There were over 1300 sessions offered at ISTE this year and you know I tried to attend them all. I was however forced to focus my efforts, so I concentrated on Personalized Learning, Math Pedagogy, Design Thinking and Professional Development. I also had the privilege of attending some of the student presentations and of course hanging out in the interactive Playgrounds. There were a few showcases that highlighted newer technologies like AR and VR, if you have a minute check out the videos of zSpace in the classroom, so cool! I was happy to see that Makerspace and Maker Faires continue to be a big conversation with the intention of having students create solutions to real world problems, then taking their solutions and working backward to explore the math, science, and other content areas that were applied.
Something else that struck me this year, was a shift in framing the relationship between educator and student as more of a Partnership. A partnership that requires a constant balancing act of support and learner self management. We know that students perform better when they have voice and choice in their learning, so we need to partner with them to develop that student agency. We see it in our own model of Teacher-Led Instruction vs Student Driven Learning with Mathletics and understand that it is a cooperative effort based on what the student is ready for. There isn’t a time frame on when learning can be completely student driven because new content and new processes are constantly being introduced and they require a learning curve for both the teacher and student. But the idea of a partnership that moves the student to a place where they are able to assess their own progress, make decisions about next steps and have ownership of their own learning is definitely an ideal worth working towards and a partnership worth working on!