One teacher’s take on ISTE 2017 and its education trends

Editor’s note: Reposted with permission from Michele Haiken of The Teaching Factor.

How do you envision technology in your classroom?

How do you utilize technology with your students to promote deeper learning, critical thinking, and creativity?

How do you see technology enhancing your teaching goals?

Technology is transformative. It is more than an instructional tool. Teachers need to decide for themselves the technology tools they should use for instruction to benefit student learning. Today is about understanding the possibilities and gaining more knowledge for teachers to embed technology more fluidly into their daily classroom practices and curriculum.

Where better to help answer these questions, learn from edtech leaders, and be inspired to integrate technology in meaningful and creative ways to support our students as learners and digital citizens than the International Society for Technology Education Conference (#ISTE17)?

This year, #ISTE17 was held in San Antonio, Texas, with 18,000 attendees and more than 5,000 edtech companies, startups, and industry leaders (Google, Microsoft, Apple). The conference was jam-packed for five days of workshops, panels, keynotes, playgrounds, poster sessions, and exhibitors.

Here are five key ideas, themes, and takeaways I found dominating the event:

It’s not about the tech, it’s about meaningful and purposeful teaching and thinking

Author and edtech leader Alice Keeler (@alicekeeler) tweeted, “Tools don’t teach. If you’re looking for a magic bullet look in the mirror.”

Students learn best by doing. Many of the tech trends throughout the conference highlighted games, play, and hands-on learning. Technology integration must have a clear purpose, tap in to standards, have clear goals for the role of technology in enhancing the teaching goals, and be adaptable to meet different learning abilities, subject areas, and grade levels.

Technology integration should have the following components: students are actively engaged in using technology as a tool, students should use technology tools to collaborate with others, and students should use technology tools constructively to build rather than simply receive information. Technology should be authentic — to solve real-world problems meaningful to them rather than artificial assignments. Lastly, students should use technology tools to set goals, plan activities, monitor progress, and evaluate results rather than simply completing assignments without reflection.

ISTE Standards for Educators

ISTE unveils the new Standards for Educators (and students)

After 10 years, ISTE has updated their standards to focus on next generation teaching and learning.

The ISTE Standards for Educators are your roadmap to helping students become empowered learners. These standards deepen practice, promote collaboration with peers, challenge us to rethink traditional approaches, and prepare students to drive their own learning. The ISTE standards coincide with Common Core Learning Standards to maximize student success.

Makerspace at ISTE

Maker everything

Makerspace is here to stay, and it is only getting bigger. Makerspace is not just tinkering; teachers are using it as a way for students to deepen their understanding of a concept, lesson, and idea. Makerspace does not have to be a standalone club or activity — many educators shared their integration of maker space across the curriculum.

One of the coolest Makerspace ideas I saw at a poster session was shared by Heather Lister and Michelle Griffith of Brannen Elementary in Brazosport ISD. Their poster session was jam-packed with Makerspace ideas, suggested supplies, challenge cards, and project examples. Heather shared a World War II map of Allied and Axis Powers that could light up with copper sticker tape and LED circuit stickers.


Next-generation learning, NOT 21st-century learning

Let’s eliminate the saying “21st-century learning.” What does that mean, anyway? It is 2017, and we are almost 20 years into the 21st-century. Here are eight habits of next-generation teachers as defined by Andrew Churches. How would you rate yourself?

  • Adapting the curriculum and the requirements to teach to the curriculum in imaginative ways.
  • Being visionary and looking at ideas and envisioning how they would use these in their class.
  • Collaborating to enhance and captivate our learners. We, too, must be collaborators; sharing, contributing, adapting, and inventing.
  • Taking risks, having a vision of what you want and what the technology can achieve, identifying the goals and facilitating the learning. Use the strengths of the digital natives to understand and navigate new products, have them teach each other.
  • Learning and continuing to absorb experiences and knowledge to stay current.
  • Communicating and fluent in tools and technologies that enable communication and collaboration.
  • Modeling behavior that we expect from our students.
  • Leading is crucial to the success or failure of any project.

Sketchnote it and BookSnap it, blog it, podcast it, vlog it

Because we live in a visually rich digital culture, there are so many different ways to share, reflect, and show our understanding and learning. People are sharing through Twitter, Instagram, podcasts, blogs, and videocasts.

Sketchnoting and BookSnaps are additional ways to help present learning and thinking. Sylvia Duckworth shared a Sketchnotes for Educators Workshop at a playground session I attended, and Tara M. Martin, the BookSnaps founder, presented an Ignite Session on Booksnaps for learning.

Sketchnoting is a great tool that I have shared with my students to showcase their learning and understanding. In the new school year, I will offer BookSnaps as an option for students to share their reading and thinking about a text. The BookSnap below was created by Tara M. Martin.


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