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Getting the Most Out of ISTE 2016

  • June 23, 2016|
  • 2 years ago

by Sam Morris

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Global Education Solutions Architect

ISTE 2016 is coming to Denver, and it will bring innovative thinkers, exciting new tech tools and most importantly great opportunities to learn from and share with peers. Here’s a roundup of what you can expect and how to get the most out of the premier education technology conference.


Thought-provoking speakers will explore everything from equity to science to what we eat at EdTekTalks, right from the start. Acclaimed theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku will discuss wide-ranging areas where science overlaps imagination in his keynote address. He’s known for discussing the concept of storing the human soul on a disk and other remarkable thought experiments that might one day become reality.

Other speakers in the series include Ruha Benjamin, Caleb Harper, and Michelle Cordy. Princeton scholar Benjamin will likely address access and equity in science education. Harper, director of the MIT Media Lab’s Open Agriculture Initiative (OpenAG), is highly regarded for his expertise in leveraging technology to aid in sustainability, planning and improved food systems. Cordy, a STEM-in-classroom expert widely recognized for her methods and use of ed tech in her elementary school and author of the popular Hack the Classroom blog, will close the conference.

Hands-on Workshops

Aside from speakers, helpful hands-on workshops will get into the nuts and bolts of creating more tech-enhanced classrooms and managing both the tech and new paradigm of blended learning. For instance, one workshop teaches participants to build their own app so that they may learn the skill and also potentially build app development into their curriculum. Representatives from the Garnet Valley School District in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, will explain in a different presentation how they created a five-year strategic ed tech plan that centers on students. Yet another workshop will discuss the effective integration of computational thinking (a cornerstone of the Next Generation Science Standards) into STEM and STEAM classrooms.

Other intriguing choices explore the best new tech tools for student assessment; management of 1:1 device programs; classroom use of Arduino, whose platform allows users to create interactive electronic objects; the design of online courses; use of the new Open Badges platform to assess learning; and ways to monitor the safety and privacy of classroom-deployed apps and the data they collect.

Stay Connected

Tech itself will enhance the tech conference this year. A great ISTE 2016 mobile app has been created for this year’s conference, available in both iOS and Android. The app offers navigation through the available conference offerings, day by day; curates and sends a news feed; saves useful resources to your device as you become engaged with the event; and gamifies participation. Additionally, ISTE’s EdTekHub will function as a constant repository and guide to ISTE 2016 content, both during and after the event. Even non-attendees can gain from accessing the site.

Prep Pointers

A little preparation will help you get more out of the gathering. Networking ahead of time can make your interactions at the conference more useful and less random.

For example, plug into one of the professional learning networks ISTE 2016 has created for the event. A special lounge area will function as a gathering place for those wishing to connect with one another. The conference has done a great job of creating cool spaces for learning, collaboration research and downtime. Download a map of the Colorado Convention Center ahead of time, and get to know where the flexible learning spaces, lounges, poster sections, central reference nexus, relaxation areas and other spaces are located.

Also, don’t forget to preset your social media to follow the event live. There will be feeds on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Takeaway: From mini-keynote speakers to workshops covering strategic ed tech planning and app creation, the ISTE 2016 conference is bringing tons of new opportunities to Denver. Watch and learn from home with the new tech being incorporated to this year’s conference, or take advantage of the opportunity to prep for your trip. Most importantly, be engaged. Don’t just sit and scribe notes. Join in conversations, brainstorm with colleagues, and develop new ideas for the coming school year.

1. “ISTE 2016 Conference & Expo” iTunes Preview. 2016.
2. “Professional Learning Networks” ISTE. 2016.
3. “ISTE” Facebook. 2016.
4. “ISTE” Twitter. 2016.
5. “ISTE” YouTube. 2016.
6. “Explore” ISTE. 2016.
7. “ISTE 2016” ISTE. 2016.
8. “Keynote Speakers” ISTE. 2016.
10. “Workshops” ISTE. 2016.
11. “6 Places to Explore on Your Own at ISTE 2016” ISTE. May 6, 2016.
12. “3 Ways to Attend ISTE 2016 Virtually” ISTE. May 2, 2016.