I had the opportunity to get a sneak peak look at some ISTE 2018 vendor launches before the ropes were dropped at the expo.

STEAM
“The price of paper is cheap but the impact on education is priceless.” –Shai Goitein, chief executive officer, PowerUp

One of the new products being introduced at ISTE 2018 is from Power Up, a U.S. company that is based in Israel. This company has taken paper airplanes out of the realm of spitballs and other classroom shenanigans to a tool that educators can use to provide project-based learning opportunities for students. Imagine being able to teach critical skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration, as well as concepts such as aerodynamics and physics, all while tossing a paper airplane into the wind.

The company’s comprehensive teacher-guided curriculum addresses the ISTE Student Standards of innovative designer, empowered learner, and computational thinker.

PBL
As a district administrator, I struggle with the ‘one and done’ style of professional development. We bring in outside professional organizations who are experts in their field to lead professional development (PD) for our initiatives. However, when they leave, we as edtech and curriculum leaders are left with the follow up and support for these initiatives. Engaging the heart and mind of our students is the mantra of the Buck Institute for Education. This project-based learning non-profit organization is changing its delivery platform. In the winter of 2019, they will be introducing hybrid PD programs where educators will have access to virtual coaching, an extensive PBL library, and online courses intended to deepen practice. When I heard this, I actually did the tech director happy dance! Now we will have the support we need in our districts. I see this move into a blended learning model as a positive and productive partnership for school districts. Happy teachers, happy administrators!

Coding
Since 2014, OSMO’s addictive interactive iPad and tiles and block programs have been helping teach students how to think critically, collaborate, and problem solve. Their 10 different apps allow teachers to design, customize, and collaborate in an online environment. Their scaffolding programs challenge students who are ready to go to the next step while supporting students who need more support. So how do you make this product more student friendly and classroom ready? By giving the people what they want: an iPad base and case! Having had the opportunity to check out these new accessories, I suspect that they will be a huge success on the expo floor and in classrooms across the country.

About the Author:

Eileen Belastock is director of technology for Mount Greylock Regional School District in Williamstown, Mass., and a board member of MassCUE, an ISTE Affiliate.


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