Professional Development

Some Kids Had a ‘Choppy’ K-12 Experience This Year. ISTE Will Explore Solutions

By Alyson Klein — June 21, 2021 2 min read
Image of a student working on a computer from home.

The International Society for Technology in Education’s annual conference is one of the largest and best-attended K-12 education events around. (How big is ISTE? Back in 2019, the last time it was held in person, in Philadelphia, the Panera across the street from the conference center ran out of food. There were more than 20,000 participants that year.)

Last year, of course, ISTE was a virtual-only event, thanks to the pandemic. And this year, it will also be held online only, beginning June 26.

Richard Culatta, the chief executive officer of ISTE, expects that the biggest themes of the conference will grow out of the aftermath of the pandemic. He is betting there will be a lot of talk about digital citizenship and thinking about what it means for K-12 now that “so much more of our lives happen in virtual spaces.”

And he thinks that helping students stay on track will be a hot topic too.

“We have students who had very different experiences” of learning during the pandemic, Culatta said. Some were able to make great progress, but others had “a very intermittent or choppy learning experience.” The big question going into the fall will be around what needs to be done to make sure all students are on track.

The virtual event will feature Leslie Odom, Jr. of “Hamilton” fame. (Will he sing? “It’s possible. Wink-wink, nod-nod,” said Culatta.) Also speaking: Priscilla Chan, a co-founder of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropy; U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona; and Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

ISTE has tweaked the event, based on feedback on last year’s virtual conference. While it’s not really possible to simulate the experience of being out on the floor at an ISTE in-person conference, there will be more opportunities this year to “be able to see what the latest and greatest tools look like in action,” Culatta said.

So is ISTE sticking with an all-virtual format for the long haul? That’s a no, Culatta said. “We are going to go back to having a physical presence. And that will start next year,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean the virtual component is gone for good, either. “There’s just some great value in having virtual participation as well,” he said. He expects there will continue to be a hybrid piece to the organization’s signature conference in future years, as well as its other events.

“We’ll have some variety of face-to-face and virtual experiences throughout our program,” Culatta said.

Related Tags:

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Safe Return to Schools is Possible with Testing
We are edging closer to a nationwide return to in-person learning in the fall. However, vaccinations alone will not get us through this. Young children not being able to vaccinate, the spread of new and
Content provided by BD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Meeting the Moment: Accelerating Equitable Recovery and Transformative Change
Educators are deciding how best to re-establish routines such as everyday attendance, rebuild the relationships for resilient school communities, and center teaching and learning to consciously prioritize protecting the health and overall well-being of students
Content provided by Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Addressing Learning Loss: What Schools Need to Accelerate Reading Instruction in K-3
When K-3 students return to classrooms this fall, there will be huge gaps in foundational reading skills. Does your school or district need a plan to address learning loss and accelerate student growth? In this
Content provided by PDX Reading

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Professional Development How to Fix 7 Fatal Flaws in Tech Professional Development
One silver lining of the pandemic is that it forced some districts to rethink their PD priorities and find new ways of training teachers.
8 min read
A team analyses data and tracks progress
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty Images Plus
Professional Development Opinion How Can Coaches Use a Cycle of Inquiry to Establish Themselves and Help Others?
A cycle of inquiry can both help coaches establish themselves and help those they coach develop areas of improvement.
10 min read
shutterstock 546692113
Shuttestock
Professional Development Opinion 'A Professional Learning Community Is Not a Faculty, Grade Level, or Department Meeting'
Three educators wrap-up a four-part series on professional learning communities.
11 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Professional Development Professional Development This Summer: What Teachers and Principals Say They Need
School and classroom leaders weigh in on how PD this summer should prioritize addressing the needs made plain during the pandemic.
7 min read