EdTech Event: An Overview of ISTE 2015

By Monica Burns 07.21.2015 blog

Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals is empowering and inspiring. This past June I had the opportunity to attend the ISTE conference in Philadelphia. It was my third year participating in this massive conference, and this year did not disappoint.

With thousands of people in attendance, ISTE is dedicated to educational technology and bringing teachers with similar passions and interests together in one space. There were featured speakers, break out sessions, bring your own device workshops and short form presentations. In addition to the fantastic educators sharing ideas and best practices, there was also an exhibition hall filled with companies sharing their products. From startups like Otus to big companies like Google, it’s always neat to talk to the people behind our favorite apps in real life.

One of my favorite parts of this year’s conference were the short form presentations. The Ignite presentations held speakers to a tight time frame of five minutes. I really enjoyed the Ignite sessions I saw this year. Educators from around the world shared stories from their classrooms in back-to-back time slots.

This year, I hosted a handful of poster sessions and talked about some of my favorite mobile apps.  As a presenter it’s a great way to meet new people, share ideas and have informal conversations. The daily poster sessions gave attendees the opportunity to interact with presenters in a more intimate setting. Presenters display visuals on a large board, but move freely to chat with people during the session.

Another neat format for locating like-minded educators was the Birds of a Feather sessions, which have a session leader but no set format. I attended the Birds of a Feather session on Augmented Reality. Educators who came to this meetup had a little to a lot of experience with augmented reality but were excited to learn more. The session leader showed off a few augmented reality apps, and the attendees shared stories about how they’ve used augmented reality in their own classrooms. These sessions help attendees of the conference find people who are passionate about the same topics.

Another exciting feature was the ISTE Live sessions, which are broadcast to educators who are unable to attend the actual event. I presented a snapshot session on how the Apple Watch can be used for storytelling. It was very cool having live and virtual audiences at the same time. Attendees at home, work or sitting in the same room could all ask questions during the session.

Next year’s ISTE conference will be held in Denver and I’m looking froward to connecting with fellow educators at this inspiring annual event!

Monica Burns is an EdTech & Curriculum Consultant and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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