Over the past few months I’ve spent a bit of time in airports, traveling to educational technology conferences. The travel and delays were well-worth it, because I had a chance to connect with a wide range of people, all with an interest in learning new ways to support teaching and learning with technology.
In today’s online world, you’d think there would be a diminished interest in face-to-face conferences, but that is not the case. Technology is in the hands of teachers and learners every day. There is much to for educators gain from having a chance to attend hands-on workshops and presentations, and then explore the latest technology solutions in the exhibition hall!
In my role as Learning Experience Designer for NUITEQ, I create digital content that is used for training and for demonstrations of the software with partners ClearTouch Interactive. I no longer work in a public school setting, so it is good for me to get out from time to time. For me, there are many reasons to go to conferences:
- Gain insight about the current pulse of education and educational technology, from region to region
- Update my educational technology knowledge by attending presentations and workshops for hands-on learning, overviews of key concepts, and deeper dives into technology solutions of all kinds
- Opportunity to learn about technology integration initiatives, challenges, and successes
- Opportunity to network with a range of educators, technology specialists, and vendors
- Opportunity to gain input about Snowflake MultiTeach® from bright, creative teachers, across all grade levels and content areas, as well as educational technology decision-makers. This input is important to the NUITEQ team.
Here’s a short overview of highlights from the conferences I attended, featuring educators, administrators, and various members of the Clear Touch Interactive team:
One of the best things about going to conferences is that I have the chance to share the power of Snowflake MultiTeach with a wide range of educators and educational technology administrators. Those who take the time to explore it love it, like the IT director in the following video:There were a wide range of themes that were common across the conferences I attended:
- 21st Century Learning continues to be a focus across presentations and conferences.
- Makerspaces in schools are popular and becoming more sophisticated.
- Schools are reconfiguring to meet the needs of teachers and learners + digital tools. In many cases, spaces in school media centers are used to support out-of-class activities such as Breakout Edu, and Genius Hour, and group work.
- STEM/STEAM and Project-Based/Problem-Based Learning continue to be a focus in many schools. STEM/STEAM kits are readily available for purchase, making it easier for teachers to get up and running with their students.
- Digital storytelling, using a range of apps, is taking hold as schools put the “A” (arts) in STEM.
- VR solutions have made some headway into classrooms, and are the focus of scholarly research.
- Educational Technology professional development has evolved beyond “how-to-use” to “how to integrate”. The SAMR and TPACK models were discussed across presentations and conferences.
- Online standard-based interactive content, web-based subscriptions, and software solutions are important ingredients in the educational-technology mix, as teachers have limited time to create their own learning materials. Teachers mentioned that they use free resources such as EngageNY.
- Google for Education products are ubiquitous as more schools opt for Chromebooks and 1:1 initiatives.
- Microsoft in Education still has a hold in schools.
- Apple is still around, in the form of iPads and a vast array of amazing apps that support creativity.
- Flat panel touch displays are in demand as projector-based systems age out.
- Digitized formative assessment using student-centered digital tools was a theme across presentations and conferences. The trend is to use digital tools for exit tickets, with a focus on student creativity and reflection.
The next conference I’m scheduled to attend is ISTE 2017, which will be held in San Antonio, Texas, June 24-28. Hope to see you there!
If you were inspired and want to test out an edtech tool that can be used in the classroom, you can download a 14 days FREE trial for Snowflake MultiTeach by clicking the button below:
MACUL Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning
10 Things at the MACUL Conference You May Not Know About
Tammy Maginity, MACUL, 3/10/17
FETC Future of Educational Technology Conference
FETC 2017: New Technology for 21st Century Learners Takes Center Stage
Meghan Bogardus Cortez, EdTech: Focus on K-12, 1/26/17
TCEA Texas Computers in Education Association
TCEA’s Technotes Blog
5 takeaways for CTOs from TCEA
Stephen Noonoo, EdScoop, 2/13/17
KySTE Kentucky Society for Technology in Education
Link to videos of some KySTE workshops
ISTE International Society for Computers in Education
ISTE Conference & Expo, June 24-28, San Antonio, Texas