ISTE 2018 Coverage

ISTE Reveals New Resources and Events for Ed Tech Leaders

Finding the right ed tech tool for your needs among the thousands of apps and software programs available can be challenging. During its annual conference, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) unveiled a new platform that can help with this task.

The ISTE Edtech Advisor, available free of charge to all ISTE members, allows educators to find and share reviews, ratings and other information to help them choose the best technology tools for their needs more effectively.

Other ed tech rating systems already exist, such as Common Sense Media's database of app and software reviews. But these resources provide limited context about how each tool is intended to be used, ISTE says — such as what type of learning environment it's best suited for, whether it's meant to be used by students or a teacher, whether it's used for instruction or assessment and how accessible it is.

"For far too long, we've been making choices about what tools to use by chance," said Richard Culatta, ISTE's chief executive, in announcing ed tech Advisor. "We need to use data to make those decisions. I think those decisions are too important to be left to chance."

The platform gives ISTE members a single location to learn about their colleague's experiences with more than 5,000 ed tech products and share their own experiences with others. It also provides common data points for discussing an app's effectiveness.

Edtech Advisor is just one of many new resources that ISTE announced at its 2018 conference, held in Chicago June 24–27. Others include…

  • New ISTE Standards for Education Leaders. ISTE had previously revised its student and teacher standards, and this year the organization revealed new standards for education leaders as well. The standards describe the qualities that school and district leaders should embody to lead effective teaching and learning in the digital age. For instance, leaders should advocate for equity and digital citizenship for all students, be visionary planners, create a culture that empowers teachers and learners to use technology in innovative ways and model continuous learning for themselves and others.
  • Additional ISTE events beyond the annual conference, such as a No Fear Coding Lab, a Creative Constructor Lab and a Digital Leadership Summit. The No Fear Coding Lab targets teachers who want to learn how to bring computer science and computational thinking into their classrooms, and it will be held Oct. 6-8 in Detroit. The Creative Constructor Lab targets educators and administrators who want to bring maker spaces into their learning environments, and it will take place Nov. 10-11 in Seattle. The Digital Leadership Summit will help prepare leaders at all levels to lead technology use more effectively, and it will occur Jan. 18-20 in Santa Clara, Calif.
  • ISTE U, a series of online courses for educators to take deeper dives into topics such as personalized learning, digital citizenship and artificial intelligence (AI) for education. The online courses include opportunities for interaction with other participants, and they allow educators to earn graduate credit upon completion.
  • A new version of the ISTE Connect online community that is easier to use. For instance, the community connects like-minded educators by suggesting new contacts based on the areas of interest that users have indicated.

This year's ISTE conference had record attendance, Culatta said, drawing people from 84 different countries.

About the Author

Dennis Pierce is a freelance writer with 17 years of experience covering education and technology. He can be reached at denniswpierce@gmail.com.

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