Another successful year at the annual ISTE conference has come and gone, and this year’s latest trends have made a strong impression on the EdTech industry. Whether you were at the conference in San Antonio or following the action through the #NotAtISTE hashtag on Twitter, there was so much to learn about. The Boxlight team returned from ISTE this year full of new insights into the educational technology industry, but a few topics stood out to us more than others. Here are the top three trending themes our team found most impactful at ISTE 2017:
- STEM just keeps on growing.
Educators have been committing to STEM-focused lesson plans for decades now, but the continuous growth of professional STEM career opportunities made this one of the hottest topics at ISTE 2017.
One major trend at the conference this year was STEM-equipped devices, designed to help students explore STEM lessons at their own pace with hands-on activities and technology. The well-established Boxlight Labdisc portable STEM lab made an impression on industry professionals attending ISTE for its ability to bring inquiry-based learning to a whole new level in the classroom through a hands-on approach.
Also prevalent at this year’s ISTE conference was an emphasis on coding and robotics. Companies such as LEGO® are making robotics instruction accessible to a wide range of educators in order to integrate robotics and programming into the teaching of new math concepts. Microsoft EDU hosted a “Hacking STEM” booth to help educators cultivate their STEM skills and knowledge in order to better serve their students.
- Laser projectors are becoming more popular.
This year at ISTE, we noticed a big shift in educator preferences for front-of-the-classroom hardware. In the past, interactive whiteboards have dominated the market, but this year at the conference, educators showed more interest in the alternative of laser projectors.
Laser projectors are unique because they offer everything that interactive panels do and more, yet they are available at a lower cost. Additionally, laser projectors have greater flexibility in the classroom—they are able to project larger images, and you can still use your conventional whiteboard simultaneously. With these perks, it’s no wonder that laser projectors grasped the attention of ISTE 2017 attendees.
- Personal devices for personalized learning.
Among all of the hardware and software options available to help create enriching academic environments for students, devices that offer the potential for personalized learning were extremely popular at this year’s ISTE conference.
Personal devices facilitate a variety of different structures of learning, varying from individualized to collaborative. This makes the classroom adjustable in terms of instructional style and pace. The choices are numerous: laptops, Chromebooks, tablets, and more—all offer their own unique benefits for personalized learning in the classroom. Through apps and other software, personal devices have become one of the most powerful tools for differentiated learning in the classroom, which is why they’re one of our top three takeaways from the 2017 ISTE conference.
And while this year’s ISTE conference may be over, it has left us with fresh ideas and insights into the EdTech industry. These top three themes just barely begin to encapsulate the entirety of ISTE 2017, but we anticipate them to be some of the biggest trends of the year.
Whether or not you were able to attend the conference this year, you can check out Boxlight’s highlights from ISTE 2017 here. And be sure to look out for the second part of our ISTE blog series next week, which will feature an educator’s take on the conference!