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Arriving in Philadelphia felt like visiting an old friend. I attended grad school in the city and looked forward to spending the next four days on streets I knew. I joke that downtown Philly is the one city area where I can't get lost.

Driving into the downtown area, I was excited to find out what ISTE would be like this year and to learn what kind of gamification a conference centered around the power of technology would provide.


After I picked up my badge from ISTE Central and dropped off my tickets for the yearly prize drawings, I finally downloaded the mobile app and checked out the mobile game.


This year ISTE has two main games running. One is the kind of game I've discussed before--the expo hall card. The other, the mobile game, is more interesting.



The mobile game, which requires participants have the app, relies on codes and some actions. Conference participants collect codes by attending sessions, connecting with other participants, going on a tour, and entering certain drawings. Points also accumulate when participants take feedback surveys after a session or engage in back channel communication, such as by posting "in the stream." The stream is a messaging system embedded in each session's information page in the app.

Each of these actions are authentic and interesting ways to participate in the conference. Engaging in the back channel during the keynote (Soledad O'Brien who did an excellent job, by the way) enhanced my experience. I enjoyed learning what my peers found compelling. Also, by adding an incentive to the surveys, the game ensures that more presenters get feedback.

However, the game isn't a complete success. Besides some of the badges being difficult to earn (I have yet to figure out how to make my tweets count for points), the game is only accessible to those with smart phones. Anyone without is locked out of play. The no-smart-phone population might be small, but that doesn't mean they should be locked out of playing. When we design games and gamification, we should always think through access issues like this.

If you're here at ISTE and playing the game, please share your thoughts in the comments!

Writers are going to love Grammarly and Creativity Portal!



In this Chat with Deb, you will learn about two great tools for writers. Grammarly is a site and also an extension that can help with checking grammar as you write almost anywhere on the web. Creativity Portal is a site with exercises and resources for teachers and student who write.

Here are a few additional features of Grammarly:

Toggle sites on and off:



Find synonyms:



Check a word definition:

Thank you to Intel Engage for sponsoring this Chat with Deb.  If you have a tool or resource that you recommend for writers, please share it with us.


Join Us for ISTE 2015 Fun!

Posted by mlperry13 Jun 25, 2015




It's that time of the year again! ISTE 2015 convenes in Philadelphia, PA June 28th through July 1st. While Intel will not have a booth this year, several of us are attending and we know many Engage members will likely be there as well. If you are attending ISTE in person, be sure to check out these sessions sponsored by, or including, Intel:


We'd also like to call attention to a poster session and presentation by our partners at ASU in the development of the new game-infused professional learning platform coming to Engage. Please stop by if you are attending!

Introducing the ISTE 2015 Badge

We wanted to continue the ISTE fun on Intel Engage by creating missions you can complete whether you are attending or not. Complete the following 4 missions in order to earn the ISTE 2015 badge. Please note, you have to do them in order. The first Mission is visible in your profile's Reputation section right now, and the subsequent Missions will appear there as you unlock them.

  1. ISTE Roll Call - Complete this mission to earn 50 points and unlock the next mission. This mission is a prerequisite for moving on to the next mission; after completing this you can move on to mission two.
  2. Intel Learning Studio - Join this group for another 50 points to follow our progress as we level up teacher professional learning with game mechanics in our new platform, Intel Learning Studio. This is a private group. In order to join, click the "Ask to join this group" button. Once your membership is approved, you should receive your points and can move on to the next mission. You must have already completed the ISTE Roll Call mission to earn these points.
  3. What's the Next Best Thing in Ed Tech? - Complete this mission to earn 50 points and unlock the next mission. You must have already completed the Intel Learning Studio mission to earn these points.
  4. ISTE 2015 Final Mission - Complete this mission to earn another 100 points and the ISTE 2015 badge. In order to qualify for earning earning the badge, you must have already completed missions one, two, and three above.


You can earn the ISTE 2015 badge between now and July 31st.

**Please note that all missions will be monitored to ensure that participants are completing the requirements of the missions. Invalid responses will be deleted and any associated points and/or badges will be removed from the earner.


You can review the Notes on Nitro blogposts and Gamification Hub content for tips, tricks, and guidance on how to effectively engage in the community through completing mission.

instaGrok is great for research projects and for writing research papers. . .


Watch this Chat with Deb and see how instaGrok works and all of its wonderful features.

Also, check out the Chrome extension called Quick Research which allows you to search Google, Yahoo, YouTube and Images in a separate window.

Thank you to Intel Engage for sponsoring this Chat with Deb.

I was asked to chaperone students going to our local Amusement Park to celebrate the end of this school year. When I ride these roller coasters, I am constantly reminded of the physics behind the fun activity. Often my brain considers "was that an area where we felt no gravity" or "How many 'Gs' were in that turn?" The photo I've included is of a ride called Wicked. The ride pulls just under 5 Gs and reaches speeds of over 50 miles per hour (about 88 kmh.) I find roller coasters engage students in thinking about how physics applies to daily life.


I thought it might be fun to have members of the Intel Engage community share their favorite amusement park roller coaster image. You may upload your own image as I have or share one from the web. Please remember if you upload a web image to cite the URL so you comply with the Intel Engage terms of use. I wondered if MrsSmoke would be sharing some of her fun Disneyland images? dougemints, bonnie_feather, tnzuber, ProfWhitby, and do you have a favorite (or even least favorite) roller coaster ride to share with the group?

Please share a photo of your ride (with citation URL if you did not take the photo), tell us about the ride including why you like or dislike it, and then use the @mention to tag someone to share their roller coaster photos and likes or dislikes.





In the U.S. summer is here! School is out in some places and winding down in others. Whether school for you is ending, beginning, or continuously occurring, you know that the professional learning never stops. Similarly, we give our kids a "summer reading list" to try to prevent that "summer slide" and prep for the next year. To that end, this month's Engage Roadmap theme is Summer PD Launch, and our content area focus is reading, literacy, and language arts.


In addition to these focus areas, we'll celebrate the ISTE Conference at the end of the month. It kicks off June 28, so stay tuned for some cool activities and special Missions in the Nitro Gamification platform.


This month, we'd like to know:

  • If you're in the U.S., how do you keep engaged with your professional growth during the summer? How do you keep balance and recharge?
  • If you're outside the U.S., what do you do when school is out?
  • What's on your PD reading list? Have you been "assigned" any professional reading?
  • If you assign summer reading for your students, what are your favorite texts to assign?


As with last month, if you participate in our Roadmap theme-based activities, you can earn a badge. If you complete all the actions related to this month's content during the month of June, you'll earn the Community Roadmap Summer PD badge and 200 community points. To do this, you need to:

  • Read this blog (hint, if you're reading this, you've already completed this step)
  • Comment below with responses to the four questions in the post above.
  • Book mark and then leave a comment to participate in our Essential Summer PD Tools post.

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