Pizza Box Green Screens, Math Memes, and More: Our Biggest Takeaways from ISTE 2019

Thousands of people poured into Philadelphia recently for ISTE 2019. They attended informative sessions, networked over coffee, and explored the packed exhibit hall. But most importantly, they walked away with new knowledge they can implement at their schools to help their students stay engaged and develop crucial skills. 

Here are SnapStream Edu’s biggest takeaways from the conference.  

Memes Can Have Many Uses in Education

A math meme. Photo Credit: Tina Nazerian

Teacher Sharon Serano believes memes in education can give students an outlet to be creative and funny, and can be a great tool for teachers to use in their lessons. 

“Memes are made primarily by students for students,” Serano said. “It gives them the opportunity to summarize the content and make their point very quickly.” 

Teachers, Serano noted, can use memes to promote what it means to be a good digital citizen. 

“As we know, once you put something out there, it’s out there forever,” Serano said. “So if it’s going to be out there forever, it better be good. It better not get you in trouble.” 

At her workshop, Serano shared that she started using memes with her math students in 2016. Dubbing it “The Math Meme Project,” she had her students create and submit memes about algebra topics or her class in general for extra credit. She then took some of the memes and used them in a YouTube video which now has over 9,500 views. And she didn’t stop there—she also created videos for the memes her students came up with in 2017 and 2019

Serano doesn’t think memes have to be restricted to math topics.  Here are some of the other ways Serano thinks they can be used in education: 

  • Students can use memes to summarize a chapter or a novel they’ve read. They can also use memes to advertise a D.E.A.R. (“Drop Everything and Read”) book to their peers. 
Examples of literature-related memes. Photo Credit: Tina Nazerian
  • Teachers can create memes about their classroom rules and put them up on the board for all students to see.
Examples of memes about classroom rules. Photo Credit: Tina Nazerian
  • Students can make memes to explain scientific topics. 
Examples of science-related memes. Photo Credit: Tina Nazerian

Students can produce memes to dig into historical events.

Examples of memes related to historical events. Photo Credit: Tina Nazerian

Teachers Can Get Creative with Green Screens

Students turn pizza boxes into green screens. Photo Credit: Tina Nazerian

Green screens in schools are typically used for video morning announcements. But educator Jessica Redcay thinks there is a lot more teachers can do with them, in particular for English Language Arts instruction. 

“When we think about Language Arts, a lot of times we think about reading and writing,” Redcay said. “But you also have to think about listening and speaking. If you’re not able to express yourself and say what you mean, you’re not going to be able to write.” 

To get students to practice their listening and speaking skills, Redcay had several suggestions. One was that teachers can have students put on a puppet show against a green screen to retell a book. Students can also create things and sell them with “infomercials” they make in front of a green screen. 

Redcay thinks teachers can get creative with how they make green screens too. One idea? Don’t dump those old pizza boxes. Instead, paint them dark green, and voila, you can use them as a green screen. 

Let Students Take Charge when Making Video Announcements

Doreen Lucero and Nancy Buck’s poster at ISTE. Photo Credit: Tina Nazerian

Doreen Lucero and Nancy Buck teach at two different schools in the same district in California. They each advise a weekly video announcements program at their respective schools. 

At the duo’s poster presentation, Lucero told SnapStream Edu the weekly video announcements not only keep the school community informed, but give students the opportunity to create original content. 

Lucero added that she’s not teaching her students how to produce the pre-recorded announcements—her students have “way more advanced” skills than her.  

“Instead, I’m teaching them communication, collaboration, organization, all of those other skills,” Lucero said. 

Lucero gave advice to teachers who want to start a similar program at their own schools. Teachers should not try to control and handle everything the students do—that will stifle them. Instead, they should let students use their own skills and be as creative as they can be. 

Additionally, teachers need to remember, and emphasize to students, who the audience is for the show they’re producing. They should also support students as they learn how to work together as a team. 

Ultimately, Lucero said that advising a video announcements program does not necessarily come down to how tech savvy a teacher is. 

“It’s all about working with people and using students’ skills to produce their own content.” 


About SnapStream Edu: SnapStream Edu provides schools with technology so they can easily stream live morning announcements to the classroom. Once SnapStream Edu is installed on a school’s network, teachers can use any camera or iPad to start a live stream. SnapStream Edu can also be used to distribute broadcast TV (like PBS and CNN) over the network to the classroom. Teachers can use SnapStream Edu’s built-in search engine to find clips they want to use in their lessons. To learn more, visit our website.

The 5 ISTE 2019 Learning Opportunities We’re Most Excited About

It’s almost time for one of the most popular edtech conferences of the year—ISTE. Teachers, principals, technology directors, and instructional technology coaches are just some of the professionals the event brings together.

Attendees are busy packing their bags and carefully looking through the program, which boasts over 2,000 learning opportunities. Here are the five learning opportunities the team at SnapStream Edu is most excited about.

1. When are Facts Not Facts? Media Literacy in 2019 

Sunday, June 23, 3:00–4:00 pm
Location: Terrace Ballroom IV, Level 4


Misinformation and disinformation are rampant online. Some well-known examples include misleading or incorrect political claims. Also alarming? A 2016 study from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education found that students across the United States have poor ability when it comes to assessing fake news. 

Presenter Susan Brooks-Young wants to teach educators strategies both they and their students can use to identify misinformation and disinformation on the internet. 

She tells SnapStream Edu in an email that she hopes people who go to her session will leave with “the realization that current issues with online disinformation are not going to be solved with technology-based solutions.” She argues that ultimately, people “need to develop the skills required to be critical consumers of media.” 

2. Get Lit! Digital Literacy in the K-12 Classroom

Sunday, June 23, 3:00–4:00 pm
Location: 120BC


Nowadays, teachers have resources like podcasts, videos, and infographics at their fingertips. They can add such resources to their classes and help their students build digital literacy

Presenter Ana Hale will cover strategies for effectively teaching with digital media. She’ll also discuss free tools educators can use to enrich their lessons. 


3. Digital Storytelling and Digital Literacy: Using Video to Demonstrate Learning

Monday, June 24, 8:30–9:30 am
Location: 122B


Video in the classroom can help students develop their critical thinking skills, become acquainted with different languages and cultures, and stay engaged in class

Jennifer Leban will show participants the variety of video tools, styles, and formats they can use in their classrooms. She’ll outline different ways they can create digital stories. Digital stories, Leban believes, can help teachers incorporate personalized learning and student choice in their lessons. 


4. Using Memes in the Classroom

Tuesday, June 25, 1:45–2:45 pm
Location: 125


There are so many different memes floating around on the web, from Doge to the World Record Egg.

Sharon Serano thinks memes can also have a place in the classroom—teachers can use them to supplement their lessons, or encourage students to contribute to units. As part of her workshop, she’ll have attendees separate into small groups to brainstorm and make memes.  

5. How Social Media Can Make Learning in the Elementary Classroom a Blast! 

Tuesday, June 25, 4:00–6:00 p
Location: Posters: Level 4, Terrace Ballroom Lobby, Table 5


Social media can be a powerful learning tool. It can help students connect with and learn about people from different parts of the country and world. 

Presenters Beth Hamlin and Julie Stewart want educators to know that it’s easy to start incorporating social media into their elementary school curriculums. They’ll share their personal experiences using social media to help their students learn, and give people ideas they can use in their own classrooms. 


About SnapStream Edu: SnapStream Edu provides schools with technology so they can easily stream live morning announcements to the classroom. Once SnapStream Edu is installed on a school’s network, teachers can use any camera or iPad to start a live stream. SnapStream Edu can also be used to distribute broadcast TV (like PBS and CNN) over the network to the classroom. Teachers can use SnapStream Edu’s built-in search engine to find clips they want to use in their lessons. To learn more, visit our booth (#959) at #ISTE19 or read about us on our website. And if you haven’t already, take our survey on the state of morning announcements for a chance to win a free studio kit for your school. 

SnapStream booth at ISTE 2019