Instructional Technology Initiative
  • Leading Edge EdTech Summit
  • The Leading Edge EdTech Summit (LEETS) is L.A. Unified’s premiere professional learning experience geared toward building the bridge between edtech research and practice.

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LEETS 2022

The Leading Edge EdTech Summit or LEETS is L.A. Unified’s premier educational technology conference, powered by the Division of Instruction’s Instructional Technology Initiative (ITI). Now in its fourth year, LEETS is transitioning back into an in-person edtech summit.

This year’s theme is “Humanizing EdTech: People First, Technology Second” to emphasize the impact and power of instructional technology to promote discourse and dialogue, foster relationships and connections, and cultivate collaboration, reflection, and a sense of community. Make your mark, share your learning, and stay inspired using #LEETS22.

LEETS Keynote Flyer

LEETS22 Program
Saturday, April 23, 2022
8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
333 Universal Hollywood Dr,
Universal City, CA 91608

8:00 a.m.
9:00 a.m.
Registration: Sign-in and Breakfast
Great Hall and Grand Ballroom
9:00 a.m.
10:30 a.m.
Morning Plenary: Welcome Reception, Keynote and Mainstage Session
Grand Ballroom

Welcome Remarks
Sophia Mendoza, ITI Director
Alberto M. Carvalho, L.A. Unified Superintendent
Scott Schmerelson, L.A. Unified Board District 3 Board Member
Alison Yoshimoto-Towery, L.A. Unified Chief Academic Officer
Nery Paiz, Associated Administrators of Los Angeles President
Lisa Dachs-Ornelas, Association of California School Administrators-Region 16 President
Darrell Stewart, Intel Corp Education Development Manager

Keynote Speaker: Blair Imani
Blair lmani is a critically acclaimed historian, author, educator, and influencer. Her work centers women and girls, global Black communities, and the LGBTQ community. She is dedicated to making the world a better place and amplifying the voices and work of those fighting the good fight.

Blair will be signing her book in the Grand Ballroom right after the Morning Plenary.

10:40 a.m.
11:25 a.m.
Morning Breakout Sessions
Breakout Rooms

Leadership Workshop with Blair Imani
Grand Ballroom
Keynote Speaker Blair Imani will complement her inspirational keynote message with a small group intimate workshop and conversation to explore how her work may be applied in teaching and learning, and digital leadership.

Cultivating Connections with Nearpod
Director/Writers’ Room
Presented by Marcela Labrador and Dr. Mervin Jenkins, Nearpod Senior Brand Ambassadors
Struggling with student engagement? Need ready made content across all content areas? Nearpod’s got you! Whether you’re in person or teaching remotely, teaching live or assigning a student-paced lesson, Nearpod cultivates connections with your students and audience through interactive and engaging content and activities. From Digital Citizenship & Literacy, Social Emotional Learning, and English Learner content, learn how Nearpod serves as the technological vehicle for creating meaningful human connections in your classroom and beyond.

Pear Deck for Instructional Practice and Beyond
Terrace A
Presented by Amber Trout, Pear Deck Advocates Lead
Pear Deck is a great engagement tool for not just the classroom! You can use it to present professional development, gather feedback from staff, and engage your audience! Let's learn all the ways you can utilize this robust tool.

Beyond the Essay: Prioritizing Student Choice and Elevating Engagement
Terrace B
Presented by Dana Antillon and Natalie Neal-Peters, Teacher Leaders
Offering students different ways to show what they know after, or instead of, the traditional culminating task essay leads to increased student engagement and improved learner outcomes. Not to mention, they are a lot more fun to grade! Participants will see a sample culminating task from start to finish and walk through how to present 30+ choices to students as well as tips for consistently scoring and providing feedback.

Embodiment and Education in the Metaverse
Terrace C
Presented by James Emley and Maria Franco, Instructional Technology Facilitators
In the Metaverse, a vision for merging the virtual world with the real world, makes it possible for transactions in the Metaverse to actually apply to decisions and actions carried out in real-time. The expansion of the Metaverse could mean limitless applications for how people carry out their everyday tasks, activity, and lifestyles with increased access Today, we will explore what Education and Embodiment may look like in a hybrid classroom.

Humanizing EdTech Through SEL
Terrace D
Presented by Gohar Hamo, Andrea Lugo, and Astrid Martinez, EdTech Coaches and Teacher Leaders
Participants will work with partners through a series of EdTech challenges while addressing SEL competencies of Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, Goal Directed Behavior, Personal Responsibility, Decision Making, and Optimistic Thinking.

11:35 a.m.
11:55 a.m.
Morning Affinity Groups and Networking
Breakout Rooms
Prompt: How might you collaborate with peers and colleagues to scale promising instructional technology practices in your Local District and CoS?

Local District Northeast and Local District Northwest
Terrace A
Facilitated by Renee Sanchez, Instructional Leadership Support Specialist

Local District South and Local District West
Terrace B
Facilitated by Jamie Galgana, Instructional Leadership Support Specialist

Local District East and Local District Central
Terrace C
Facilitated by Eduardo Zurita, Readiness and Integration Specialist

Central Offices, Virtual Academy, and Open to All
Terrace D
Facilitated by Maria Magnanimo-Toledo, Readiness and Integration Specialist

12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m.
Roundtable Luncheon: Lunch Reception and Impact Sessions
Grand Ballroom

Partnerships Panel: Better Together
Moderated by Francisco Canche, Program and Policy Development Specialist

Impact Talk: Digital Futures Guide
Presented by Sophia Mendoza, ITI Director

Impact Talk: Leadership Strategies for Change - Embracing Computer Science Education in L.A. Unified
Presented by Allison Jonas, Readiness and Integration Coordinator

Impact Talk: Demystifying Computer Science - Calling All Educators
Presented by Maria Magnanimo-Toledo, Readiness and Integration Specialist

Impact Talk: From Personalized Learning and Teaching to Digital Citizenship
Presented by Eduardo Zurita, Readiness and Integration Specialist

Impact Talk: Taking IT to the Summit - Certification in EdTech
Presented by Jamie Galgana, Instructional Leadership Support Specialist

1:10 p.m.
1:55 p.m.
Afternoon Breakout Sessions
Breakout Rooms

Strategies for Activating SEL in Project Based Learning
Grand Ballroom
Presented by Jorge Valenzuela, Author and Expert
In classrooms, social and emotional learning (SEL) is used to improve academic learning and help students improve their emotional intelligence (EQ) skills. This session assists educators in considering their own SEL, along with a helpful framework and actionable steps we can take for equitable implementation for all students in project based learning.

Music Connecting Communities by Flocabulary
Director/Writers’ Room
Presented by Marcela Labrador and Dr. Mervin Jenkins, Nearpod Senior Brand Ambassadors
Let’s Flo! Music is a universal language that brings people together. Flocabulary combines powerful standards-aligned hip-hop videos and activities that increase vocabulary, improve comprehension and spark creativity and community in your classroom. Learn about Flocabulary’s newest features and experience the magic of music combined with literacy strategies that create community in the classroom! Join this session for a special treat–there may or may not be an opportunity to step up and show us your “flo” too!

ISTE Certification for Educators, Standards, and Membership
Terrace A
Presented by Carolyn Sykora, Carmalita Seitz, Heidi Ellis, ISTE Directors
Stretch your practice with ISTE! Come learn how you can grow and strengthen your practice using technology for learning. Advancing student learning outcomes across content is the hallmark of the ISTE Standards and the foundation for all of ISTE’s work. The ISTE Team invites you to explore amazing opportunities with ISTE made possible by your LA Unified leaders!

Teachers Supporting Teachers: Global Collaboration in Action
Terrace B
Presented by Michelle Touceda and Mia Young-Adeyeba, Instructional Technology Facilitator and Instructional Coach
At the onset of the pandemic, two L.A. Unified English teachers came together to create the Facebook group: Distance Learning Educators. Within six months there were more than 25,000 teachers from all arouond the world coming together to share resources and provide springboards for ideas in navigating a changing learning landscape.

Awakening the Dreamer: Visualizing our Dreams Through Digital Multimedia
Terrace C
Presented by Dr. Christine Gayle Corpus and Sandra Cuautle-Herrera, Instructional Technology Facilitators
Inspired by Dr. Ginwright’s work on Healing Centered Engagement, participants will have the opportunity to connect with self and others by visualizing and sharing their personal/professional dreams using digital multimedia tools.

Interviewing for Empathy with EdTech
Terrace D
Presented by Matthew Piwowarczyk and Genaro Ulloa, Instructional Technology Facilitators
How can you know the learning experiences you’re designing reflect the values and perspectives of your students or colleagues? As part of the Design Thinking Process, participants will use instructional technology to conduct empathy interviews to discover new insights about the needs of their audience.

2:05 p.m.
2:25 p.m.
Afternoon Affinity Groups and Networking
Breakout Rooms
Prompt: How might these instructional technology practices promote inclusive, equitable, and rigorous learning for both student and adult learners?

Taking IT to the Summit: Certifications in EdTech
Terrace A
Facilitated by Jamie Galgana and Eduardo Zurita, Instructional Leadership Support Specialist and Readiness and Integration Specialist

Digital Leadership for Leaders and Administrators
Terrace B
Facilitated by Allison Jonas, Readiness and Integration Coordinator

Computer Science
Terrace C
Facilitated by Maria Magnanimo-Toledo, Readiness and Integration Specialist

Digital Citizenship
Terrace D
Facilitated by Renee Sanchez, Instructional Leadership Support Specialist

2:30 p.m.
3:30 p.m.
Afternoon Plenary: Ignite Talks, Keynote and Closing Session
Grand Ballroom

Partner Remarks
Alyssa Wing, Nearpod Senior Customer Success Manager
Susan Casey, Pear Deck Strategic Accounts Executive
Carolyn Sykora, Senior Director of ISTE Standards Program
Carmalita Seitz, Director of ISTE Certification
Heidi Ellis, Senior Director of ISTE Membership and District Strategy

Impact Talk: Professional Learning on the Edge
Presented by Dominic Caguioa, Instructional Leadership Support Coordinator

Impact Talk: Always Learning - Collaboration for Success
Presented by Renee Sanchez, Instructional Leadership Support Specialist

Ignite Talk: Fremont Reads: Engaging Readers Through Podcasting
Presented by Michelle Touceda, Instructional Technology Facilitator

Ignite Talk: The Human Behind the Technology
Presented by Andrea Lugo, Verizon Innovative Learning School/VILS Coach

Keynote Speaker: Brandon Tory
Brandon Tory is an artist and the founder at FORMLESS, a Web3 music technology company. He was a former Staff Engineer in Machine Intelligence at Google and a former Senior Apple Engineer. He created "Multi Dream Theory," with the mentorship of Timbaland, as a metaphor for switching between the music and technology dreams in his life. He is a self-taught coder, starting at the age of 13, a proud Brockton, Massachusetts native, and a believer that all things are possible.

Closing Remarks
Sophia Mendoza, ITI Director

3:30 p.m.
4:30 p.m.
World Cafe Reception: Closing and Extended Networking Session (RSVP Required)
Ballroom Circle - Outdoor Patio

LEETS 2021

Scroll down to preview the flyer and the clickable program for each day of LEETSFest21,
including keynote and breakout session times.

Day 1 - Wednesday, April 7, 2021

3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. - Welcome and Keynote

  • Welcome and Keynote
    • Ken Shelton (3:40 p.m. - 4:20 p.m.)
    • Vikas Gupta and Dr. Daniela Schmeinck (4:20 p.m. - 4:55 p.m.)

LEETSFest21 begins with leading speakers and thinkers in the field of educational technology with Ken Shelton, education technologist and global keynote speaker, as opening keynote speaker highlighting equity and inclusion; along with Vikas Gupta, Wonder Workshop Founder and CEO, and Dr. Schmeinck, professor and researcher specializing in robotics in the elementary grades.

5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. - BREAKOUT SESSIONS

  • Developing Programming Skills: Wonder Workshop:
    Amy Adams and Mabel Lung, Instructional Technology Facilitators

    Participants will understand the value of providing all students access to computer science education. Educators will learn how to leverage Wonder Dash robots and Wonder Class Connect to successfully integrate coding and robotics. Educators will explore resources and the Wonder Workshop curriculum.

  • Teaching Computer Science in Distance Education - Dash’s Neighborhood and Class Connect
    Bryan L. Miller - Sr Director Global Strategic Outreach - Wonder Workshop

    Wonder Workshop brings you its virtual platforms to continue engaging students in computational thinking and computer science concepts in remote and distance learning environments.

Day 2 - Thursday, April 8, 2021

3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. - WELCOME AND KEYNOTE

  • Welcome and Keynote
    • Dr. Jennifer Williams

Day 2 of LEETSFest21 encompasses collaboration beyond the classroom, incorporating the ISTE Standards for Students, specifically Digital Citizen and Global Collaborator, with keynote from Dr. Jennifer Williams highlighting her work around UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), global collaboration, and using EdTech for good.

4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. - BREAKOUT SESSIONS

  • Digital Citizenship Through Nearpod and Flocabulary
    Amy Adams, Instructional Technology Facilitator
    Debbie Bermeo, VILS Coach

    Participants will develop Digital Citizenship practices that will inspire their students to positively contribute to and responsibly participate in the digital world. Educators can leverage Nearpod and Flocabulary to model safe, legal and ethical explorations of Digital Citizenship themes, scenarios and discussions.

  • Developing Student English Language Through Engaging Google Slides/Nearpod
    Renee Sanchez, Instructional Leadership Support Specialist
    Jeannette Tarin, Teacher, El Dorado Ave ES
    Adan Martinez, Principal, El Dorado Ave ES

    Participants will develop an engaging Google slide deck with Nearpod add ons to further their students’ English Language Development (ELD) skills in vocabulary development, writing, and speaking. Facilitators will take participants through the whole process of creating a 5 slides presentation that can be implemented the next day in the classrooms using the process of ‘I Do, You Do, We Do’.

  • Engaging Diverse Learners Through Nearpod
    Gohar Hamo, Instructional Technology Facilitator
    AJ Lugo, Resource Specialist Teacher, Sylmar Leadership Academy

    Engage diverse learners with Nearpod multi modal learning features that allow all students to access content. During this learning session teachers and leaders will gain a better understanding of using Nearpod to enhance student engagement specific to the content standards. Educators and leaders will explore features such as Note Taking, Drawing, Virtual Reality, Immersive Reader, Audio/Video responses, as well as participating in game-based learning. This session will empower participants to use Nearpod to accommodate different learners.

  • Nearpod 101
    Michelle Singh, Nearpod PD Facilitator

    Discover teaching with Nearpod while experiencing an interactive lesson. Then learn how to log into your account, explore the Nearpod Library of lessons, find, edit and launch lessons in both LIVE and Student-Paced mode. Examine information available in reports to monitor student learning. Participants are eligible to begin the Nearpod Certified Educator (NCE) process after this session.

  • Elevating English Learners with Nearpod (4:35 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.)
    Alyssa Navarette, Nearpod PD Facilitator

    Learn how to use Nearpod to provide your students access to rigorous academic content with interactive EL strategies and scaffolds.

  • Elevating English Learners with Nearpod (5:20 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.)
    Alyssa Navarette, Nearpod PD Facilitator

    Learn how to use Nearpod to provide your students access to rigorous academic content with interactive EL strategies and scaffolds.

  • A Pedagogical Approach to Nearpod (4:35 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.)
    David Franklin, Nearpod PD Facilitator

    Learn how to use Nearpod to create lessons that incorporate the 5E (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate) model into your instruction.

  • A Pedagogical Approach to Nearpod (5:20 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.)
    David Franklin, Nearpod PD Facilitator

    Learn how to use Nearpod to create lessons that incorporate the 5E (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate) model into your instruction.

  • Flocabulary: Building Academic Vocabulary for All Learners (4:35 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.)
    Ike Ramos and Mervin Jenkins, Nearpod PD Facilitators

    Learn about Flocabulary’s engaging videos and interactive, inspirational vocabulary development lessons. In this introductory session, we will explore the Flocabulary site and discover lesson features and grade-level content.

  • Flocabulary: Building Academic Vocabulary for All Learners (5:20 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.)
    Ike Ramos, Nearpod PD Facilitators and Mervin Jenkins, Nearpod PD Facilitators

    Learn about Flocabulary’s engaging videos and interactive, inspirational vocabulary development lessons. In this introductory session, we will explore the Flocabulary site and discover lesson features and grade-level content.

Day 3 - Friday, April 9, 2021

3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. - WELCOME AND KEYNOTE

  • Welcome and Keynote
    • Dr. Sharla Berry (3:40 p.m. - 4:20 p.m.)
    • Stephen Reid (4:20 p.m. - 4:55 p.m.)

Day 3 of LEETSFest21 brings you the convergence of inclusive and engaging online learning that supports diverse students and the principles of game design to the learning process, beginning with keynote speeches from Dr. Sharla Berry, researcher, professor, and practitioner, along with Stephen Reid, Senior Program Manager with Microsoft, as they underscore relevant, meaningful, impactful, and real-world learning through online and game-based learning; followed by hands-on workshops leveraging Minecraft: Education Edition.

5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. - BREAKOUT SESSIONS

  • Enhancing Instruction with Game-Based Learning & Minecraft Education Edition
    Sandra Cuautle Herrera and Rohya Prudhomme, Instructional Technology Facilitators

    During this session, participants will have the opportunity to explore game-based learning with Minecraft: Education Edition. Join us to learn how you can use Minecraft: Education Edition to foster student engagement, build community, and help your students develop problem solving skills in any content area. If planning to attend, please make sure to download Minecraft Education Edition prior to the learning session.

  • Demonstrating Mastery Through Game-Based Learning
    AJ Lugo, Resource Specialist Teacher, Sylmar Leadership Academy
    Maria Muniz, CTE Teacher, Sylmar Leadership Academy

    The intent of “Demonstrating Mastery Through Game-Based Learning” is to help educators and leaders learn how to assess students’ mastery through Minecraft: Education Edition. Participants will learn about game-based learning by engaging in hands-on experiences and exploration. Educators and education leaders will leave with a basic understanding of how to incorporate Minecraft EDU in the classroom by making the connections to the ISTE standards. **If planning to attend, please make sure to download Minecraft Education Edition prior to the learning session.

  • Code Across the Curriculum with Minecraft Education
    Haronid Moncivais and Afeez Bello, M:EE PD Facilitators

    Minecraft is the best-selling video game of all time with over 50% of US children having played the game. Learning coding and computer science through Minecraft Education increases student access to these skills, using an immersive, creative platform that is both familiar and engaging. Students learn to code, collaborate and solve problems through play and projects that matter to them. Minecraft Education’s curriculum is easy to follow, empowering teachers of all backgrounds to deliver coding across the curriculum. With over 150 hours of curriculum, students can learn block (visual) programming and advance to Python and JavaScript (text-based languages). In this session, you will be guided by Minecraft Education’s lead developer through different in-game coding experiences and see how easy it is to incorporate coding and computer science into your classes. Please make sure to download Minecraft Education Edition prior to the learning s ession.

  • Minecraft: Education Edition: A New Opportunity for Esports in Education
    Aria Azizi and Laylah Bulman, M:EE PD Facilitators

    Minecraft: Education Edition contains special features for immersive and connected learning, from specialized blocks to enhanced multiplayer and a camera and portfolio for assessment. As a competitive esports title, its strength is that it gives students the opportunity to design, create, build, and code their own game experiences. With over 99% of students having played one competitive video game in the last year, it’s nearly certain that esports is a part of your students’ lives. If you are interested in scholastic esports but not sure where to start, we offer thirteen brand new Minecraft worlds, build challenge examples and an evidence-based scholastic esports framework, to support competitive play in the classroom. Meet students where they’re at with Minecraft Education Esports. An overview and live demo of the worlds, build challenges and framework will be presented. Please make sure to download Minecraft Education Edition prior to the learning session.

Day 4 - Saturday, April 10, 2021

9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - WELCOME AND KEYNOTE

  • Welcome and Keynote
    • Dr. Mitchel Resnick (9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.)

LEETSFest21 will conclude with sessions highlighting creative and playful learning beginning with keynote speaker Dr. Mitchel Resnick, MIT Professor and Founder and Creator of Scratch, sharing about the Four P’s (Projects, Peers, Passion, and Play) to develop creative thinkers. To complement this keynote, breakout sessions will showcase how to bring creative learning and computational thinking in the classroom through digital storytelling, creative computing and programming, as well as virtual and simulated robotics and makerspaces.

10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - BREAKOUT SESSIONS

  • Creative Solutions with Scratch and LEGO WeDo 2.0
    Amy Adams, Instructional Technology Facilitator
    Jamie Galgana, Instructional Leadership Support Specialist

    In this LEETSFest session, participants will make connections to their role and engage in a unique experience converging digital platforms, virtual environments, and hands-on makerspaces. Participants will understand the role of creative play, find opportunities for computational thinking and engage in hands-on learning.

  • Eliciting the Innovative Designer Through Digital Storytelling
    Maria Franco, Instrctional Technology Facilitator and
    Elizabeth Lester, Assistant Principal at Madison MS

    Participants will be developing their skills as a facilitator as they learn how to plan digital storytelling activities that will use a design process and computational thinking strategies (Facilitator). As a result, they will learn how to engage their students as innovative designers with this design process and a variety of tools to create original digital stories explaining a solution to a problem / content topic (innovative Designer). Participants will in turn learn how to develop their students’ creative communicator skills as they use a variety of digital platforms and tools to express themselves creatively (Creative Communicator). By targeting a specific audience for their digital stories, the students will be diving into their ability to customize their message for an intended audience engaging the students in complex thinking. Through learning how to use block coding, participants will be able to engage their students in computational thinking strategies as they use algorithmic thinking to code their stories.

  • Engage Students Through Playful Learning to Think Critically and Solve Complex Problems
    Paulette Donellon, Enterprise Account Manager LEGO Education
    Betty Justus, LEGO Education Solutions Architect

    Engage students regardless of their learning level in thinking critically, analyzing data and solving complex problems with real-world relevance.  In this session we will learn about LEGO Education’s newest solution SPIKE Prime! The SPIKE Prime solution brings together LEGO bricks, a programmable, multi-port Hub, coding language based on Scratch and STEAM learning units to help  students of all learning levels build confidence and critical thinking skills. Join us for some fun and engaging tricks and tips you can take back to your classroom.

  • Building Confidence in Your Learners with LEGO Education
    Paulette Donellon, Enterprise Account Manager LEGO Education

    STEAM learning is all about building confidence in learners. Join us for a look at current data around confidence in STEAM learning and ways to build confidence amongst teachers and students through using LEGO Bricks for hands-on activities. In this session, we will share with you LEGO® Education materials to experience how easy entry lessons can lead to limitless creative designs. LEGO® Education engages students in thinking critically, analyzing data and solving complex problems through working through real-world, relevant challenges. Educators will walk away thinking about how building confidence in students early and often will lead to pathways of success in building 21st century skills and preparing for college and careers.

  • Inspiration on How to Develop Data Literacy in Elementary and Middle School Students
    Bettly Justus, LEGO Education Solutions Architect

    This engaging session will provide a sneak peek and a chance to meet the newest hands-on STEAM solution from LEGO Education that encourages students to discover physical science in action! LEGO® Education BricQ Motion engages elementary and middle-school students in STEAM learning as they experiment with forces, motion and interactions in the context of sports. BricQ Motion provides easy, hands-on learning experiences that spark cool “aha” moments, as students set LEGO bricks in motion without the need for technology.

LEETS 2020

LEETS 2019

LEETS 2019 Poster