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The 9 hottest topics at ISTE 2015

By Team ISTE 2/4/2015 ISTE Conference & Expo

What’s hot in ed tech can be as transient what’s trending on social media or as enduring as the need for classroom connectivity. But in order to plan, it helps to make predictions.

Camilla Gagliolo, instructional technology coordinator at Arlington Public Schools in Virginia and the ISTE 2015 program chair, is a pro at determining what educators want to learn more about. She’s already working behind the scenes to bring the brightest and most innovative speakers to address this year’s provocative ed tech topics at ISTE 2015 in Philadelphia.

Part of this process is keeping an ear to the ground in the ISTE Professional Learning Network  to discover emerging trends and find out what's driving discussion among members.

Based on that research, Gagliolo says that ISTE 2015 will have a heavy focus on these nine ed tech trends:

  1. The maker movement and activities
  2. Instructional design (think flipped learning)
  3. Communication and collaboration with online tools like Google Apps for Education
  4. Global project-based learning
  5. Augmented reality
  6. 1:1 implementation programs
  7. Coding across grade levels and curriculum
  8. Professional development models, including strategies for coaches
  9. Flexible learning environments that incorporate 1:1 devices and the maker movement

All of these topics have something in common: They are movements in education that embrace new ideas for engaging students in learning at a higher level and encouraging teachers to rethink instruction. ISTE 2015 sessions will help you not only stay on top of these trends, but translate them into concrete how-tos that will benefit your students.

You can also expect these sessions to go beyond the basic lecture.

Take, for example, the maker movement, which says that hands-on tools like 3D printers, Lego robotics and a plethora of electronics can help students learn in a different way. Gagliolo is setting up ISTE 2015 to address the next step: how to use these tools to keep students engaged in creating.

Look, as well, for sessions that will teach you new ways to function on a daily basis while expanding your vision beyond just this school term to the future of your ed tech career.

That’s certainly the case with BYOD and 1:1 programs. As these trends continue to settle in as accepted concepts in school districts around the country, ISTE 2015 sessions will explore what comes next and teach you how to parlay wider access to technology into meaningful pedagogical advances.

“We can empower students to be researchers right in the classroom or to express themselves with artifacts they create with technology,” Gagliolo says.

And then there’s the issue of flexible learning environments, which can be an extension of having more 1:1 devices in classrooms, Gagliolo notes. ISTE 2015 sessions will help you learn how to design classrooms that make the most of those additional devices and combine them with maker movement tools and student-centered, project-based learning approaches to truly revolutionize how we do school.

Ready to start building your conference schedule? Keep an eye out for the ISTE 2015 Program & Expo Guide to go live later this month!

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