4 Learnings from ISTE to Use in Your Classroom

We all come out of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference energized and ready to apply these innovative ideas in our classrooms but… sometimes we don’t always get to those ideas. Our professionals have put together the key points of ISTE to remind you how you can get the most out of the school year.2016-09-08_15-10-58

2016-09-08_15-13-11From Michael Roush, member of Curriculum and Technology Integration Team

  1. We have to start with a focus on our instructional strategies and expectations.  If you start your decision-making process with “what the tech can do” and then try to cram it into your existing instructional system, you’ll be frustrated.  If you start with what you want instruction to do for all students, and then find the tech that supports and amplifies that, you’ll be transformed. A great video that goes more into this topic is Transforming Teaching and Learning with an Authentic Audience.
  2. Programming is big.  Kids should learn about coding and learn to code.  Coding involves math, science, literacy and pre-literacy skills, critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving.  These are skills that we want every one of our students to develop and learn to use in real-world circumstances.  This is really scary for teachers who don’t know how to code, but there are some resources out there that make it a lot easier. Some great free resources are available at  Code.org and  Scratch.  Some hardware kits that bring STEM to life in an easy way are Makey Makey,  Raspberry Pi, littlebits, and  Ozobot.
  3. It is worth the time spent getting a vision for what sort of world our students are heading into.  What will the world be like in five years, or ten, or twenty, or fifty?  Are we preparing kids for that world, or the world fifty years passed?  And what sort of a societal change do we want these students prepared to make? The wrap ups of two of the keynotes really hit on this point,  Wrap-up of Dr. Michio Kaku’s keynote and  Wrap-up of Dr. Ruha Benjamin’s keynote.

2016-09-08_15-15-34From Katie Siemer, Director of Curriculum and Technology Integration

4. More on-site integration coaches are one of the fastest growing needs in schools. I had a unique perspective of ISTE 2016, due to my involvement as President of ISTE’s Ed Tech Coaches PLN. Hundreds to thousands of people at the conference flocked to different coaching specific events to gather as many resources as they could to help their teachers. One thing that stuck out to me this year was the overwhelming large number of people who, when asked if they were a tech coach, responded, “I don’t know.” Almost every one of the folks who responded in this way was a full time teacher who was also seen as the “techy teacher” in the building, and therefore took on pieces of a tech coach’s role on top of their full time teaching duties. While I applaud their efforts, this is not a sustainable model for tech coaches and integration assistance in the classroom. What good is the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on infrastructure and devices, if teachers aren’t properly using them in the classroom? The National Educational Technology Plan (released in 2016) identified the Digital Use Divide as one of the major issues to be addressed in today’s schools, and tech coaches are a critical piece of solving this puzzle. We need to educate our administrators about what a tech coach is, what they can do for your school and how they can drastically help improve the way technology is utilized in the classroom. One great place to start is the ISTE Standards for Coaches. Another more in-depth resource is a white paper on coaching from ISTE.

You’ll be the technology all star at your school when you implement what you learned from ISTE! Interested in how we can help curriculum and technology integration throughout your school? Please contact Katie Siemer (ksiemer@forward-edge.net) for more information.

Forward Edge is the area’s largest and most knowledgeable education focused Technology Solutions Provider. Through our deep understanding of technology in education, we have become a trusted partner to K-12 schools across Ohio, working heavily in the greater Cincinnati region, Dayton and Columbus, as well as Kentucky and Indiana. In serving these schools, we have consistently delivered innovative and sustainable solutions for Managed Services, Classroom Technology Integration, Wireless LAN, Security, and Staff Augmentation.

The Curriculum Integration team is available for our customers in a number of ways. Everyone on the team has had formal education training, previous teaching experience, and has come to Forward Edge from the education world. Every engagement with our schools looks different; but regardless of the project, each person on the Curriculum Integration team closely aligns their practice with the ISTE Standards for Coaches. Many schools are turning to our department to fill the role of an on-site technology coach for their buildings. Other places use our team to consult on a particular implementation project, such as a new Learning Management System (LMS), switching to Google Apps for Education, and more. We also partner closely with our schools to provide Professional Development (PD) on district PD days, conferences, leadership teams and many other opportunities!