After attending my first ISTE conference, it took me awhile to process everything. From the playgrounds and the keynotes, to the BYOD sessions and the expo floor, it was a lot to take in. But, after some reflection, I left ISTE with a newfound respect for five emerging EdTech trends (this article was originally posted on Forward Edge’s blog):
1. The NEW ISTE Standards for Educators.
Sunday’s release of the new ISTE Standards for Educators was one of the highlights of the convention. The updated standards provide the framework for how educators across the globe should use technology in the classroom and focus on helping students become empowered learners. The conference stressed the importance of giving students choice, power, and autonomy over their own learning. ISTE’s updated standards encourage that goal to an even higher degree and help teachers everywhere collaborate, connect, and rethink their own approach to teaching and learning. Conference sessions revolved around helping students engage in digital spaces responsibly, teaching students to be digital leaders, and treating privacy and student data seriously. A new curriculum developed by Google (aligned to new ISTE standard #6), “Be Internet Awesome,” had attendees buzzing around the conference floor, and it’s sure to be an invaluable tool for districts as they help students use the internet wisely!
2. Everyone Can (and Should) Code!
Coding was everywhere! From Switch Playgrounds, to Tynker, to Scratch, educators are recognizing the value of coding in the classroom. Coding helps students think critically and helps them ask this valuable question: how can I take ideas and use my knowledge of what computers can do to help us solve problems? In some sessions, educators got to code drones, Spheros, and other programmable devices to demonstrate how simple and fun the experience can be. In a few of the Apple EDU coding sessions, featuring Swift Playgrounds, attendees developed code using the Swift coding language on iPads. Coding, according to the conference, is the new literacy.
3. Integrate a Maker Mindset
Another emerging trend from ISTE 2017 was implementing a maker mindset in the classroom. Teachers have to rethink the teaching and learning process and allow students to decide how to demonstrate their own learning. This mindset shift emphasizes giving students access to creation tools, the time, and the space they need to develop solutions, build new products, and explore the world around them. From using codeable objects, makerspace components like Makey Makey Kits and Little Bits, or totally redesigned classroom spaces, students need to be exposed to the world of design thinking.
4. Explore Virtual Worlds
From Google Arts and Culture, Google Cardboard, countless iPad apps, to Virtual Reality Headsets and resistance-mimicking VR gloves, exploring virtual worlds was another common theme at ISTE 2017. Travel is costly and time-consuming, but virtual reality can make untold experiences available, engaging, and seamless! Many of the sessions and expo booths focused on the emerging power of virtual reality and how it can engage students to learn and explore the world around them. You can’t take the class to Egypt to see the pyramids? No big deal…just create a virtual tour in Google Arts and Culture.
5. Tell Your Story
Whether it was planned or not, the biggest message that became the “unofficial” theme of the conference was, “Tell your story!” From the first keynote to Jennie Magiera’s rousing presentation, the conference inspired all of us to share our story. According to many presenters, storytelling ignites multiple parts of our brain and helps us make connections to past events. We are engaged by stories, and our stories help define who we are. Literacy isn’t just about reading and writing anymore, it’s about creating opportunities and telling our stories. Technology and education should enhance our connections to each other and the world around us. Rather than isolate people or make us anti-social, technology should be a portal to our stories and the stories of others.
For more information on the biggest takeaways from ISTE 2017, Register for our ISTE Recap Event at Forward Edge on Wednesday, July 19th from 9-11am! We are located at 2724 East Kemper Road, Sharonville, Ohio 45241.