After five days of learning-packed sessions and inspiring speakers at the fully virtual ISTELive 21, one thing was abundantly clear: No matter how long the year, how tough the circumstances or how uncertain the times, educators love to gather, share ideas, learn and laugh a lot.
The 12,516 participants who attended June 25-30 were treated to an interview and performance by Leslie Odom Jr., who earned a Tony, Grammy and an Emmy and is best known for his role in "Hamilton;" Dr. Priscilla Chan, co-founder and co-CEO of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona; and many other authors, designers, thought leaders and students.
Although the conference landed on the heels of a very challenging year for educators worldwide, you wouldn’t know that by watching the chat streams where they enthusiastically shared their expertise and asked questions of peers.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been to such an interactive conference,” wrote Matt Dombrowski, associate professor of emerging media at the University of Central Florida. “Every single session has massive amounts of engagement from the audience. This is awesome!”
Amber James, a success coach at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas, said it was her second ISTE conference and she was hooked.
“I’ve loved every minute of it!” she wrote. “I love being around other passionate edtech professionals. I have so many ideas I can’t wait to use with my students!”
And first-timer Anne LeBlanc wrote: “All the awesomeness that is #ISTELive is worth at least 10 times the registration fee! I am inspired and exhilarated with what I have learned — so many practical things to make my teaching better and students' learning more productive!”
Not one of these educators could have pulled off their jobs this past year without the help of the education community. That’s what ISTELive 21 celebrated this year — the innovation and achievement that comes from working together to improve teaching and learning.
Although many attendees said they were eager to gather face-to-face in New Orleans for ISTELive 22, many said they liked the virtual format a lot too and hoped they would have that option in the future.
The virtual aspect meant more people were able to join from around the world. Over 1,600 educators from 88 countries attended, including many dedicated souls who attended Mainstage events live in the middle of the night.
Tina Photakis, a specialist teacher from Adelaide, South Australia, was one of them. “Today’s start to #ISTELive was inspiring and it was worth staying up until 2 a.m. to watch it live.”
This format also created more opportunities for participants to take in more sessions because recordings were posted within 24 hours. In all there were 1,518 learning opportunities – from inspiring mainstage talks to lectures, playgrounds, Solutions Hub demonstrations, creation labs, student posters, esports events and so much more.
Check out the infographic below for a breakdown of ISTELive 21, and get ready to join us for ISTELive 22!
Diana Fingal is director of editorial content for ISTE.