By Margaret Duncan, Ed.D.
I had the
privilege of attending the 2014 International Society for Technology in
Education (ISTE) Convention and Expo in Atlanta. ISTE is a nonprofit organization with the
mission to “serve educators and education leaders who are committed to
empowering connected learners in a connected world.” This was my first ISTE Conference & Expo,
and I can honestly say I was not prepared for how truly big the event would
be. The Conference lasted for four days,
and the Expo was one day less.
attended and presented at a variety of conferences in my educational
career. However, most have been in the
Social Studies or History field where technological seminars or companies were
few. ISTE2014 was a chance for teachers
at all levels to get together and learn more about integrating technology
in the classroom. The Expo was a
chance for attendees to see over 500 exhibits and 4,500 industry
representatives. Attendees were so connected to technology that the #ISTE2014 hashtag was trending for the length of the
One key aspect of
the conference for this first time attendee was the realization that technology
is evolving and teachers should embrace and not fear it. Ultimately it is a tool that can make student
learning more effective. Teachers are still the
key ingredient. Knowing how to effectively incorporate EdTech is
an important part of engaging leaners. The technology being
used is most effective when the teacher is a confident, knowledgeable user or adopter. The following are just some of the ideas I
learned from ISTE 2014 that can help all of us be a more EdTech savvy teacher.
There are wonderful
programs that allow teachers to successfully incorporate technology into their
lesson planning. The trend I sensed was
that many companies have switched from a downloadable software to cloud based
programs. Programs like ClassFlow and BrainPop
allow a teacher to interact with students in real time and obtain real time
results. To use these
programs all you need is internet access. For schools like mine, Wi-Fi and
a strong BYOT policy make using the programs a real possibility.
Technology is a tool
that can make the world a much smaller place.
Teachers can use Skype for a videoconference or virtual
field trip. Twitter can be used to
disseminate information quickly via a simple tweet. It can also be used for a TweetChat allowing
students to chat in real time and can later be put into a Storify story to be
easily read. At ISTE2014, I used twitter
to communicate to followers and plan a lot of my conference activity. As a fellow attendee noted, it is much easier
to communicate via twitter than email.
It is evident that twitter is the new mode of communication, and teachers
not on the platform are really being left behind the technological curve.
become the mothership for technology storage, apps, and student
interaction. Many of the attendees were
Google Certified teachers, or teachers looking to become Google Certified. Google offers new apps like Book Creator that can
be a wonderful tool. Google Docs is an awesome classroom tool
for storage and easy student access and collaboration. The
days of USB drives for obtaining student projects are over. Using Google Docs means no excuses for a late
paper. As a teacher, I use Google Docs
quite a bit and truly have become dependent on it.
conference was a way to contact and communicate with teachers who are all over
the tech spectrum. It allowed for the
chance to meet and talk to teachers who can help you incorporate technology in
the classroom. Many of the presenters
and attendees were eager to share their knowledge and help with the transition
to a tech savvy teacher. The use of hashtags like #ISTE2014 and #notatiste14 created accessible conversations across multiple platforms that allowed people beyond the conference to learn from ISTE2014 as well.
These are just a few of the EdTech ideas that were discussed
at ISTE2014 that I thought were of great value.
What technology would you incorporate into your classroom or urge your colleagues
For more information on ISTE 2014