I thought “God, this is a great idea. I wonder if we can apply this to education at all.”

Carl Hooker: And so we decided last year to try. Three different speakers in the same spot, each one with a different color, and then you basically walk around and listen to which ever one you wanna listening to. So this year we’re gonna try it … We’re not gonna do all three, we’ll do two, but we’ll do multiple keynotes at the same time on the same stage. Short, like ten minutes. is if you’re a speaker, you’re looking out into the crow and you can see whether the red or green … Who’s listening to you. And so if you’re not engaging your colors start to disappear and everyone’s listening to green person. So we’ll see about that. We’ll do three of those. And then the idea is afterwards, we’ll do about ten minutes, and then everybody stands up for about five minutes, and then chats about whatever they heard. So if you’re listening to the green person, I’m listening to the red, let’s conversate for a minute about what we picked from those little topics. It gets em collaborating quickly, we’ll try that.

Carl Hooker: One other we did that I’ll tell you … We did a couple of other things, I won’t share all of them. But one of them was called what’s hot in Ed Tech. The idea is … I look like, with the sun coming in, I look like a deity. This is great . The idea is you have three minutes to tell a topic … Something in Ed Tech or trending. Right before you get up on stage though, we have a giant wheel that’s on the screen. You spin the wheel and you have in front of you a habanero, a jalapeno, a Toronto, or . You eat the pepper and then you have to speak for three minutes, while you’re chewing on the pepper.

Laura Grundler: I’m down.

Carl Hooker: You wanna do it?

Laura Grundler: Sure.

Carl Hooker: You wanna do it?

Laura Grundler: I’ll do it. I totally would do it.

Carl Hooker: Serious? Okay, right now.  Jennifer Flood, bless her, is the only girl that would do it. And she got the habanero. So right now I’m growing ghost peppers in my back yard right now for this. Seriously, you have to sign a waver. We had like a trashcan up on the stage. We had chocolate milk and like little concoctions ready for like right afterwards. I went first and I got the jalapeno which wasn’t too bad. But I was still, you know, it throws you off. When you’re on stage in front of hundreds of people and you’re trying to talk and al the sudden you start sweating … Chris Miller ate two habanero right before. He was the finalist. He said “I’ll take both of em.” And he ate them both. And they zoomed up on his face and he’s a big bald guy with a beard and he was crying while he was talking. And actually what he talked about was really good, but it’s also like uncomfortable. As an audience member you’re watching that going “This is crazy.” We’ll bring back that as a closer, now with Laura Grundler as one of our.

Carl Hooker: You’ve got three minutes Laura. You have to come up with a three minute topic and eat any pepper .

Laura Grundler: Okay, three minutes.

Carl Hooker: Hopefully the  because that one’s nothing. That’s just easy. It’s gonna be awesome, yeah I’m so excited.

Laura Grundler: Oh gosh.

Carl Hooker: Couple of things 

Laura Grundler: I don’t know what that would do to our following.

Carl Hooker: You never know? You should do a podcast where you guys have to eat . That’s your practice podcast. Alright we’re gonna eat a … Oh my god, that’s gonna sound really great on your earbuds.

Carl Hooker: So that’s the evolution of that event and we’re really excited about that. So June 12th and 13th in Austin. We’re doing a prepalooza event … Uh, prepalooza. See I’m already slipping back into it. A prefest event where were [inaudible 00:26:12] three hour kind of deeper dive learn shop sort of thing around certain topics. But then the main event will be two days the 12th and 13th.

Carl Hooker: The idea is to have whole group experiences, small group experiences, and then individual experiences. So there’ll be some amazing race things happening, which we did at the original iPad palooza. There’ll be some teacher shark tank things happening where they can actually pitch at the end and win actual money. So the idea is you get out of this what you put in to it. Learning is an active sport. That’s our mantra. This isn’t one of those conferences where you can sit back and look at where to go to lunch. You have to be a part of it to really get anything out of it.

Laura Grundler: Well, if it’s anything like iPad palooza, the teachers that I took down there from [inaudible 00:26:52] are still about it years lately. They keep asking … You know, but it’s so true, it’s what you put into it. Have you ever heard of a task party?

Carl Hooker: No, what’s that?

Laura Grundler: Oh, we’ll have to talk later.

Carl Hooker: Is it a concept that we could use?

Laura Grundler: Yes, it is. I’ll send you some links.

Carl Hooker: Okay.

Laura Grundler: It was developed by an artist I believe in Sweden. But it’s really cool.

Carl Hooker: Well, if it’s from Sweden then by default . That’s where silent disco actually came from [crosstalk 00:27:24].

Laura Grundler: There you go. I totally see the task party fitting into your.

Carl Hooker: I got a list of 62 different ideas that I’ve never heard of, but I’ll be honest, half of them are probably awful, but every year I just pick a few of the list of things I wanna see and try. And use the event as a venue to do that, just to engage the adult learners . They’ll be kids, there’ll be some kids talking too. They won’t be eating peppers, but Laura will.

Carl Hooker: I hate that you said that out loud because now it’s gotta happen. So we’ll have a kid camp that runs alongside it, so we’ll use part of that camp to let teachers … One of the ideas we have this year is to have teachers learn about a tool and then go into a room with actually five or six kids and try it out on em. It’s kind of a test market. Just to see. Because a lot of the time you learn something and then three months goes by and then you forget what you learned. So trying to get that application part in.

Laura Grundler: Love it.

Matt Grundler: No, I think that’s awesome.

Laura Grundler: I think we’ll have a kid that will come with us this year.

Matt Grundler: Probably.

Laura Grundler: Hopefully.

Carl Hooker: Oh, awesome yeah. We’ll have spots at the camp. I’ll talk to y’all about it, especially presenters and hopefully … I don’t think you guys have applied to present.

Laura Grundler: Oh, we have not done it yet. Do we still have time?

Carl Hooker: You got till February 9th I think.

Laura Grundler: Oh, we’re good. We’re definitely going to apply to present. It’s on our list. It’s definitely a highlight of the year.

Matt Grundler: It was so funny, because Laura went to it the year before I went and I went there we ended up going to the kids film festival. And that blew me away

Carl Hooker: I love that, yeah.

Matt Grundler: I actually took that idea back to my school and actually started a film club for a year and a whole bunch of kids that were able to submit things. And I had like two films that made it to the internet viewing. I think that was like the second phase before it went to Austin. They were pretty excited about that.

Laura Grundler: Just to even get to that level, they made em so happy.

Carl Hooker: We got a career as YouTuber. My nephew, that’s what he wants to do when he grows up. That’s not a career. Well, it is a career.

Matt Grundler: It is career, but That was the thing, I had to clarify with the kids. Like, this isn’t just … We’re not making we’re learning a skill, because film-making is a skill. And so learning about why camera angles work, when to . YouTube is just setting up the camera just in front of you and nothing changes, nothing happens from that. But using this as skill, using this as a craft to be able to make something, and so, yeah ..,

Laura Grundler: Tell a story.

Carl Hooker: You guys know this as being presenters, we treat you like VIPs, we have a VIP green room, we have some after events like a boat cruise that you guys might have take a part in or not in, we don’t know.

Laura Grundler: Maybe.

Carl Hooker: So this year we’re gonna have … We’re bringing back our ed technology poetry slam, which will be the night of the 12th. So we’ll get twelve ed technology people from, hopefully, around the country and convince them to get up there and have nothing but a microphone and three minutes and see how they do at a really dank bar that’s in Austin that hosts us. It’s actually a bar that hosts nationally poetry slams. That was Lisa Johnson’s idea a couple of years ago and we did it at this last year. It was awesome. Steve Denbow won. I actually got him a big championship belt. The real authentic like. So he carried around it on his shoulder for a while, but he’s bringing it back to Austin to defend the crown that night on the 12th. And I said “Yeah, if someone wins, they get the belt.” I mean it comes with prize. That’ll be fun. Y’all definitely come down. It’s always a fun experience. I’d especially like to have you guys present so.

Laura Grundler: We will definitely put something out there. We’re working on a couple of new concepts right now. We’re trying to keep it fresh and not rehash the same old things. We have a couple of ideas we’re working on, so we’ll definitely get something to you.

Carl Hooker: And that’s what Dean Tresky loves. He comes up a lot of years and he says the reason why he loves coming is because he wants to test out. I wanna try something that no conference would ever allow, like the stupidest things on your phone. He does this one thing, things you should delete off your phone. I forget what it was. He was like I wanna try this out, is that okay? I was like please, come try it out. Concept me. Give me the idea. What’s the pitch? What’s the feeling I wanna walk away with? Inevitably, those guys like that, they’ll turn it into something that’s really positive for the end user.

Carl Hooker: We did one … Brianna Hodges, who just joined us this year at Eanes. She and I did one called ed technology lip-sync battle and that’s … We’re gonna do it at SX as well. And it’s kind of a play on the lip sync battles on TV, you know, but using more ed technology tools. Where you have your audience do it using  and then we get up and … And the loser has to spin a wheel … This sounds familiar, just like the peppers right? I like the wheel spinning here. But the loser has to spin the wheel and they have to lip sync a song that comes up at random. And the year we did then of course I lost the first round and I get Miley Cyrus.

Matt Grundler: Wrecking Ball?

Carl Hooker: Wrecking Ball, yeah. I put on a pink wig and a boa and owned it. And it’s on twitter somewhere right now if you look at [crosstalk 00:32:39]. There I am in a pink wig singing Wrecking Ball to people in the audience. It was pretty embarrassing. Those kinds of things are what we want. We want those kind of … So if you have some new stuff that you guys then yeah, put it in there. We’ll be flip it up.

Laura Grundler: Well, we know that you have a very important football to go watch. So we don’t keep you much longer.

Carl Hooker: My one thing.

Matt Grundler: I think, before we round up though, we talked about fear, we talked about things to take away in technology, what’s one last bit of advice you could give someone who might be afraid to start dabbling in that area cause they’re not even sure where to even start??

Carl Hooker: Well, I think one thing is … Going back to the very first thing you guys mentioned, which is that glue that connects, right? Look at people you trust, look at people that you’re connected with, and reach out to them. Because there’re so many people that’ve tried things out there. Twitter’s a big … That’s how we all connected. Twitter’s a big way to do that. And look into “oh, that’s a great idea” and concept. Let other people fail a little bit and do the refining.

Carl Hooker: I will also say it depends on where you’re at because, honestly, sometimes leadership can be restrictive right? One of my ending messages in my keynotes that I give is always students don’t take risks if teachers don’t take risks and teachers don’t take risks if leaders don’t. And so if there’s leadership that’s saying that this is gonna be the way it’s gonna be locked up, it’s gonna be really hard. So you have to get super creative in terms of building in those tools and I would start with something simple, like a camera. Or like pulling in a device just to get some research off of it so the kids can do some of the projects that way.

Carl Hooker: Really on the camera model, like at substitutive level, to start, just to dip your toe in the water. And what a lot of teachers, especially the ones that are reticent or anti-technology, what they’ll find is eventually it actually saves them some time and it opens up room for creativity. If they find those right tools, whether it be a formative assessment tool or even just a way, again, to capture and catalog and portfolio some work that the kids are doing.

Carl Hooker: I think baby steps and I would tell teachers don’t try to do everything because you can do anything but you can’t do everything, right?

Laura Grundler: I say that all the time.

Carl Hooker: Take one thing and try to make it really good and don’t just stick with it for the rest of your life. Then try something else and add that to your repertoire. That could be a semester a year. Just one or two things every year. I think that’s a huge win. If you go to a conference, take one or two things that you picked up on that are like “Wow, this is one thing that I’m gonna try.” And just do that and do that one thing, and then I would also be open about it. And then say I’m gonna try this and maybe blog about it, if you’re really feeling brave. This is what worked well. This is what didn’t work well. We love to see that in the community because that’s how we all get better as educators.

Carl Hooker: Start small, try one or two things, and go out there and fail forward.

Laura Grundler: And collaborate.

Carl Hooker: Yeah.

Laura Grundler: Oh man, as always. We love you, you’re the best and we continue to learn from you.

Laura Grundler: We’re excited to see you this summer.

Matt Grundler: Yeah.

Laura Grundler: There’s a small hope to get to SXSW, but it’s always hard since we travel as a pair, with the kid situation, so we’ll …

Matt Grundler: And as a pack.

Laura Grundler: Team Grundler. Super excited and really excited to hear all about Learn fest and good things are coming, so …

Carl Hooker: Yay, thank y’all for letting be on the podcast and also thank you for letting me host the chat in December and look forward to this year, and seeing you guys soon down here in Austin. Up here in Austin? Down here in Austin?

Matt Grundler: I don’t know. Somewhere in Austin.

Laura Grundler: Somewhere in Austin. Sounds like a movie.

Carl Hooker: Or a film festival.

Matt Grundler: Alright. Thanks Carl.

Laura Grundler: Alright. Thanks Carl.

Carl Hooker: Thanks y’all. Have a good one. Bye.

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