Steve Wick
Two women explore a robotics tool at the Expo Hall at ISTE19

The ISTELive 22 Expo Hall will bring more than 400 education companies to the Morial Convention 
Center in New Orleans June 26-29 to demonstrate new and improved resources for teaching and learning. 

The expo hall will host vendors demonstrating everything from 3D printers and assessment software to innovative classroom furniture and wireless systems. If you can use it in a school, chances are, you'll find it in the expo hall.

Connecting with exhibitors and exploring the expo hall is a great way for in person attendees to add a little something extra to the ISTE learning experience. In person attendees can also find some great swag, innovative teaching ideas, and a variety of additional resources at the exhibitor booths. Virtual attendees can connect with the vendors through social media, vendor blogs, and vendor websites.

Here are some tips to help attendees make the most of their time in the expo hall.

1. Take a look at the Explore the Expo Hall Page before you arrive.

Search for specific exhibitors or peruse the alphabetical list on the Explore the Expo Hall page to find out which of your favorite companies will be exhibiting. You can click on the squares of the interactive floorplan on the page to see who is where and to map your route in advance. Exhibitors are placed into 24 categories, which you can select from the dropdown menu in the "List by category" field. For example, selecting "AR/VR" in the category dropdown menu will show a list of all the exhibitors connected to this category.

2. Have a plan to explore. Know before you go. 

While it is OK to wander and explore, making a list of interesting exhibitors ahead of time will help ensure you don’t miss any amazing vendors you want to learn more about. I always add my list to a Google Keep Note because I can update the list and add notes at any time on my Chromebook and on my phone. (See my list for 2022 at the end of this post.)

3. Commit to learning about something new.

Don't have to race past booths that are not on your list. Challenge yourself to slow down and discover other awesome resources and companies that you aren’t familiar with. I do this as I work my way through my initial exhibitor list. You never know what unexpected things you may discover. 

4. Don't just stop for the swag and run to the next booth.

Take a few moments to have conversations with some of the exhibitors who you are curious about. Many of the exhibitors were educators before moving into their new roles. Connections with these people can often have a bigger impact than just connecting with the resource alone. I’ve also been inspired to bring some awesome activities and ideas back to my classroom during these conversations.

5. Connect with the exhibitors via social media and on the web.

A shoutout on social media that includes a mention of the exhibitor and  the conference hashtag is another great way to make new connections. Follow the #ISTELive hashtag on Twitter to get a sense of which exhibitors are active on social media. If you have a great experience at a booth, be sure to thank them on Twitter. Tag them (@ . . . ) and use the hashtag #ISTELive. Many exhibitors are also active on other social media platforms. I also usually find that the exhibitors who maintain an active blog will share some amazing stuff online before, during, and after the conference. 

6. Find and attend expo hall sessions.

Many of the exhibitors host mini-sessions led by some great educators. These small group gatherings are a great way to meet some incredible educators face to face. Learn about these sessions by visiting the booths or exploring the #ISTELive hashtag.

7. Attend at least one social networking event hosted by an exhibitor.

Exhibitors often host social events, and the best way to get invited is to stop and talk to the staff at the booths. As the conference grows closer, many exhibitors will be adding their social events to the ISTE Social Events Page or on their social feeds. 

Need a place to start, here are some of my favorite exhibitors this year.

  • Amplify (Booth 2634)- A pioneer in K–12 education since 2000, Amplify is leading the way in high-quality curriculum and assessment.
  • Book Creator (Booth 2124) - Book Creator is an award-winning online tool for creating digital books in the classroom.
  • bulb Digital Portfolios (Booth 3043)- bulb is the resume, portfolio & workspace in one that makes it easy for your work, skills & achievements to shine.
  • Canva for Education (Booth 3224) - Access thousands of high-quality, educational templates for every subject, grade, and ability. Discover worksheets, lesson plans, presentations, posters, reports, and more, all ready to customize. 
  • Common Sense Education (Booth 1859)- Common Sense Education® supports K-12 schools with free, timely, and research-based tools that take the guesswork out of teaching in the digital age.
  • ExploreLearning (Booth 1141) - ExploreLearning® was founded in 1999 with a mission to improve student learning in math and science through best-in-class online solutions. 
  • GoGuardian + Pear Deck + Edulastic (Booth 716)- GoGuardian is on a mission to supercharge human potential by creating the ultimate learning platform.
  • Newsela (Booth 3057) - Newsela is an Instructional Content Platform that combines engaging, leveled content with integrated formative assessments and insights to supercharge engagement and learning in every subject.
  • OTIS for educators (Booth 2448) - OTIS for educators is an **online professional learning** platform that offers courses on how to effectively **integrate technology into instruction
  • Quizizz Inc. (Booth 1962) - Quizizz is a teacher-powered learning activity platform teachers use to create and deliver lessons, assignments, and formative assessments that motivate students to learn.
  • Screencastify (Booth 3140) - Screencastify provides easy access to simple screen recording, video editing and video assignment tools, empowering teachers to make learning more personal.
  • Skill Struck (Booth 1160) - Skill Struck's mission is to create opportunities for all students to learn to code and equip them to have a positive impact on the world. 
  • Texthelp (Booth 726) - Texthelp’s suite of smart, user-friendly, literacy, language, and STEM tools for personalized learning allow your students to pick and choose the functionality that supports their unique needs and preferences
  • Wakelet (Booth 741) - Wakelet is a free to use learning platform that allows you to save, organize, present and share all kinds of online content into visual, engaging collections.
  • Wix Education (Booth 1235) - Wix Education is a space for future web creators to nurture their design and coding skills, be creative, and make their ideas come to life.

 

Steve Wick is an ISTE member, IDEAcon ISTE Affiliate executive board member, science teacher, and instructional technology coordinator at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Illinois. He is a passionate explorer of educational technology, failing forward, G Suite for Education, formative assessment, student-centered classrooms, the growth mindset, and professional development for educators. Explore his blog and follow him @WickedEdTech.