(Japanese follows English)
3rd Day at ISTE conference, run by , International Society for Technology in Education (a.k.a., ISTE). It’s been inspiring to meet so many educators who share the same vision of how transformational vision and mission will change education, rather than relying on technology to change education. Technologies are great enablers of visions and strategies set out by educators that interact with kids on daily basis, but without this belief, we may fall in trap of not having an aligned strategy and execution plans. The great thing about this conference is that, there have been lots of practical seminars, roundtables, and discussion on how to incorporate myriad of educational methods or tools in order to deliver more engaging and effective learning experiences to kids.
In addition, it is refreshing to attend a conference where there is a wide range of demographic, age, and gender representation. Tech conferences I used to attend definitely tend to skew demographics, but this time, I met people from all over the US (and some international folks) in wide age groups. They said that there were attendees from 71 countries, though I believe the majority in numbers was from the US. And there were teachers (public, charter, and private), administrators, technology consultants/coaches, vendors, startups, etc. This made discussion richer and more real, as I was able to hear so many real stories and discuss a way forward. This was one of the best conferences I attended in recent years!
Though the level of technology integration and adoption seem to vary by school, districts and state, the organization is supporting a way forward by having many guidelines like ISTE standards, digital citizenship guidelines, and many published books and materials. As the conference is run by the organization which is driving technology in classroom forward, there were lots of practical workshops, demos, and seminars. Unfortunately, the Education IT conference I attended in Tokyo was organized by a big trade show company, and it was far less practical and engaging from my perspective. The show in Tokyo had no soul and passion. The biggest difference is that there were no rooms for peer to peer discussions or practical workshops, which would help educators and practitioners to think how to incorporate hundreds of different options to help achieve their goals.
Lastly, I was impressed by generous support by big platform companies like Microsoft, Google, Samsung, SAS, Adobe, etc. They were many sponsored sessions where educators using these platforms shared their experiences, including pros and cons. And many of the community managers for these companies are former educators, so they could relate to the districts and teachers.
My head is almost spinning from juggling from hundreds of different options to attend and meeting with so many great people. But I would like to make the best of my 5 days by learning as much as possible from presenters and attendees!