Blog Post: Top 3 Things We Learned at ISTE 2011
We're back from the annual International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference, the premier education technology event and like other years it was a whirlwind. After sorting through our notes, tweets, photos and videos here are the three most important takeaways from this year's show:
3. Whoa!! Tablets are here
I’m getting a tablet for every one of my students next year and that’s a good thing, right? iPads are perfect for the classroom right?? Right??? Like a category 5 hurricane tablets have arrived and possibilities for classroom use seem endless, at least that’s what we’re being told. It’s happened so quickly in fact that we found many stopping to say, “Wait, how am I going to use this??” There will be lots of scrambling going on the next few months. Teachers scrambling to build curriculum around tablets, software companies scrambling to design programs for tablets and hardware companies scrambling to produce tablet friendly products (check out this cool charging station from Spectrum). If you’re lucky enough to have tablets coming to a classroom near you our advice is the same for adopting any technology: evaluate (your options), plan (your rollout), train (your educators), implement (your plan) and integrate (with your existing technology).
2. Volume up
Roaming the aisles of exhibitors and talking with dozens of attendees one definitely got the sense many districts were planning or in the process of large scale hardware adoptions. This is a good thing for techies. More volume means prices go down, technology improves and complimentary products are released. In our world the plain old SMART Board becomes the all-in-one 885ix and a new, improved classroom audio enhancement product is released. Our advice: if your school hasn’t bought in big, now might be the time. If your school has bought in big, things have improved, ask your technology providers about an upgrade plan. Manufacturers want you using their latest equipment, make them give you an offer you can’t refuse. Happy where you’re at and/or budgets are tight? Take a look at some of the cool new complimentary products which are bound to be less expensive yet still make an impact.
1. Content is now King
Gadgets, laptops, boards and projectors have all battled for a spot in the classroom over the past several years. With many of those battles settled or settling down the focus has shifted to digital content creation, manipulation and management. ISTE 2011 saw MANY new content creation companies exhibiting while familiar faces like SMART promoted their SMART Exchange, a gold mine for end user created interactive lessons. Other companies like SAFARI Montage were positioned as a one stop shop for creating, storing, sorting and accessing digital content from anywhere. As you map out your own strategy for digital content, our advice is to focus on a solution that a) integrates with your current technology as seamlessly as possible and b) is efficient and intuitive so it doesn’t not become a time drain for teachers.