110% humidity, 100% human collaboration

This summer, thousands of educators and vendors who serve education descended on New Orleans and braved 110% humidity for the first “back to normal” conference for the International Society of Technology in Education, or ISTE. After two virtual conferences, folks were excited to be back in person, and despite continued COVID protocols, hugs abounded as friends and colleagues reunited on the tradeshow floor and during sessions throughout the New Orleans convention center. 

My conference experience began at the Future Ready Library Summit on Collaboration where 150 librarians from across the country—and even overseas—gathered to brainstorm ways in which they could better collaborate with teachers, principals, district leadership, and each other. I had the opportunity to welcome the group and felt compelled to share a story about one of my previous visits to New Orleans in 2005, about a week after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. 

Back then, I worked as a television journalist in Oklahoma City. I traveled with the Army to New Orleans to cover the search, rescue, and recovery missions.  While there, we slept in the Walmart parking lot in the Ninth Ward. I had to wear a mask (many years before masks were the norm) and put Vicks VapoRub under my nose to combat the smell of the flood water and waste. My videographer smoked cigarettes at the time, and I found myself standing next to him because the cigarettes smelled better than the air (and I’ve never had a cigarette in my life)!…Read More

ISTE, Dept. of ED target digital equity through improved tech proficiency

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the U.S. Department of Education have launched an initiative to help new teachers gain the digital skills needed to support learning in today’s classrooms.

More than a dozen educator preparation programs (EPPs) from across the country committed today to use technology for transformative learning throughout teacher candidate programs by signing the EPPs for Digital Equity and Transformation Pledge, and more EPPs are expected to sign on in the coming weeks.

“Knowing how to use technology to support student learning is an essential skill for teachers to thrive in a post-COVID world,” said Richard Culatta, CEO of ISTE. “As a country, we have made an unprecedented investment in technology in education – but true transformation and innovation doesn’t come from putting devices in schools, it comes from preparing teachers to use technology in innovative and engaging ways. We are calling on leaders of EPPs to commit to this shared vision of transforming how our students learn.” …Read More

46 edtech innovations at ISTELive 22

It was fantastic to gather in person at ISTELive 22 in New Orleans. Here’s a sample of the newest edtech innovations, products, and solutions eSchool News learned about during the show.

3M and Discovery Education announced 31 State Merit Winners in the 2022 3M Young Scientist Challenge. As the nation’s premier middle school science competition for 15 years, the 3M Young Scientist Challenge features outstanding innovations from young scientists that utilize the power of STEM to improve the world.  The 3M Young Scientist Challenge asks students in grades 5-8 to identify an everyday problem in their classroom, community, or the world and submit a one- to two-minute video communicating the science behind their solution.

Aperture was on hand to demonstrate its scalable SEL solution for K-12 that grows with students and staff, from teacher-based ratings and strategies at the elementary level, to student- and teacher-facing assessment and strategy software for high school students and staff. Research-based DESSA assessments provide partners with an SEL foundation rooted in the promotion of assets, not deficits.…Read More

Are you teaching with Minecraft and Roblox? You should be

Millions of students use Roblox and Minecraft to create characters and build entire worlds. As educators search for ways to boost student engagement as they inject real-world relevance into their lessons, finding creative reasons to use these platforms in the classroom becomes their goal. Should you start teaching with Minecraft and Roblox?

“Why Minecraft? Why Roblox? Your students are already on these platforms and they absolutely love them. That doesn’t necessarily make for a great teaching tool right off the bat, but the engagement is there,” said Matthew Kreutter, a product manager for Connected Camps, during an ISTE Live22 session.

A Connected Camps team led session attendees through some brief examples of how they can begin teaching with Minecraft and Roblox with simple coding and building activities.…Read More

On the ground at ISTE Live22: Learning needs joy and civility

This week’s special edition of Innovations in Education, hosted by Kevin Hogan, comes live from one of the nation’s largest edtech conferences. At least 15,000 educators and edtech enthusiasts are gathered in New Orleans for ISTELive 22.

ISTE CEO Richard Culatta notes that we’ve “beaten the joy out of learning” in recent years. Now is the time to inspire educators and learners. Along with inspiration comes the idea of injecting civility, kindness, and understanding into education.

“It’s OK to disagree…you need to disagree; it’s how you learn, but we have to do it in a way that’s kind and civil, and you have to model that for kids,” Culatta said.…Read More

Instructure Launches Canvas for Elementary User Experience for Back to School

SALT LAKE CITYJune 28, 2021 — Today at ISTE Live 2021, Instructure launched the Canvas for Elementary user experience, a combination of features that make Canvas more user-friendly for elementary students. The new features were developed using feedback collected during the pandemic and thoughtfully designed to more closely mimic an elementary school classroom, supporting both in-person and hybrid learning environments. Among the updates is a new dashboard, subject cards and schedule to orient the student when logging in and help them focus on what needs to be accomplished. 

“The most important factor in any educational setting is high-quality teaching,” said Trenton Goble, VP of K-12 Strategy at Instructure. “Since hybrid learning will continue to impact schools, our job is to develop resources that enable that amazing teaching and engagement to shine through in a variety of environments. We know that younger learners have different needs and priorities, and this new bundle of features makes it even easier for elementary age students to use Canvas.”

Last week Instructure released new research that explores how the pandemic has impacted K-12 education. The report found that hybrid teaching and learning will continue. 81% of educators say that technology will become increasingly important in teaching and learning moving forward, and 67% believe remote learning will impact classroom practices in the future. At the same time fostering and maintaining student engagement is critical, with 92% of teachers ranking it as the number one priority. …Read More

7 fun ISTELive 21 sessions to add to your schedule

For the second year in a row, ISTE’s annual conference will be virtual–but ISTELive 21 is still chock-full of engaging and thought-provoking learning experiences for educators.

ISTELive 21 will focus on “Designing a New Learning Landscape”–an apt theme given the many discussions around how the COVID-19 pandemic has given education the chance to tweak last-minute changes and make them more permanent solutions.

While you’re building your schedule, take a look at some of the ISTELive 21 sessions we’re looking forward to attending. …Read More

Vernier Graphical Analysis Pro App Wins Top Education Awards

The Vernier Graphical Analysis™ Pro app, which engages students in advanced data analysis from biology, chemistry, and physics experiments, was recently recognized by two leading education awards. The app was named a winner of the Tech & Learning Best of Show at ISTE 2020 Awards and the platinum winner in the STEM/STEAM App category of THE Journal’s 2020 New Product Awards.

“Graphical Analysis Pro provides the unique ability for students to delve into science concepts in new and unique ways, analyze experiments at their own pace as they learn remotely or in their classrooms, and create their own videos for scientific analysis, all while they are engaged in three-dimensional learning,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Software & Technology. “We are thrilled to be recognized by both Tech & Learning and THE Journal for this revolutionary app and the impact it has on providing students meaningful STEM learning experiences—regardless of whether they are in the classroom or learning remotely.”

The Tech & Learning Best of Show at ISTE 2020 Awards recognize products that are transforming teaching and learning during the pandemic and beyond. The judges selected the winning products based on numerous factors, including value, uniqueness in the market, and the product’s ability to solve specific problems for educators and administrators.…Read More

CoderZ Takes First Place as the Education Solution with Greatest Growth Potential

CoderZ was selected as an “Education Solutions: Greatest Growth Potential” awardee in the Edventures Global Business Acceleration Fellowship. The international event was an inaugural part of the Cyberport Venture Capital Forum (CVCF), Cyberport’s annual flagship tech investment in Hong Kong. Held in a virtual format for the first time, the two-day CVCF forum recorded a total of 97,000 views on its virtual event platform.

The Edventures Global Business Acceleration Fellowship aims to assist growth-stage edtech companies in capturing market opportunities and expanding their business operations across the global market. Among the event’s judges were Cindy Chow, executive director of Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund; ISTE CEO Richard Culatta; and Peter Yan, the CEO of Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited. In the fellowship’s culmination, 10 fellows delivered their final pitches to compete for exclusive tailor-made business matching and consultation services to achieve their global ambitions.

“We’re privileged to receive this very significant honor from this highly-respected global organization,” said Ido Yerushalmi, CEO of CoderZ. “It recognizes the importance of making tech education more inclusive and more mainstream. We’ve committed ourselves to develop a program that promotes equity and inclusiveness and it’s so nice to receive the validation that we are on the right track.”…Read More

PBLWorks and ISTE Partner to Offer New Course for Teachers

PBLWorks, the leading provider of professional development for high-quality Project Based Learning (PBL), has partnered with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to create a new self-paced ISTE U course, “Leading Project-Based Learning with Technology” to help teachers build their capacity to implement Gold Standard PBL with technology tools.

The course is for teachers and instructional staff who are familiar with technology and are looking for an entry point into PBL, or those who are interested in learning more about both PBL and technology integration. It challenges participants to respond to the driving question, “How can I maximize the benefits of Project-Based Learning by effectively integrating digital tools?”

“Leading Project-Based Learning with Technology” is a 5-hour, self-paced course. It costs $49 for ISTE members and $65 for non-members.…Read More