Last week, thousands of educators and leaders in the EdTech industry gathered in the beautiful city of Philadelphia for one of the most important conferences, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE’19).
For three days, the Pennsylvania Convention Center transformed into a hub of digital knowledge and passersby of Downtown Philly were mesmerized as they noticed an increase in traffic. Bus after bus could be seen pulling up on the curb of the streets surrounding the convention center and hoards of people with badges could be seen walking in and out.
An influx of crowds crossing the street making their way towards the Reading Terminal Market became the norm for those three days.
Every morning, the attendees would wake up and be ready to be taken to the ISTE conference beginning at 8:30 A.M. for a full day of tech immersion.
The booths were set up with big screens showcasing the latest development in EdTech. The halls were filled with the sounds of music, the smell of popcorn, the bright screens reflecting colors and movement.
By 10:00 A.M., the convention center reached its peak, with people filing in lines trying to get on the escalators that would take them to the exhibitor’s hall, the lounge, or one of the workshops and panels that different companies hosted.
What’s next in STEAM education?
The main focus for the ISTE 19 convention was on how to best prepare students for their future as well as how to battle education equity issues. In order to do so, some of the topics discussed were how to cultivate more diversity in schools, the increased use of communication software in classrooms, and the state of K-12 kids’ digital literacy.
From our booth #1200, Genius Plaza talked about our STEAM Career Champions who are living proof of diversity. We demonstrated how Genius Plaza is a teacher’s best ally – not because it wants to replace their curriculum but because it can ease their workload. It makes communication between teachers and parents seamless, especially in a world where not everybody speaks English as a first language. A lot of the attendees were surprised when we told them we’re working toward rescuing tribal languages and African dialects. Genius Plaza is available in over 30 languages and we’re always working toward adding more to our database.
The teachers who attended ISTE’19 want to be a part of this amazing journey we’re in and a lot of them even confessed some of their daily trials include the lack of communication between parents and teachers. They were very pleased when they heard a company like ours is addressing those issues.
When they realized we offer multimedia resources including eBooks, videos, games, and more ranging from PreK to 12th grade, they were even more excited!
Creation tools were a huge hit this year at ISTE. Companies such as Noteflight and Makey Makey were convincing people of the importance of letting children explore different horizons of creativity. While we were having back-to-back demos every half hour, a lot of the ISTE attendees got to sit in and listen about our peer-to-peer methodology and how we let children be the protagonists of their learning journey, empowering them and helping them transfer knowledge amongst themselves.
A lot of booths exhibited augmented reality and virtual reality. We know they play a huge role in the classroom. Veative Labs and Google’s Tilt Brush technology are examples of #ARVRinEdu. Genius Plaza was giving away VR sets after each demo and the visitors were thrilled when we mentioned they just had to download the app to start immersing themselves in virtual scenarios that were curated for children according to their grade level. We emphasize the importance of students being able to create ideas and test their theories while transferring their knowledge and exploring emerging technologies.
We’ve noticed a trend when it comes to breaking down barriers and teaching children how to be culturally tolerant. A lot of schools are craving global connections but lack the resources or connections to make it happen. When we mentioned global collaboration as one of the many services Genius Plaza offers, the attendees were ecstatic. We shared our success stories of Collabs done between schools in the U.S. with Colombia, Spain, and Africa, and the attendees’ jaws dropped!
A lot of companies were boasting about being “immersive Ed-Tech”, alluding to “STEAM made easy”. For three days, ISTE attendees came in flocks to see what we offer.
We know the future leaders will come from an open, shared classroom with immersive technology. We know the future will be more diverse.