At ISTE: What’s New?

Norton Gusky

Photo by Chris Stengel

For the past few years interactive technologies have taken over the exhibit hall. This year’s it’s more of the same. Cloud-based solutions and personalized learning were buzz words.  I expected to see an explosion of app companies, but so far that doesn’t seem to be happening.

I’ve attended ISTE/NECC events for three decades. More than ever the focus is on teachers and classroom needs. The poster sessions are becoming some of the best ways to see what is happening. There is more student involvement. The poster sessions provide a great opportunity to see what’s happening.

The Bloggers Cafe is abuzz with energy. Everywhere you go people are on their smartphones, iPads, or other mobile devices. It’s incredible to see the use of Twitter and back-channel conversations.

Special Interest Groups are proliferating. Mike Baker reached out to me to help him with a new group that will target computer teachers. There’s a growing awareness that computation science needs to be revisited. I’ll work with my colleagues at Carnegie Mellon to see how I can help provide support.

Image from Mashable

One of the events that many people have anticipated finally happened – publishers like McGraw-Hill and Pearson announced digital textbooks that will work with devices, like iPads. According to Sarah Kessler at Mashable:

McGraw-Hill launched its first all-digital, cloud-based textbook for the K-12 market on Monday at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference.

Unlike the company’s previous digital efforts for this age group, the books are intended to be used as primary texts (other McGraw-Hill digital texts have been sold as a companion of physical textbooks). This is the first time a major publisher has launched such a platform.

Grade schools and high schools have been slower to adopt digital textbooks than universities, at least partly because K-12 textbooks are traditionally provided by schools — many of which lack hardware to ensure that all of their students can access them.

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