ISTE is upon us once again! Educators and edtechies alike are gathering this week in San Antonio, Texas for the annual International Society for Technology in Education conference, one of the largest edtech conferences in the world. This year, more than 18,000 educators and industry reps are present at the conference, where there are more than 800 concurrent workshops and sessions for attendees to choose from.
Yesterday marked the opening day of the conference. Jane McGonigal kicked it off with her opening keynote “Learning Is an Epic Win,” where she spoke about the application of game design on education. Pre-conference events took place on Saturday, with edtech influencer Steve Hargadon hosting ISTE Unplugged, a series of free events scattered throughout the conference. (Learn more about ISTE Unplugged here, and follow on Twitter at #isteunplugged). Usual ISTE Unplugged host and education pundit Audrey Watters decided not to attend this year, and posted a thoughtful explanation as to why on her blog.
Tomorrow’s keynote will feature Steven Johnson, who will be giving a presentation titled “Where Good Ideas Come from.” He’ll discuss real-life examples of using an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving, both in and out of the classroom. The closing keynote will be on Wednesday, with Adam Bellow giving a presentation titled “You’re Invited to Change the World,” in which he’ll discuss the joys of being an educator and how teachers are truly poised to make a difference in their schools.
ISTE’s Pitch Fest (sponsored by EdMix) will take place throughout the week as well, which invites edtech startups the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges in the hopes of winning $10,000. Audience members also have a say — their votes will be counted with the judges. The ultimate winner will be announced on Wednesday after the final round of pitches. You can find the list of this year’s Pitch Fest finalists here.
The conference will run through June 26, and there are already a few exciting announcements coming out of the conference. Microsoft is making a big splash with their Windows in the Classroom Surface Experience Project, which will give ISTE attendees the opportunity to test out a Windows tablet. Microsoft is giving away 11,000 tablets to teachers to use in their classrooms — all they need to do is register. McGraw-Hill unveiled a new suite of digital solutions that address both the Common Core and personalized learning, with programs that address reading and literacy among at-risk students, and adaptive learning tools that help improve student performance in test taking. You can learn more about McGraw-Hill’s ISTE presence here.
EdSurge has put together a handy cheat sheet for attendees as an at-a-glance overview of conference highlights, and ISTE has put together a sheet of tips and advice for conference goers, including social media groups for newcomers, a schedule, conference planning tools, and more. For easy on-the-go access to conference information, attendees can download the ISTE mobile app here. You can also follow ISTE on Twitter using the hashtag #ISTE13.
We’ll update this post throughout the week with news and announcements from ISTE – there will certainly be more to come!
Readers, are any of you at the conference this year? Share your impressions in the comments below, or tweet them to @Technapex or @ce_doyle. We’re also inviting attendees to submit guest posts on ISTE impressions this week and next — please send 300-900 word submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a bio and headshot.
Update – 6/25/13
Yesterday at ISTE, Dell announced their new five-step program to achieve personalized learning in schools. The framework behind this five-step process was developed by students, teachers, and administrators at Dell’s Think Tank meetups. Dell facilitates these changes by partnering with school districts (they’ve so far partnered with 12 in the past two months) and offering Dell services and products to those schools. Dell believes a technology-enriched program, combined with student and teacher collaboration, is the best method to help schools achieve personalized learning. The five-step process includes the following:
- Establish a vision for learning
- Determine the right IT infrastructure
- Prepare for a transition to student-centered learning
- Ensure access to technology at home and school
- Reinforce professional learning