Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Sharing Learning from Miami Device 2015

The last two days my wife and I attended and participated in the 2nd annual Miami Device Conference in Coconut Grove, Florida. Organized by gifted educator Felix Jacomino, Miami Device is one of the the premier learning events on our planet for educators. The next Miami Device conference will be November 9-10, 2017, so mark your calendar now to “save the date!” This 2 day event is not only a fantastic opportunity to learn about digital learning strategies and tools from an amazingly innovative group, it’s also an extremely welcoming and supportive networking opportunity. I have lots of wonderful folks in my learning tribe. If you follow educational technology leaders on Twitter I’m sure you’ll see many familiar names and faces in the tweets I’ll highlight below. Many people in my Twitter Yodas list attended Miami Device this year. Many thanks to Felix Jacomino for putting together another fantastic two day learning event! In this post, I’ll share some highlights from the conference as well as some of the media recordings (audio podcasts and a video) I recorded and shared, which might be beneficial for you if you didn’t get to attend this year!

First I’ll share a few thoughts about Twitter and metrics for personal sharing at Miami Device. Felix does a great job encouraging educators to “get connected on Twitter” and use Twitter before, during, and after the conference to keep learning together. In February 2015, Felix and I shared the opening and closing keynotes at a day of professional learning for teachers in my hometown and high school in Manhattan, Kansas. Felix capped off his closing keynote about sharing by singing and performing a remix of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” transformed into “Do You Want to Get Connected?” He should receive an educational technology musical creativity award for this! Amazing. Felix is a persuasive and gifted advocate for connected learning, which we all need in our schools and communities. Miami Device is, among many other things, a powerful extension of Felix’s own passion for encouraging educators to “get connected.”

For the past few years, I’ve used a hosted installation of Tweet Nest to archive all the tweets I share. This is accessible publicly on Over time, I’ve evolved in the way I save and share websites and learning. Instead of regularly using social bookmarking websites like and Diigo, now I mainly tweet my learning. I also share articles to a free FlipBoard magazine (“iReading”) and to Pocket (for offline reading), but Twitter is my primary way to create “digital bread crumbs” I can use later to relocate links and resources. My personal Tweet Nest archive is a key place where I search with and use these breadcrumbs, which are often hashtags like #miamidevice.

A current search of my Tweet Nest archive for #miamidevice reveals some interesting metrics. In November 2014 I tweeted 199 times about #MiamiDevice. This month so far in 2015, I’ve tweeted 288 times. I love how Tweet Nest makes not only visualizing, but also linking to these combined search queries easy.

My 2014 & 2015 Tweets about #MiamiDevice by Wesley Fryer, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  Wesley Fryer 

In addition to sharing learning from conferences “live” via Twitter, I now frequently create Storify archives of tweets I shared and others shared during these events. This allows me to archive my learning personally for later review, but also helps to make connections to others during and after an event. Here’s a link to my Storify archive of tweets from Miami Device 2015. I’m also embedding it at the end of this post. It includes approximately 300 tweets, since I retweeted a lot from the conference too.

One of the features of WordPress I really enjoy using now is auto-embed. When I want to share a specific tweet from a conference or other event, instead of taking a screenshot with Skitch and posting it to Flickr, I can simply paste the direct URL into WordPress (visual not HTML mode) and the tweet is visually rendered with live, clickable links. This also works with YouTube videos. I’ll use this autoembed method in this post to highlight some of my key learning points and memorable moments from Miami Device.

Next, however, I’ll highlight three audio podcasts I published last night from Miami Device as well as an informative video I recorded. I’ve published audio podcasts on my “Moving at the Speed of Creativity” podcast channel since 2005. In December 2010, however, I launched a new podcast channel I titled “Fuel for Educational Change Agents.” The “about” widget on the site explains:

This audio podcast channel (“Fuel for Educational Change Agents”) includes a variety of audio recordings by and recorded by Wesley Fryer, published for educators worldwide interested in free, audio-based professional development. This is a supplementary podcast channel (complementing “Moving at the Speed of Creativity Podcasts”) which typically includes longer and lightly edited or unedited audio recordings.

I’m a believer in “the ethic of minimal clicks,” an idea I wrote about in my 2011 book, “Playing with Media.” Even if you know how to do something (like make a podcast) in a fancier way that takes more steps, being able to do the same thing / create the same media product with FEWER steps/clicks can be transformative because it can significantly increase the QUANTITY of media you produce. This dynamic is true with my “Fuel for Educational Change Agents” podcast channel. There’s no way I could or would have produced three fully edited “Speed of Creativity” podcasts yesterday after the conference. By having a “quick edit” podcast channel ready to go, however, it didn’t take long to trim the audio recordings in Audacity on my MacBook Air, normalize each audio file and add podcast meta info via Auphonic’s online processor, and upload each one with a description to WordPress. Here are the three new podcast episodes from Miami Device:

  1. Raised by Siri: A course in Digital Parenting by Karl Hooker
  2. Integrating Design & Technology Into Conventional Curriculum by Charlie Mahoney
  3. Newton’s Laws of Classroom Blogging by Wesley Fryer

In addition to these audio podcasts, I also recorded and published to YouTube (via the “YouTube Capture” app on my iPhone) a 12 minute interview about school-wide WordPress blogs (“Blogfolios”) with Andrea Hernandez (@edtechworkshop). Read more background and access links to resources Andrea discusses in the video in my post, “Learning about Schoolwide WordPress Blogs with Andrea Hernandez.”

Finally, before I highlight some individual tweets from Miami Device 2015 and embed my Storify archive, I’ll share the resource links from the three sessions I shared at the conference. As a presenter at educational technology conferences, I update the keynote topics, breakout session topics, and workshop topics I share a few times each year. I list and link chronologically on my Handouts wiki all my conference presentations, and update those each month. My three sessions for Miami Device 2015 were:

Here are a few tweeted highlights from Miami Device 2015.

It was great to visit in person with Adam Jones (@adamjonesed), who has been recording and publishing a great educational podcast this past year. I encourage you to subscribe to it!

This tweet from Jennifer Brachfeld, in response to the 2 hour Google GeoMap Workshop I shared on Thursday, was one of the most enthusiastic examples of conference feedback I’ve ever received. I added it to my main workshops webpage. It’s fantastic when learners get excited about the topics we explore together in a class!

John Spencer (@spencerideas) is a passionate educator and yet another edtech-hero (among many) of mine who presented this year at Miami Device. I LOVED his breakout session on assessment. So many practical, creative ideas for soliciting and obtaining more feedback from students about their learning and understanding.

There were lots of amazing folks at Miami Device, and some I’ve never or just rarely seen face-to-face. It was great to see and visit with Richard Wells (@iPadWells) from New Zealand and Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) from Georgia this year.

Derek Muller (@veritasium) has an absolutely phenomenal science and STEM-focused YouTube channel, and was our closing keynote speaker at Miami Device on Thursday. The video project he created with Destin Sandlin (@smartereveryday) from Smarter Every Day, “The Truth About Toilet Swirl,” is the best explanation of the Coriolis Effect I’ve ever seen and one of the most unique video projects I’ve ever shared with students. SO AMAZING. They recorded and edited two videos, one in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern hemisphere, so you can play both simultaneously: they play as a single video message. Just incredible, and one of my favorite STEM Curiosity Links from last year I shared with my 4th and 5th grade students. During his Miami Device keynote, Derek shared his “Slinky Drop Answer” video, which was one of his first YouTube videos to get over 1 million views. This is also SUPER cool, and one of the best takeaways from Miami Device that I’m sure to share down the road through STEMseeds workshops and other teaching / presenting opportunities.

Adam Bellow’s (@adambellow) closing to his Thursday morning keynote was an impressive demo of the Tickle app (@tickleapp). Shelly and I saw him try this at Mobile Learning 2015 in Tuscon, Arizona. Like Miami Device, Mobile Learning is a phenomenal learning event put on each year by Tony Vincent (@tonyvincent) and the Arizona K12 Center (@azk12). Add it to your #MustAttend education conferences!

Carl Hooker (@mrhooker) is the godfather of iPadPalooza, a third #MustAttend educational conference, and he organized “The Appmazing Race” at Miami Device this year. Shelly and I didn’t participate, but it was good fun to watch the video of photos Carl put together following yesterday’s closing keynote.

Angela Maiers (@AngelaMaiers) shared the closing keynote yesterday, and as always she was incredibly inspiring. Her focus on bravery and courage resonated deeply with me. I have some things I’ve been thinking about sharing publicly with others that I’m still really hesitant to talk about openly, and Angela made me think more about those ideas. “How Big Is Your BRAVE?” Mine needs to get bigger. Maybe it will one day.

Miami Device isn’t all about learning inside the walls of classrooms and auditoriums, however, it’s also about having fun in Miami and learning things that are unique to this area. Thursday night Shelly and I went on the culinary tour of Little Havana with Miami Food Tours (@miaculinarytour). The food and restaurants/stores we visited were great, and ride on a topless, double decker bus with characters like Dean Shareski (@shareski), Kyle Pace (@kylepace), Adam Bellow (@adambellow), and Carl Hooker (@mrhooker) was a blast. Thankfully no one stood up at the wrong time and got injured by the low hanging tree branches!

At the start of the tour,  I couldn’t resist sharing a PeriScope livestream. (I’ve since removed this link, since the autoplay site is offline and was causing a forced link redirect for my post…)

On our food tour of Little Havana, I thought it was pretty cool we saw the upstairs office where The Bay of Bigs Invasion was planned. I’d love to go on a historical tour of the area that just focused on Cuba and that era of our Cold War history, which in many ways still continues. This reminded me of Joan Dideon’s book, “Miami,” which I read years ago. Tangled webs have been woven here in Miami for sure.

At Miami Device this year I took several opportunities to advocate for the public sharing of student work in my sessions. Sadly, we still see many school leaders making policies regarding the interactive web based more out of fear rather than experience or an understanding of digital citizenship.

In his inspirational opening keynote on Friday at Miami Device, George Couros (@gcouros) persuasively made the case of why we need to “swim” in the water of social media with our students, and together learn how to thrive.

I can’t say enough positive things about George and his incredible advocacy for kids, for learning, for teachers, and for “the learning revolution” we all need. If you ever have an opportunity to hear George Couros speak, don’t miss it. Also check out his new book, “The Innovator’s Mindset.” I’ve got a copy and can’t wait to dig in for more @gcouros goodness.

I’ve undoubtedly heard this other places, but one of the things I shared in my session, “App Smashing to YouTube,” was the assertion “Video is the pencil of the 21st century.” If you know “the original source” for this statement please let me know via a comment or tweet. I’m not sure if this is something I picked up from someone else (most likely) or something I thought of / synthesized myself over the years. Thanks to Yau-Jau Ku from Argentina for amplifying this message during my session and sharing a photo. I added that to the main speaking page on

The twitter feedback in the “App Smashing to YouTube” presentation was terrific, both during and after the session. Whenever educators tweet about a session I’ve shared, it gives me a chance to follow them on Twitter. This increases the likelihood that down the road, as they share ideas, I’ll be influenced by their creativity and digital sharing generosity.

A huge highlight of Miami Device 2015 this year was getting to attend a session by Charlie Mahoney (@charliemahoney) and hang out afterward. We also got to catch the two closing keynotes each day together. Charlie is one of the smartest and kindest people I know, which is a pretty awesome combination. Definitely give a listen to the audio podcast of his Miami Device session, “Integrating Design & Technology Into Conventional Curriculum.”

A reflection on Miami Device 2015 would be woefully incomplete without a mention of the AMAZING food. Wow. I’ve never had seafood paella this good, and this was our lunch yesterday. (There were other choices too, like sausage paella and vegetarian paella.) Wow, wow, wow. What an experience! Great job Felix and the entire Miami Device team! You can bet Shelly and I are making plans now to be back in 2017! You should join us!


2 responses to “Sharing Learning from Miami Device 2015”

  1. Felix Jacomino Avatar

    Thank you, Wes, for this awesome synopsis of Miami Device. You made a huge impact on many, many folks with your sessions and conversations. You are a mastermind and it’s my pleasure to call you friend. Also, thanks for gracing us with your lovely wife, Shelly. It’s always a pleasure to share #f2f time with the Fryers!

  2. AngelaMaiers Avatar

    What an incredible, informative and inspring post! You captured things so brilliantly! Thank you my friend!