Major education organizations get leadership shake-up

"I'm pretty sure I'm not finished," Knezek said when discussing his future in education advocacy.

When things are going well, it might seem like a strange time for a leader to step aside—but according to one of educational technology’s most notable figures, that’s exactly the best time to give others a chance to take the helm.

Recently, two big names in education circles announced they’re stepping down: Donald G. Knezek, CEO of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and Anne Bryant, executive director of the National School Boards Association (NSBA).

Both Knezek and Bryant will leave their positions in September this year.…Read More

Hewlett-Packard to end mobile businesses

The HP TouchPad was the company’s primary showpiece during ISTE's ed-tech trade show in late June.

In a dramatic reshuffling, Hewlett-Packard Co. is discontinuing its tablet computer and smart-phone products and might sell or spin off its PC division.

The surprise move comes a year after HP purchased mobile device maker Palm Inc. for $1.2 billion—and just seven weeks after HP touted its new TouchPad tablet as a competitor to Apple’s iPad at the nation’s largest ed-tech industry trade show.

HP’s Aug. 18 announcement is one of the most striking makeovers in the company’s 72-year history and signals new CEO Leo Apotheker’s most transparent move to date to make HP look more like longtime rival IBM Corp.…Read More

Demand for online learning increases

More than 40 percent of students now designate online classes as an essential component of their learning experience.

In just three years, the number of high school students who have access to online learning has tripled, while twice as many middle school students are now learning online, according to a new report.

These figures come from the nonprofit group Project Tomorrow and its most recent Speak Up survey on school technology use. Project Tomorrow first released data from its this survey earlier this spring, but the organization has teamed up with learning management system provider Blackboard Inc. to dig deeper into the results that pertain to online learning.

Project Tomorrow and Blackboard issued a report on these findings during the International Society for Technology in Education’s annual conference June 28.…Read More

ISTE conference is alive with social networking

ISTE attendees connected through social networking, as well as in person.

What better place to use social networking technologies to connect with fellow educators and school leaders than at the nation’s largest ed-tech conference? That’s what was happening at the International Society for Technology in Education conference in Philadelphia this week.

Websites, blogs, Twitter accounts, and other social networking platforms were abuzz with the latest news, reactions, and updates from the show floor and from conference breakout sessions.

The isteconnects Twitter feed organized an #edchat that explored topics such as science instruction, textbooks vs. technology in the classroom, and project-based learning.…Read More

Feds review progress on National Ed-Tech Plan

Developing communities of practice can help the National Ed-Tech plan become a reality.

The second day of the International Society for Technology in Education’s annual conference featured an hour-long presentation and Q&A session with Karen Cator, director of educational technology for the federal Education Department (ED).

Cator reviewed the nation’s progress toward implementing ed-tech projects and highlighted some of the plan’s top priorities.

“It really is a national education technology plan,” Cator said June 27. “How do people learn in the 21st century?”…Read More

How brain research might affect instruction

Brain research could help improve teaching and learning.

The 32nd annual International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference kicked off June 26 with a lesson relating brain function to teaching and learning, and attendees explored how brain sciences might influence how educators deliver instruction.

Educators must “help today’s students prepare for tomorrow’s complexities,” said new ISTE President Holly Jobe in opening remarks. This includes helping students learn to love learning, and simply helping students learn how to learn.

“Technology does, and can, provide a gateway” to a vast array of learning experiences, Jobe said. “The walls of the classrooms are coming down.”…Read More

ISTE 2011 will unlock ed-tech’s potential

Conference organizers expect close to 20,000 ISTE 2011 attendees.

Thousands of educators, technology coordinators, administrators, and tech industry reps from school districts, government agencies, and companies around the world are expected to attend the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) 32nd annual conference and exposition June 26 – 29, 2011, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

One of the largest national ed-tech events, ISTE’s annual conference and exposition typically attracts between 15,000 and 20,000 attendees. Last year’s conference in Denver attracted nearly 18,000 participants and 450+ exhibiting companies.

“Unlocking Potential” is the theme of ISTE 2011, which is held in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications and Technology.…Read More

Keynote: STEM should include arts education

Piontek said educators must adapt to students' cultures and desire to be connected through technology.
Piontek said educators must adapt to students' cultures and desire to be connected through technology.

Not only do global learners create global leaders, but the world’s future depends on education focusing on creative and innovative science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning, said ISTE closing keynote speaker Jeff Piontek.

“I think we need to focus on STEAM–science, technology, engineering, arts, and math,” Piontek said to loud applause from the conference attendees. “Arts and creativity are needed in the future.”

Piontek, a Hawaii-based educator, was selected as “the people’s choice keynote” after a five-month modified crowdsourcing project. Piontek was nominated for his attention to excellence and his approach to delivering digital age education to digital age education to digital age students.…Read More

Thoughts from the show floor

Interactive technologies can inspire classrooms.
Interactive technologies can inspire classrooms.

Which came first…the chicken or the egg? I sometimes wonder about that when I’m in the exhibit hall at educational technology conferences like ISTE. When you look around the show floor, I wonder if I’m seeing the latest trends that educators are interested in. Or am I looking at vendor booths offering hardware, software, and services that will become more prevalent in our classrooms in the near future? Maybe it’s a mix of both…or maybe I’m just over-thinking things again as I’m prone to doing.

Not everyone makes it to the exhibit hall because they’re busy in sessions. So like a hash tag watcher on Twitter, they experience the exhibitor booths vicariously through others. When people ask me what the exhibit hall was like, I enjoy answering by mentally playing some of the fun “what if” games.

For example: “What if you had to describe the exhibit hall in one word? What would it be?”…Read More

Google Wave for the K-12 classroom

Google Wave allows for real-time collaboration.
Google Wave allows for real-time collaboration.

Here I am at a session about Google Wave (presenters: Tim Stack, Utah Education Network, Jared Covili, and Mitchell Jorgensen). I have always been intrigued by this technology, but have not yet found a practical use for it.  This session really helped with understanding how Wave works.  To try Wave, visit

The whole concept of Google Wave is live, real-time collaboration.  A user starts a wave.  It can be a simple post, or a more developed idea.  Users that you invite to be a part of the wave can edit your post and can see the editing being done live, right in front of you.  This session had more than 100 people, so you could see many edits happening all at the same time.  In a classroom situation, it would certainly be more manageable.  A cool feature about Wave is the ability to “playback” the edits; starting with the original post, then every edit after that point.  This makes it easy to follow the progression of the edits.  You can also make Waves public, so that anyone may contribute.

In a school setting, I can see the interface being very overwhelming for some students.  The teacher would need to present Wave in a very concise method, as to not confuse the students too much.  I like the ability to see live edits in front of you.  Add in Google chat or Skype, and you are looking at real, live online collaboration.  The session, in general, did not go into anything education-related, but was still very useful.  I would have loved to see a Part 2, getting into practical applications for the classroom.  To get started, I am going search for some public waves and get used to the interface, how it works, and come up with some great ideas for the classroom.…Read More