Log in
Log in
  • March 09, 2021 11:03 AM | Deleted user

    by Michael McGowan (originally posted on The Connecting Link January 28, 2021)

    January 28, 1986

    January 17, 1991

    September 11, 2001

    March 17, 2020

    What do all these dates have in common? They’re days that left enduring impacts on my generation. Every generation experiences events that etch into their minds forever. In my case the abiding events to date are the space shuttle Challenger explosion, the start of combat in the Gulf War, the attack on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon and the closure of all Illinois schools due to Covid-19. All these events have had some kind of major impact on how we live or do business today. In addition to standing out in history they demand reflection. Reflect on how you might be able to help out, reflect on what you need to do moving forward, reflect on how things could have worked out differently if something else would have happened to prevent these events. As we approach the anniversary of school closure due to Covid-19 we ought to reflect on how it has affected our lives, our classrooms and the world.

    To read the rest of Michael's blog post, visit The TCL Blog here.

  • January 20, 2021 4:38 PM | Deleted user

    by Steve Wick (originally posted on Know Your Why January 20, 2021)

    The IDEAcon and TCEA Virtual Conferences kicks off February 1st and I am really excited about the conference book study this year.

    TCEA and IDEAcon 2021 Conference Book Study 

    While the book study is focused on 4 authors, it got me thinking about all of the other great educational authors who will be part of this years IDEAcon / TCEA experience. Today I wanted to share some of the featured conference authors and their most recent books. It really is an awesome collection of books and authors.

    Who are you most excited to learn with?

    To read the rest of Steve Wick's blog post, visit his blog here.

  • January 19, 2021 4:33 PM | Deleted user

    IDEAcon is just a few weeks away! Although many of us miss making appearances at in-person events, this year’s IDEAcon is being held virtually to adhere to COVID-19 safety precautions and protect our attendees. IDEAcon staff is committed to providing our members with a fruitful and educational experience despite these restrictions.

    IDEAcon 2021 will feature hundreds of live and on-demand sessions featuring keynote speakers who are experts in the education industry. Our partnership with the TCEA Convention and Exhibition has allowed us to expand and diversify the number of events, activities, and presentations available for attendees to enjoy. With so many sessions to choose from, it may be difficult to navigate your way around our conference to find events and presentations that speak to your role and interests.

    Thankfully, the IDEAcon staff has got you covered. Members from the IDEAcon and TCEA Convention and Exposition committees have put together sample schedules to help attendees find sessions that apply to their careers. Mock schedules have been organized by role and topic so campus leaders, librarians, teachers, IT administrators and other educators can discover and interact with presenters that allow them to develop their professional skills as effectively as possible.

    As an example, Amber Heffner, the Executive Director of IDEA, helped craft a sample schedule for ELA and SS teachers. The sessions listed on this mock schedule are curated for educators who work with students to develop their proficiency in the English language. Live sessions are mixed with on-demand presentations, as well as special events so attendees are given an opportunity to network every day during the conference. Educational technologist Dee Lanier, education coach and author Jorge Valenzuela and scholar activist Dr. Sawsan Jaber are some of the speakers listed on this schedule. Sessions with tips and tricks on how to use popular educational technology tools like Screencastify, Google Jamboard and even Minecraft are featured as part of this schedule as well.

    Another mock schedule was created by Jenna Hnilo, the Director of Marketing and Outreach for IDEA. This schedule was created for teachers of special populations. As a former computer science teacher who worked with learners of all capabilities, she is passionate about technology’s ability to transform education and each student’s experience in the classroom. Some of the speakers listed on this schedule include high school teacher and educational technology experts Joshua Piper and Sarah Horner, as well as former literacy consultant and librarian-teacher Jennifer Casa-Todd. Accessibility and cultural sensitivity are among the topics that will be addressed at different sessions listed on this schedule. Sessions featuring innovative ways to use Google Workspace and Immersive Reader are also part of this mock schedule.

    Lindsay Zilly, the Director of Professional Learning at IDEA, created the mock schedule for those interested in creating robust curriculums based on innovative and research-based instruction. Some of the subjects that will be discussed at the sessions listed on her sample schedule include cybersecurity, accessibility and instructional strategies to accelerate learning as well as foster student engagement. Speakers featured on this schedule include Steve Baule, Ed.D. of Winona State University and Angela Elkordy, Jack Denny and Ayn Keneman of National Louis University.

    To view the IDEAcon + TCEA mock schedules described above, click here. You can also peruse the entire session schedule yourself on the IDEAcon website here.

    Although adhering to a mock schedule is not necessary to get a worthwhile experience as an IDEAcon attendee, sticking to one of these agendas can help you have a worry-free, self-paced experience. In addition to the events listed on these schedules, attendees are welcome to visit two exposition halls during the month. The IDEAcon Exhibit Hall will be open from February 22-24, 2021.

    We look forward to seeing you at this year’s IDEAcon!

  • December 09, 2020 8:14 AM | Deleted user

    This week, the education community is celebrating Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek). CSEdWeek is an annual call to action to inspire K-12 students to learn computer science. It’s also an opportunity for educators to advocate for equity in computer science education and policies emphasizing its importance in schools, as well as a time to celebrate the contributions of students, teachers and partners to the field.

    Throughout this week, IDEA partner CodeHS is hosting free, live workshops for students and educators who want to improve their knowledge of different areas of computer science as part of the Hour of Code. Check out the graphic below for more information about these workshops. A PDF file of the graphic is available here.

    IDEA is also a proud partner of CS4IL, a nonprofit coalition dedicated to providing computer science education to K-12 students across Illinois. CS4IL encourages Illinois educators and parents to call on their state legislators to further the measures outlined in the IL CS Education Task Force Report, a legal document that ensures Illinois students’ access to computer science education. CS4IL also promotes their efforts on social media using the hashtag #CS4IL and runs a membership platform. Today, on Wednesday, December 9 from 4 to 5 P.M., IDEA is hosting a webinar with CS4IL leaders. To register for this webinar, please click here.

    Here at IDEA, we’re proud to provide our members with access to innovative educational technology tools. During this week, we’re excited to be a part of a larger effort to provide students with quality tech-related education.

  • November 12, 2020 4:06 PM | Deleted user

    Last month, IDEA celebrated Digital Citizenship Awareness Week organized by our partners at Common Sense Media, but maintaining a pristine digital footprint is just one of many things you can do to be more conscious of cybersecurity measures. In fact, October is National Cybersecurity Awareness month and many other organizations published resources for educators to reference while teaching themselves and their students about staying safe online.

    Looking back on the last few weeks, ISTE’s Privacy, Security, and Digital Citizenship working group created a guide titled A Learning System for Privacy, Security and Digital Citizenship Infrastructure. This guide provides instructors with plenty of insights when it comes to understanding the relationship between privacy and security. These insights are supplemented models of effective practices in safeguarding student data. The guide also includes methods to help teachers understand the roles, responsibilities, and rights of students in virtual learning environments, as well as understand the numerous stakeholders playing a role in student “data stewardship” and “digital citizenship” (i.e. teachers, administrators, parents, vendors and the students themselves).

    Another great resource to look into is the National Cybersecurity Alliance’s web series on Security Awareness. The NCA, Adobe, and Speechless, Inc. partnered together to film and release each episode every other month between November of 2019 and November of this year. Now that the series has concluded, you can enjoy the collection of videos all at once.

    Learning about cybersecurity doesn’t have to end there. IDEA is partnering with 8 ISTE affiliates across the country to host a month of learning related to digital literacy titled Digital Literacy: Here, There and Everywhere from November 18 to December 9. Join us to learn more about using technology and social media in educational and effective ways from local and national experts. We look forward to having you join us!

  • October 13, 2020 5:05 PM | Deleted user

    When school administrators across Illinois announced their plans to shift back to in-person learning after months of virtual instruction at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, ROWVA High School English teacher Traci Johnson was more prepared than most.

    Johnson was awarded the International Society for Technology in Education’s Making IT Happen award at IDEAcon earlier this year for her efforts to incorporate innovative pieces of technology into her classroom. As a naturally computer-savvy educator, she knew exactly which digital tools were at her disposal when Adam Seaney, ROWVA’s principal, had to self-quarantine after traveling at the start of the school year.

    Johnson is a longtime member of the Sandburg Education Network, an organization working to improve access to education technology tools and organize speaker events for teachers across Knox County.

    “We discuss innovation in the classroom and bring it back to our districts,” Johnson said of SEN’s biannual meetings.

    Through SEN, Johnson was able to connect with Cindy K. Arthur, the Coordinator of Instructional Technology at Carl Sandburg College. Johnson emailed Arthur about her coworker’s absence and jokingly asked if she could borrow one of the robots belonging to the college so Seaney could attend classes from home; to her surprise, Arthur agreed. Arthur handed off the robot to Johnson in the parking lot of the college, being sure to adhere to social distancing protocols.

    “Without Cindy, this would not be possible,” said Johnson.

    By connecting to the Double Robotics Double Telepresence Robot via video conferencing tools on his Chromebook, Seaney was able to attend morning duties, meet with other teachers and observe classes as he normally would while working in-person. He was even able to watch a science experiment up close and be part of a student’s birthday party.

    “Our students thought it was pretty cool,” said Seaney. “I'm a relationship-driven person so continuing to build relationships with our students and staff while quarantined was a definite plus. There were several students that missed seeing the robot around when I was able to come back in person.”

    The only problem Johnson and Seaney encountered with the robot was connectivity issues when the robot rolled into WiFi “blindspots” in areas of ROWVA High School.

    According to Arthur, Carl Sandburg College has been making use of the robots in similar ways at their institution.

    “At Carl Sandburg College, our focus is always about providing our students the best educational experience possible,” said Arthur.

    “Many students who because of travel constraints or a health condition have used a robot to attend class remotely. Along with student use, Sandburg has used the robot to bring in guest speakers or trainers. We have also used the robot to provide tours of the one button studio and virtual reality studio.”

    IDEA is pleased that the most recent awardee of one of our most prestigious awards continues to make use of digital tools during these difficult times.

  • September 22, 2020 4:05 PM | Anonymous

    Two of the biggest names in educational technology are teaming up to provide expanded virtual learning opportunities and new ways for educators to grow their professional learning networks in February. 

    By working together on programming and events, these grassroots professional organizations provide registrants to either event with more ways to earn professional learning hours and connect with like-minded, passionate educators — wherever they are. This innovative hybrid Convention offers three weeks of programming from two trusted networks — IDEA and TCEA. Live sessions begin February 1–6, 2021 and will be available on-demand for 30 days after the event. Additional programming will culminate with more live events and keynotes later in the month. Attendees can benefit from the expertise and powerful networks of both these organizations worry-free, and at their own pace. In addition, we are excited to offer attendees the opportunity to visit two virtual exposition halls during the month.

    “Our collaboration with TCEA provides us an opportunity to introduce many new presenters and sessions to IDEAcon attendees thereby expanding everyone’s personal learning network,” IDEA Executive Director Amber Heffner says. 

    TCEA Executive Director Lori Gracey agrees, “By teaming up with IDEAcon, we’re helping educators find new perspectives on education. At a time when educators are working harder than ever, it’s vital to provide as many high-quality, research-backed resources as possible that help students build lasting learning.”

    Through this partnership, members and attendees from both organizations will get the benefits of a bigger professional learning network and more ways to learn, explore new technologies, and share their experience. IDEAcon registration opens Sept. 24, 2020, at 9 A.M. Central time. TCEA's Convention & Exposition will also open their registration Sept. 24, 2020.


    About IDEA

    Illinois Digital Educators Alliance (IDEA, was formed in 1986 by a group of approximately thirty teachers as a statewide organization for computer-using educators. Since its inception, the organization has continuously encouraged and supported educators in their development and use of technology in all facets of the educational process. Today, IDEA strives to provide even more opportunities for educators to connect with others, be inspired to improve teaching and learning, and transform their practices to support student empowerment and success.

    About TCEA

    TCEA ( is a nonprofit, member-based organization that has supported the use of technology in education for the last 40 years. Their primary focus is on integrating technology into the PreK-16 environment and providing our members with cutting-edge knowledge and resources through conferences, workshops, online publications, and collaborations with businesses and institutions of higher education. 

  • September 01, 2020 1:49 PM | Anonymous

    We are proud to announce the release our latest #IDEAauthors book, IDEAs to Amplify Student Voice. In this book, students from across Illinois share their stories about the innovative, creative, and inspirational ways they use technology in their classrooms, communities, and home environments to transform their own learning experiences.

    We began work on this book last May when our student technology showcase was cancelled as a result of COVID-19. After the cancellation, IDEA wanted to make sure that Illinois students still had the opportunity to tell their stories; to give them a voice.

    Twenty-three students joined us to create IDEAs to Amplify Student Voice. These students will inspire you with their stories of how they use technology to learn, create, design, and amplify their voice.

    Find out more about IDEAs to Amplify Student Voice and get your copy at

    Be sure to also check out IDEA’s other books: IDEAs to Inspire your Classroom, IDEAs to Transform your Classroom, and IDEAs to Connect your Classroom. In these books, Illinois educators share how they inspire their students, transform their environment(s), and connect with other educators and classrooms around the world. Connect with IDEA through these stories today.

  • April 29, 2020 11:33 AM | Anonymous

    Be sure to check out Illinois Digital Educators Alliance's (IDEA) newest podcast partner, Reimagine SchoolsIn this episode, New Jersey school superintendent Glenn Robbins talks about his experience in providing positive leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic that has closed schools from coast to coast for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. As a former National Digital Principal of the Year, Robbins also shares his approach to connecting with his school and community stakeholders through Facebook Live and how he's been able to bring in many of the nation's most inspirational speakers via Zoom video to provide uplifting messages of hope and reassurance during difficult times in our schools. Finally, Robbins talks about some of the struggles his district has faced with remote learning strategies and how working collaboratively with teachers and parents in his district has created new opportunities for innovation and problem solving.

    Download this week's episode here. Then, stay tuned for the next episode of Reimagine Schools.

  • April 21, 2020 9:16 AM | Anonymous

    Be sure to check out Illinois Digital Educators Alliance (IDEA) newest podcast partner, Reimagine Schools. This week, Dr. Greg Goins talks with internationally-acclaimed child psychologist and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Ross Greene. Listen as they discusses Dr. Greene's research that includes the Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) model for effectively managing child behavior and explains why kids with social, emotional and behavioral challenges are often misunderstood. He also shares insights as to why the traditional reward and punishment approach to school discipline often fails kids as we place the focus on correcting behavior rather than true problem solving. From his books, Raising Human Beings, The Explosive Child, Lost At School and Lost and Found, Dr. Greene lays out a three-step plan that includes empathy, defining adult expectations and offering the child an invitation to become a partner in solving challenges in the classroom. As the Developer and Executive Producer of the award-winning documentary The Kids We Lose, Dr. Greene closes the episode by shinning a light on the dark side of how too many kids are mistreated and manhandled in our schools due to high levels of frustration and hopelessness.

    Download this week's episode here. Then, stay tuned for the next episode of Reimagine Schools.

Call: 630 628 1088

2735 Hassert Blvd.

Ste 135 PMB 304

Naperville, Illinois 60564

©2019 Illinois Digital Educators Alliance. All rights reserved.

Translate this page in your preferred language:

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software