Good educators are constantly searching for best practices in the classroom. The term “best practice” can get thrown around a lot by different organizations, parents, teachers, and especially administrators. In the end, it can be hard to determine which “best practices” are the ones we really need to implement.
Most of us would agree that the ISTE conference is the destination for educator-tested strategies and extraordinary resources for transforming learning and teaching. It’s also the place to get connected to and network with the brightest minds in the education technology arena beyond the conference workshops and exhibit hall. Last week, we discussed the biggest trends from ISTE 2017. This week, it’s my turn to give you an educator’s perspective from this year’s conference.
We’re on the verge of one of the largest education technology conferences in the United States. So, of course, everyone wants to know what the 2017 ISTE Conference & Expo will bring to the table.
When winding down from the school year, I always take a bit of time to reflect on the events of the past year—but I also make certain to keep a steady gaze toward the future. When it comes to education, a great deal never changes. Teachers remain laser-focused and dedicated to their students’ success, while students are eager to learn (albeit they sometimes conceal their enthusiasm). Yet every year, I marvel at the pace of change within the technology ecosystem of K-12 education.
The door to the future is through education. We have a shared dream to create a better future for our students, providing them with the best education now so they will have the best opportunities to succeed in college and their subsequent careers when they are older.
Over the past few years, EdTech investment reached all-time highs as funds poured in through both the public and private sectors. In fact, education technology companies saw growth of over 503% in investment through 2010 to 2014, according to a CBS Insights report. In 2015, deal activity to EdTech startups reached an all-time high, as startups raked in $3.1 billion in 491 deals.
With the education market currently valued at $4.4 trillion per year, there is huge potential for companies looking to disrupt an industry and deliver new ways for students around the world to learn the skills needed for their future careers. And with EdTech poised to capture a great deal of investment in 2017 and become the biggest and most profitable digitized sector yet, a number of companies have emerged to capitalize on this opportunity and offer groundbreaking new products.
Bob Dylan’s lyrics, “The times, they are a-changin’,” have never been more relevant as educators face new mandates for preparing students for the future. And what’s more, I think the single biggest trend for this year can be summed up in just a few letters—AR/VR—and maybe one word: makerspaces.
It’s time to get ready for one of the “must-attend” events for innovative educators: TCEA Annual Convention and Exposition. Held in Austin, Texas from February 6–10, this yearly convention brings together campus- and district-level educators (administrators, teachers, tech directors, media specialists, etc.) to explore educational technology integration and best practices that enhance productivity and build engaging teaching methods. Plus, the event offers stellar networking opportunities!
Classroom Connections: Trade Shows and Conferences Not to Be Missed
In our busy, social media crazy world, we often forget the importance of being in a live face-to-face setting with others from the education community. Being active in both your industry trade association of choice or other key conferences can bring with it many benefits.
We all have our favorite go-to sources for professional information—those specific education technology magazines, in-the-know influential bloggers, or even “hottest of the hot” social media sites. Each has their own unique take on the latest teaching trends and methodologies across all subject areas and instructional levels. They may review new products and services for everything from literacy to professional development. Or, they may publish the latest research studies on everything from the social-emotional factors influencing student learning to whether devices are engaging students effectively. All, in one way or another, can help us do what we do in our particular corner of the education world.