If you’ve never been to an ISTE Expo Hall, you might think that, compared with the thousands of learning opportunities vying for attendees’ time at the conference, it wouldn’t be that much of a draw.
You would be wrong. This year, more than 550 exhibitors specializing in ed tech products and services squeezed into a hall the size of five football fields. In addition to the giveaways and interactive demonstrations they use to entice and engage the thousands of educators who descend on the Expo Hall each day, these vendors bring something of great interest to most ISTE members — the latest and greatest tech tools with the potential to transform learning.
Maureen Yoder, early adopter, ISTE author and faculty member at Lesley University, hit the Expo Hall pavement soon after its official opening on Monday morning to check out some of the gadgets she found most exciting for digital age learning environments. Check out the video below to find out about some of her favorites.
One of the vendors she spoke with was Susan Germer, co-founder of Educanon, the winner of last year’s ISTE Ed Tech Start-Up Pitch Fest. “Educanon is a platform that allows teachers to add interactive questions to video content that they’ve either created or found online through a variety of different content providers,” said Germer, who hopes her product will help teachers transition to a flipped learning environment. “It’s transformative, honestly. You can essentially reach every single student at the level that they’re at and push them beyond the level of their potential, essentially multiplying yourself as a teacher in the classroom, out of the classroom and beyond.”
Yoder also found a product that offers a new twist on the 3D printer — a 3D printing pen called the 3Doodler. “I know it sounds weird, but what it allows you to do is actually draw in the air and create physical objects out of nothing,” explains Max Bogue, 3Doodler CEO. “For example, I literally just drew on top of my phone and was able to create a fully functional iPhone case.”
In the classroom, students could use this tool to become instant makers, designing and manufacturing their own 3D products or generating 3D shapes that would help make geometry concepts more concrete. “One of the things our initial case studies demonstrated was an actual reduction in the gender gap in STEM education,” Bogue said. “The visual learners and the nonvisual learners each get a chance to interact on a physical level, which tends to [lead to] a greater retention rate.”
Don't miss the acres of ed tech products in the Expo Hall, open Tuesday, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m., and Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.