Spring 2023

Spring 2023 Issue

What an exciting time in education! Artificial intelligence expands into new and well-known platforms, edtech companies merge, schools prepare for the summer, and our Spring edition of LevelED Up launches. 

As always, this issue touches upon the diverse scope of technology in education. We explore AI’s role in the classroom, highlight a district STEM lab, explore student engagement through different lenses, reexamine the power of noise, and emphasize the importance of peer networks in K-12 IT. Throughout, we also feature technology tools and LTC programs and PD that can help you and your colleagues tackle the challenges of the modern education experience.

A common theme subtly runs throughout many of these articles – the importance of intentional communities. Educators intentionally share ideas, deliberately create systems of support, and generously open up their schools to serve as models of innovation. As we move forward into an increasingly tech-driven world, the community that we deliberately create and inhabit will serve as a guiding light.

Tim McIlvain, Executive Director


AI in the Classroom

By Eric Santos

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has been making headlines recently, with natural language chat bots like ChatGPT and art models like Midjourney capturing the public’s imagination in a flash. In the education community, many have already hypothesized and seen first hand how these widely-accessible AI could revolutionize the way we learn and teach.

But what exactly is “AI” and how is it already being harnessed in the classroom? Here’s what you need to know to make the most of this edtech inflection point

More on Page 6

STEM Lab Tour | McHenry SD 15

By Sarah Phelps

Back in early March, I traveled to McHenry SD 15 in McHenry, IL, a northwest suburb of Chicago, to see some of their innovative STEM spaces first-hand.

While I was there, I discovered a robust learning space packed with plenty of takeaways you can use to establish or expand your district’s makerspace.

Pictures & More on Page 21

Three Perspectives – Student Engagement & Technology

Guest Article by By Dr. Elizabeth Freeman, Dr. Ami Engel & Dr. Desiree Larson (District 300)

Student engagement is essential to maximizing student learning. Purposeful technology integration, with the support of instructional coaches and administrators, can noticeably increase student engagement.

However, individual devices and apps alone cannot generate novel student engagement. It takes the effort of teachers, coaches, and administrators working in tandem to allow technology to bring out the best in students.

More on Page 10

Cybersecurity Crisis Response Groups

Interview with Duane Shaffer

A cyber crisis can happen at any time, even with the best cybersecurity policies and protections in place.

Duane Shaffer knows that fact better than most. While with Morrison CUSD 6, Duane started a cyber crisis response group to help nearby school districts prepare for and bounce back from a cyber incident. 

We sat down with Duane to discuss his experiences, and highlight why every K-12 district should take part in a cyber crisis response group:

Pictures & More on Page 14

Google Tips & Tricks | Organizing your Data with Google Sheets

For teachers and educational leaders alike, data is critical for making informed decisions. But how can you make sense of it all if your data points are out of order?

Spreadsheet wizard (and tech coach) Emily Pool is here to help!

Check out this issue for three easy ways you can use Google Sheets to better organize your data with just a few clicks!

Tech Tip of the Month | Create Standards-Aligned Lessons in Seconds

Using Curipod, teachers can produce full interactive lesson plans and accompanying slide decks in seconds.

Check out this full demo from RETC Joe Cipfl, including how to use this tool to create customized prompts, vocabulary, assessments, polls, and brain-breaks.