#ISTE2016: What not to miss


Steve Jobs once said, “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.”

What Jobs understood — and other technology innovators know — is that technology is a tool, nothing more, nothing less. To make those tools effective, we need users who have clear goals — and a strong strategy to achieve them.

With limited budgets and limited timeframes to make real change, school leaders have to make tough choices about how technology fits into their learning strategies, and which technology will help them and their staff achieve their district’s goals.

With that in mind, thousands of ed leaders will descend on Denver this weekend for the 2016 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference to discuss the future of education technology, and explore how effective community engagement can have a positive impact on technology implementations.

If you’re heading to the Mile High City this weekend, you may be overwhelmed by the more than 1,000 available sessions. But there’s a few sessions you shouldn’t miss — ones that focus on the importance of having a clear learning strategy and community involvement in all of your technology decisions. Here are the details:

ISTE Ignite Session Round 1
When: 1:30–2:45 p.m., Sunday, June 26
Where: CCC Bellco Theatre

It’s like 14 mini sessions in one. Fourteen presenters each get five minutes to tell you what you need to know about ed tech. In particular, this session focuses on the best ways to engage students and empower them in their learning. Topics include:

  • How storytelling can change learning, from personalized learning champion Barbara Bray
  • How you can keep students engaged without textbooks, paper, or tests, from digital learning specialist Kerry Gallagher
  • How to make sure your classroom design engages every student, from technology integration specialist Michael Roush

Liberating Your Genius in Action!
When: 8:30–9:30 a.m., Monday, June 27
Where: CCC Mile High Ballroom 4C

Student engagement evangelist Angela Maiers leads a discussion on her concept of Genius Hour, where students are encouraged to lead and collaborate on projects that matter to them.

With the help of a teacher who implemented Genius Hour in her classroom, Maiers will lead you through ways you can empower students to collaborate with other students, teachers, and the broader community — and how technology can play an important role.

5 Myths of Educating Parents about Kids’ Media Use
When: 4:15–5:15 p.m., Monday June 27
Where:  CCC 505, Table 1

Representatives from Common Sense Education lead this session on the myths that hinder schools from effectively engaging parents about their kids’ use of technology.

To have effective digital resources in schools, it’s not just the students that need to be trained. Parents also need to know what technology their children are using and what role they should play in guiding their kids through the digital age. This session seeks to help districts help their parents engage in their children’s learning.

Community Collaboration for School Innovation Toolkit: Spotlight on Colorado Districts’ Lessons Learned
When: 10:15–11:15 a.m., Wednesday, June 29
Where: CCC 607

No technology decision should be made without involving your community.

When Colorado began the process of updating its statewide graduation guidelines and learning strategies, the state emphasized public input. Join two Colorado districts as they walk through their process for including the community voice in their planning.

If you can’t make this year’s conference, follow #ISTE2016 on Twitter for live updates.

If you want ideas for how to engage your community in meaningful conversations about technology and other issues, our Definitive Guide Series offers tips and advice from some of the nation’s brightest educators. Download our latest installments on social media and customer service, and start a conversation with your community today.

About the Author

Todd Kominiak
Todd is Managing Editor of TrustED. Email: tkominiak@k12insight.com.

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