Recently, I had the privilege of attending the 2014 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Convention and Expo in Atlanta. ISTE is a nonprofit organization with the mission to “serve educators and education leaders who are committed to empowering connected learners in a connected world.” This was my first ISTE Conference & Expo, and I can honestly say I was not prepared for how truly big the event would be. The Conference lasted for four days, and the Expo was one day less.
To begin, I must say the Expo was HUGE! According to the ISTE Expo literature, it is considered to be one of the largest and most interactive EdTech Expos in the world. There were more than 500 exhibits and 4,500 industry representatives. All booths offered ideas, or programs, or technology that educators could take back to the classroom and further the education of students. Many booths also offered an interactive experience to show off products through demonstrations or presentations. Sadly, many of the companies slanted towards Math and Science. As a History teacher, I had to seek out companies that could benefit my students and/or me as a teacher. The following are just a sampling of the companies I think History teachers can benefit from.
|Using ClassFlow to teach Ron Clark Academy students|
Historia: This is a game program for learning History that is currently in Beta test mode. In the game, students team up to lead a civilization through events in World History. After seeing so many games aimed at Math and Science, it was nice to see a game created with History in mind. One element stressed by the company is that as a teacher, I will be able to use the game to have students research history, debate strategy and take risks that will determine the future of their people. A big plus is that Historia developers have already aligned the game to meet most Social Studies Standards. It was also exciting to learn that Historia will be operating a Learning Lab at the National Council of Social Studies Convention in November.
BrainPop: Another great company that allows for gamification in the History classroom is BrainPop. Using the GameUp, their educational games portal for the classroom, teachers can create a traditional, blended, or flipped classroom learning environment. Everything that they offer is supported by their free teacher community, and all content is aligned to academic standards.
Professor Garfield: This is an educational collaboration between Paws, Inc. and Ball State University. Their booth was a one stop shop for several ideas and programs that could easily translate to the History Classroom. Under their umbrella, Pixton Comics offers teachers a free version for students to create their own comic book--from a simple comic strip to a lengthy graphic novel. Storyline Online allows students to see a book being read by celebrities. They have quite a few books/videos on the site and suggestions of new books are always being accepted. The Teacher Gaming Network is an online resource where teachers can create and share interactive games, utilizing their curriculum content. On the site, teachers are given a customized online platform for creating their own games.
Teachers First: Is a wonderful free resource for teachers. According to their mission statement, their website is a collection of lessons, units, and web resources designed to save teachers time by delivering just what teachers need in a practical, user-friendly, and ad-free format.
These are just a few of the companies and programs that I thought were of great value. What stood out in the Expo for you? What program are you excited to share with your colleagues and students?
For more information on ISTE 2014