Accelify Blog

The Official EdSurge Guide to ISTE 2016

June 15, 2016

By: Mary Jo Madda


They call Denver the Mile-High City, but come June, the city may start to buckle under the weight of tens of thousands of educators and companies, flocking to Colorado for the annual International Society for Technology in Education (more commonly known as ISTE) conference, taking place from June 26-29.

Not sure where to start? Administrator Patricia Brown addressed that need in her EdSurge column, and to add fuel to the fire, we’ve put together a handy cheatsheet of workshops and talks where you’ll find the EdSurge team. Several of us will be there in full-force–and ready to chat virtual reality, fly drones, debate about “personalized learning” and more.

Sunday, June 26

Opening Keynote With Michio Kaku (5:45–7:00 pm, CCC Bellco Theatre): The famed theoretical physicist kicks things off with thoughts on his studies of the intricacies of the human brain. Want to prep for his talk? He blogs regularly at Dr. Kaku’s Universe. Or, check out his weekly one-hour radio program “Explorations,” put on by WBAI in New York.

Monday, June 27

Innovative Learning Spaces + 1:1 Technology = Powerful Learning(8:30–9:30 am, CCC 707): Redesigning the classroom space has been a popular topic on EdSurge this year, with educators from North Dakota (Starbucks, anyone?) to Michigan offering their best practices. We’re curious to check this session out, especially after checking out the “agile learning space” resource listed on this session’s page. (Not flying into Denver until after Monday? A similar version of this panel happens on Tuesday.)

Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Communication in the Elementary Classroom (11:00 am–1:00 pm, CCC Lobby D, Table 24): “The Four C’s” are a common phrase in the world of education, but how do you take them from wordy concepts to tangible classroom practices?

EdTekTalks (2:30–4:15 pm): These five mini-keynotes bring together the likes of Ayah Bdeir (founder of littleBits), Caleb Harper (director of the Open Agriculture Initiative at the MIT Media Lab) and 11-year-old Marley Dias (founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks movement) to bring each of their unique flavors to defining that oftentimes frustrating and generic term: “innovation.”

Tuesday, June 28

Finding the Missing Links To Effective Technology Use in Schools(10:45–11:45 am, CCC 703): No edtech rollout is perfect. As this panel says in its preface, “unanticipated variables, such as school climate and teacher perception, often act as roadblocks to achieving effective technology use.” But coming together to talk about those roadblocks—and better yet, how to avoid them—can help anyone this coming year.

Making with Minecraft and Showcasing with Aurasma (10:45–11:45 am, CCC 405): It’s a STEM-AR mash-up! With the combination of Minecraft (which Microsoft just recently re-released as an education version) and augmented reality app Aurasma, this presentation by educators from the HIllbrook School sounds like a good time.

ISTE Ignite Sessions (4:00–5:00 pm, CCC Four Seasons Ballroom): The ISTE Ignite Sessions are quick, 5-minute presentations, but when you’ve got 12 of them in a row, there’s something for everyone. This collection of Ignite Talks includes topics like “Learning to Fail,” “What If The Classroom Was like Netflix Binging?” and “Why Good Teachers Make Good DJs.”

Wednesday, June 29

Spheros in the Language Arts Classroom: Making Connections Through Coding (8:30–9:30 am, CCC 201): How can one integrate coding and robotics to better bring problem solving into the classroom? Sounds like you’ll also get to play with Spheros during this session, and discuss how they could be used in a high school literature class to teach plot, characterization and more.

The New ESSA (11:45 am–12:45 pm, CCC 106): The new Elementary and Secondary Education Act is up and running, but it’s hard to know exactly how it will affect edtech classroom practice. A member of the ISTE Legislative Counsel and a U.S. Department of Education representative hope to answer any questions and shed some light on the matter.

Implementing Digital Badges at Scale (1:15–2:15 pm, CCC 607):The concept of a digital badge is easy enough to understand—taking it across a district to support professional development, however, is an entirely different story. A collection of educators from Aurora Public Schools might just have some of the tips you’re looking for.