It was a homecoming of sorts this summer at the 2022 ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) Conference and Expo! If you've been reading our blog for a while, you might remember my first trip to ISTE back in 2019 when I took in the edtech landscape between viewing the Liberty Bell and chowing down on cheesesteaks.
ISTE continues to be recognized globally as the most comprehensive educational technology conference in the world and this year, attracted over 16,500 participants from over 88 countries! The 2022 event was held June 26-29 in "The Big Easy"! What better city to reunite with edtech friends—new and old—than New Orleans, Louisiana? Take a look at just some of the fun we had!
Lessons from Educators in the Exhibit Hall
Honestly, when I wasn't eating my way through the city on this trip, I was in our ST Math booth. And since my team has reminded me that this is, in fact, not a food blog, let me tell you a little about what I saw and heard in the exhibit hall.
This year's ISTE was the first in-person conference I attended since the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020. There was a sense of electricity at this event that I had not felt before. Attendees seemed genuinely happy, excited, and reinvigorated to be among so many peers again. I had more friendly conversations with strangers in those three days than I may have had all of 2020 and 2021!
A lot of educators stopped by the ST Math booth—those currently using the program as well as ones looking for a new way to teach their students math. Here were some of my best takeaways from those conversations:
- Learning recovery is still top of mind going into the new school year. We may be feeling like students are behind, but educators agree it's important to keep kids on grade level, build their math confidence, and challenge them to be creative problem solvers.
- Math is a global subject of interest and challenge! I met educators from Canada, Spain, and beyond who were interested in ST Math's visual approach. At the end of the day, we're all looking for ways to make math more exciting, accessible, and equitable for students.
- With more edtech tools and resources at their disposal than ever before, educators are feeling empowered to meet the individual needs of their many students but are taking wants into consideration too. Time away from the classroom during the pandemic affected students' mindsets toward school. Many educators are looking for ways to reengage and excite their students when it comes to mathematics.
ST Math's New Back-to-School Features
Many of the conference attendees who stopped by the booth were interested in hearing what was in store for ST Math as they head back to school this fall. We were able to deliver some great news! JiJi’s backpack is full of features for the 2022-2023 school year that students, teachers, and administrators are going to love. Here are just some of my favorites:
- New ST Math curriculum with a streamlined student Journey
- New ways of interacting with models within ST Math games
- An expanded library of curriculum and facilitation supports for educators
- New Professional Learning offerings
To dive deeper into what's new in ST Math, click here!
Who's that Penguin?
It's JiJi, of course! Our inflatable friend has been popping up—literally—at education conferences and schools across the U.S. It was so much fun to watch JiJi fans take a selfie with our feathered friend. Here are just a few of my favorite entries into the selfie contest we held at the ST Math booth.
One Last Lesson
I was pretty busy in the booth during the conference, but I did manage to sneak away to hear Dr. Calvin Mackie speak. If I could only catch one speaker session at ISTE, I'm glad it was this one.
Dr. Mackie's amazing! He founded STEM NOLA, a nonprofit organization to expose, inspire, and engage communities in learning about opportunities in STEM. Since 2013, STEM NOLA has engaged over 75,000+ students—mostly under-served low-income students—in hands-on STEM project-based learning. You can learn more about him here.
Dr. Mackie told a story of elevating equity: how he came to found STEM NOLA and all of the great work the nonprofit's been doing. Much of what he said made me reflect on my own organization's mission and how our efforts are so closely aligned.
Something Dr. Mackie said that will stay with me for a long time was:
A child can do three things. They can take, make, or break things. Kids need opportunities to make things.
I just loved that. I think the saying applies to us adults too and I don't know about you, but I'm excited to keep making things. Especially as we look toward the next few years that will so vitally shape the education landscape.
I had the best time at ISTE this year learning, wondering, and eating! Thank you to the conference organizers and to all of the wonderful attendees who stopped by to say hi. I hope you had as much fun as I did.
NCTM and NCSM are the next stops for ST Math. If you're planning to attend, we have some BIG news that I can't wait to share with you. Make sure to stop by the ST Math booth at either of those events. You won't want to miss this surprise!