Author - Cate Tolnai

Higher Ed Looks to Leverage OERs

In a recent LinkedIn post, Kris Costa, Dean of Career Technical Education at West Hills College Lemoore, shared the institution’s innovative approach to Open Educational Resources (OERs) in higher education. The extraordinary amount of money that students and community members have saved as a result of this creative approach to curriculum is impressive. College instructors are leveraging OERs and ditching textbooks, resulting in fewer expenses for learners and more affordable education.

If you’re interested in OERs and the open pedagogy associated with it, pay attention to the exciting growth happening at West Hills College Lemoore. Also, keep your eyes peeled for CUE’s new offering, CraftED, a professional approach to open pedagogy.

CUE-D Up with Sarah Thomas — Featuring Valerie Lewis

There’s Something About Valerie…

Valerie Lewis is dedicated to the transformation of learning through engaging and creative activities for ALL students. She founded AppleSeed Learning to offer learning through community-based cultural programs, partnerships with community leaders, innovative learning labs, and one of the newest projects to be born: The EdObstacle Course! She is the Director of Teacherpreneur chat on Voxer to encourage others (and herself) to delve deeper into one’s passion and merge it with sound business practices.

Valerie is respected amongst her peers as a motivator (of staff and students alike), and as a result, she has led the Special Education Department for a number of years. She is Remind’s Connected Educator’s Lead Teacher for SpEd teachers. She also consults the New Business and Development group of Cox Communications in Atlanta on educational initiatives. She has written blogs for companies like Piktochart and EdSurge concerning Professional Development and the integration of infographics within the classroom.

What’s exciting?

Seeing how many people are on board with trying new things What is Valerie “CUE-d Up” to do this year? “Maybe writing a book,” and figuring out ways to scale her grassroots initiatives, EdObstacles and #PasstheScopeEDU

What’s one tip Valerie has for viewers?

Go with your gut…be confident with that thing that you know moves and drives you. Don’t try to measure yourself against what others are doing.

Resources Mentioned

EdObstacles, an immersive learning adventure that combines K-12 academics with a physical obstacle course that adapts to students of all ages and grade levels. Teams advance through challenges across all major subject areas, collaborating on common goals while improving their social and physical stamina.

#PasstheScopeEDU: A growing community of connected educators who share the same passion for changing education. These scopers are committed to a monthly broadcast via Periscope that allows them to share a chosen topic or theme.

Erin Klein — The True Disruptor!!

erin klein

If you haven’t gotten to know the work of Erin Klein on social media or on her blog, Kleinspiration, consider this your personal invitation. Erin is a generous and creative educator who shares her ideas and innovation across the globe. In a recent post on DisruptorDaily.com, Erin receives a shout-out for her student-centered focus and spirit in educational technology. Her community recognizes her accomplishments with awards and accolades, and we are thrilled to bring her to the Spring CUE Conference this year as a Keynote Speaker!

KleinspirationCheck out how she (and other mega-influencers) disrupt and inspire on Twitter and beyond by reading this post. And reserve your seat for Spring CUE today!

Get to Know Don Wettrick – A Member Spotlight

don wettrick

There’s Something About Don…

Don Wettrick is the founder of StartEdUp, author of “Pure Genius: Building a Culture of Innovation and Taking 20% Time to the Next Level,” and Innovation Specialist at Noblesville High School, central IN. Don is known for his award-winning work as a middle school and high school teacher; educational and innovation consultant; and educational speaker. Check out his CUE-D Up Interview with Sarah Thomas! 

What’s exciting?

Student entrepreneurship

What is Don “CUE-d Up” to do this year?

Get more educators into the entrepreneurial mindset

What’s one tip Don has for viewers?

Allow your classroom to be filled and incentivized on risk.

Resources Mentioned

Twitch, a livestreaming platform

Your Thoughts?

Add your thoughts on our Flipgrid! (Note: They might be shared out via social media.)


KQED Has Some Serious Love for CUE Members who Blog!



If you haven’t already seen this KQED post featuring the 20 best teachers who blog in 2017, then allow us to show you the way! We are so proud of many California educators and CUE influencers who made the list. It’s not easy to find the time and the right topic to blog about, and these educators have gifted our CUE community with their thoughts, reflections, and expertise.

Congrats to Alice Chen, Catlin Tucker, Jen Roberts, Vicki Davis, Cori Orlando, and many others who got called out in the best of ways!

Here’s to lots more sharing and blogging in 2018!

Creativity, Adobe EDU, and You!

cue spark

learn something new in 2018

Online learning has never been as accessible as it is in 2018. We are excited to share information with our CUE community about 20+ professional classes available for FREE. If you are looking to be more creative with your curriculum and leverage the power of high-quality and simple tools, then check out the Adobe Education Exchange!

With multiple opportunities to learn, play, and share, these courses are designed by educators for educators. Get started on your creative journey on your time and at your pace!

Visit bit.ly/freeforeducators today!

CUE’d Up with Sarah Thomas – Episode 2 Featuring Rafranz Davis

This week on

CUE-d Up

Rafranz Davis

There’s Something About Rafranz…

Rafranz Davis has dedicated her career to empowering students and teachers to share their voices throughout their communities and the world. She uses her platform across the edtech ecosystem to advocate for STEM and creative learning through making while simultaneously challenging communities through the lens of digital equity and diversity. Rafranz is a public school administrator for Lufkin ISD, a rural east Texas community, where she serves as its Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning.

She is the 2017 winner of ISTE’s Outstanding Leadership Award and holds countless industry distinctions including: Google Innovator, Adobe Education Leader, TED innovative educator, Apple Distinguished Educator, Microsoft Innovative Education Expert and her proudest, Global Minecraft Mentor.

What’s exciting?

Schools providing opportunities for creativity to students

What is Rafranz “CUE-d Up” to do this year?

Work surrounding Invention Literacy

What’s one tip Rafranz has for viewers?

Do what scares you, and bring those experiences to your students.

Resources Mentioned

TED Talk by Jay Silver, Founder of Makey makey

Invention Literacy (for Students) by Colleen Graves

Invention Literacy Workshop Wrap-Up

Unity Gaming

Your Thoughts?

Add your thoughts on our Flipgrid! (Note: They might be shared out via social media.)

Leroy the Launchpad — Featuring the Voice of Adam Juarez

leroy's big idea

The Leroy Finkel Fellowship is what I like to call a launchpad. For me, it was an opportunity to have a platform to share my ideas. Being selected as a finalist for the 2017 Leroy Finkel Fellowship was a huge confidence-builder. It made me believe my ideas were big, innovative, and worth sharing with educators. It definitely set my “tech coaching” journey on a whole new trajectory.

My Leroy Finkel journey began during a nondescript conversation with former Leroy Finkel finalist Katherine Goyette. She suggested that the work with my students was definitely a big idea worthy of Leroy Finkel notoriety. I submitted my application and, lo and behold, I was selected as a finalist.

Leroy Finkel Fellowships 2017

Leroy Finkel Fellowships Finals 2017

At the time, I was very new to the whole “EdTech scene.” I had presented a handful of times but was unsure of how special or innovative my ideas were. Seeing the other finalists, their ideas, and the illustrious list of past winners really boosted my confidence. Preparing for the final presentation was a great learning experience.

My idea, the Cardinal Innovation Center, is a very big idea. Presenting it in five minutes to a large crowd and panel of judges was a challenge. I have been known to be a little long-winded. It forced me to adapt my presentation skills to be more concise and articulate.

Although my good friend and colleague Kim Calderon took home the grand prize, I felt empowered to take my ideas and teaching to a whole new level. The $500 finalist prize gave some life to the Cardinal Innovation Center. The money allowed me to purchase some needed materials to make it a reality. In addition, the status of being a finalist, along with the money, gave me some much needed clout with my administration. Their support has been instrumental in making the Cardinal Innovation Center a reality.

championship belt

The Leroy Finkel Fellowship is much like the WWE Intercontinental Championship. For those unfamiliar, the Intercontinental Championship is usually held by “superstars” who are considered to be up-and-comers who have potential to be future WWE Champions. It is a platform for those stars to show they have what it takes to be a champion.Though not as prestigious as the WWE Championship, it exposes them to the pressure and rigor of being a champion.  All-time greats such as Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock were all Intercontinental Champions before ascending to breathtaking heights as WWE Champion.

When all the Leroy Finkel Fellowship smoke had cleared, I was primed to push myself to become better. A month later, I became a Google Certified Trainer. During the summer, I presented in the EdTech Coaches Playground at ISTE. After ISTE, my Cardinal Innovation Center idea helped me earn acceptance as a Google Certified Innovator at the Sydney 2017 cohort.

Google Innovation Academy

Google Innovation Academy, Sydney

Long story short, the Leroy Finkel Fellowship was my Intercontinental Championship experience. It launched my practice to a whole new level. For anyone needing an “EDU-Shot-in-the-Arm”, I highly recommend taking the plunge and submitting an idea for the Leroy Finkel Fellowship. You will not regret it.

Sweet Farewell to a Weird Guy…

thank you Doug

Doug RobertsonHe’s weird. He’s unruly. He’s Doug.

For the past 2 years, Doug Robertson, AKA the Weird Teacher, has shared his voice, passions, and quirks with our community on a weekly basis as CUE’s Blog Editor. His blue hair and bright tone filled our minds with new ideas, inspired projects, and well wishes to members near and far. It is with great thanks that we announce the end of Doug’s tenure as he transitions to spend more time with his students, his family, and his own writing which he has simultaneously been crafting. Doug Robertson in action

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Doug on several projects, and I am always impressed with the way he prioritizes the edge in people’s voices. He is not shy about asking questions that push our thinking and place emphasis on “what is best for students.”

Jon Corippo, Interim Executive Director of CUE and overall Helpful Guy, has this to say about Doug:

I recall writing a letter of recommendation for Doug to apply for this position – and he’s not disappointed. I have appreciated his passion and wit in all the blog posts he’s written and shared over the last few years. He’s an EDUchampion and an amazing classroom leader.

We hope to bring Doug’s voice back from time to time to keep each of us connected to his journey. Thanks for sharing, caring, and amplifying! Journey on, friend!

If you haven’t checked out Doug’s writing, you can find (and purchase) his four published titles here.

Doug's books

And while we’re at it, click below on a few of our favorite posts from Doug:

trapping our learning... humanelyCue Short Listget in the classroom Amplify Awesome