For almost 40 years, the ISTE Conference and Expo has brought the best and brightest in edtech front and center. This year in Chicago (June 24-27) will be no different. Whatever role you play, whether in the classroom or in administration, there are always compelling things to learn and real-world examples you can take back to your schools.

Here are some things to look for at ISTE 2018:

1. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are showing up in our classrooms and opening up a new world of possibilities for students. Picture your students being able to “hold” a human heart in their hands. And AR and VR don’t have to be expensive, according to Jaime Donally, author of Learning Transported: Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality for All Classrooms (published by ISTE). See Donally’s article about easy, low-cost ways to bring AR and VR to your classroom.

2. Currently, 12 states have adopted a policy to give all high school students access to computer science (CS) courses, and more are on the way. This year, ISTE began updating the ISTE Standards for Computer Science Educators to establish a vision for the knowledge and skills educators need to effectively teach CS to all students across curriculum and to guide professional learning for all educators. Don’t miss your chance to provide feedback on the standards at the session on Monday, June 25. Plus, ISTE 2018 will include dozens of sessions on CS.

3. We know that collaboration and lifelong learning are paramount to success for educators. ISTE provides unique opportunities to build relationships with other educators, learn collaboratively and get support, both in person and virtually. And we’ve recently announced the new ISTE certification program, the first educator certification for using technology in the classroom. This certification recognizes educators who demonstrate the effective use of technology for learning in meaningful and transformative ways and guides educators to rethink and redesign learning activities with technology to engage students in real-world, authentic and active learning.

4. This year, ISTE has created new opportunities specifically designed to support student presenters as learners. The new ISTE Student Hackathon will happen live during ISTE 2018. A hackathon is an innovation marathon where students, in this case high schoolers, identify, research and solve real-world problems. ISTE will also bring together over 400 students in grades 2-8 from around the world for a special conference where they will meet with other students, share their passion for learning and collaborating, and exchange ideas.

As always, ISTE will feature brilliant keynote speakers who will inspire educators with their thinking on brain science, STEM, creative instigation and leadership. And in keeping with the innovative spirit of ISTE, the conference will feature hundreds of experiential learning opportunities, an expo hall with over 500 vendors sharing hands-on edtech experiences–from robots to 3D printing to virtual reality—and nearly two dozen playgrounds presented by educators and students to explore the hottest topics in edtech.

If it’s your first time at the ISTE Conference and Expo, be sure to check this article out before you arrive.

About the Author:

Tracee Aliotti, senior director of events strategy and experience, leads ISTE’s event strategy team in its work to translate event objectives into creative strategies that enhance attendee experience while supporting organization-wide strategic initiatives.