Inspiration at ISTE

Summer offers time to regroup. Educators can spend some great quality down time doing absolutely nothing for a while, but inevitably our minds start running back to our classrooms. I think this is why so many get great ideas and inspiration for new direction during the summer.

The summer also offers a multitude of opportunities to attend training or conferences. One of my favorite conferences is ISTE, and this year it was in San Antonio.

ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) is an annual event known for bringing thousands of teachers together all for the latest news, gadgets, and education tips. Because so many educators are involved, many companies (more than 550 of them this year) also take the opportunity to announce their latest updates and newest tools.

Google certainly had a presence at this year’s event with over 40 sessions and a massive expo booth that allowed for lots of interactive play. Google has steadily worked to improve their platform for education as more and more tools are offered to their over 70 million G Suite for Education users. Interestingly enough, the New York Times recently ran an article about “How Google Took Over the Classroom.” According to an article in Education Week by Benjamin Herold, “Educators are turning in droves to Google’s Chromebook devices and G Suite for Education online software tools, primarily because of the affordability, simplicity, and convenience they offer.”

Some of the exciting changes involve Google Forms, a platform many educators use for quizzes in the classroom. Now, teachers will enjoy even more customization with the partial credit for answer choices while auto-grading multiple-choice questions. Other innovative applications include Cast for Education, a Chrome application, which will allow teachers and students to wirelessly share their screens with the entire class.

Many devoted Kahoot! users will be happy to hear that the popular game-based learning platform is going mobile. The new app was designed to “enable teachers to assign homework that’s fun,” according to Erik C. Harrell, the CEO of the company. The app will be ready in September.

Newsela, an online resource which allows teachers to select and assign articles based on students’ Lexile levels, announced that they will broaden their original base from middle school ELA to include three new articles a week aimed specifically at elementary students. Each article “will contain five ‘power words’ – high-utility academic vocabulary – which students can click on to get a ‘student-friendly, article-friendly’ definition, with a 10-question quiz at the end of the article,” according to EdSurge.com.

Wondering what else was talked about? Even if you cannot attend conferences like this one in person, you still have plenty of ways to participate. Some suggestions include:

  • Follow the event on Twitter or Instagram.
    • Check out #ISTE17 and #notatISTE
  • Follow presenters on social media
    • Check out #PresentersOfISTE to see what they are saying and for access to the resources they share.
  • Download the ISTE 2017 app
    • Check it out in the App Store or Google Play to browse conference news, see what’s trending on social media and to read the program guide.
  • Read blog posts, check out video clips and photos at EdTekHub.
    • This website is actually a great resource all year long!

Don’t let the inspiration you feel during the summer slip away! Make plans to implement new ideas and connect with others who will continuously inspire you all year long.

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