It’s hard to miss the optimism at the premier Education Technology conference here in Atlanta. Think of ISTE as the SXSW for teachers.
Supposedly attended by 18,000 people, it’s a bit like Disney Land, in some respects, with lines stretching hundreds deep. But the technology on show is extremely good, give and take a few shiny new objects.
- I ran into someone from the University of Penn, who’s got a content curation service that uses natural language processing (or nlp) which uses some kind of artificial intelligence and smart filters that a teacher can adjust to grade level. It made complete sense to someone who gets annoyed to hear ‘search’ referred to as ‘Research’. Google isn’t optimized for education, she said. Google is optimized for advertising and monetization. Duh!
- There’s a tech coordinator and science instructor out of Colorado, Kristin Donely, who’s found a neat way to let students produce animated videos using a super-cheap green-screen technique.
- I met someone using, and sat in a class on Augmented Reality (this app Aurasma is amazing) about bringing science to life.
- I bumped into a team from New Zealand who has a way to let students improve their reading by a teacher adding drag-and-drop sound tracks of music, ambient sound and sound effects. They will let me try Booktrack for free; I could see a different use of it – to amp up my digital storytelling module.
- Then there is the iPad economy – with companies developing apps, attachments, learning/tracking systems, engagement tools. The push to create 1:1 classrooms is huge. Steve Jobs must be smiling up there
- I did see a few people trying to convince us that Google Glass is God’s greatest gift to pedagogy. This lady, Kathy Schrock told me that she believes Glass would be useful in projects that lets a teacher give new perspective to a lab in progress, and also have her hands free.
- Speaking of Glass, this very cool camera from EXO Labs is more than a shiny new object –it could double up as a microscope for science projects and also stream images wirelessly. And of course, it works with (only) an iPad.
- Finally, and by no means the least importantly, there is the vocabulary of Common Core meets Next Gen Science Standards conversations that are everywhere, never mind that some states are opting out of the Common Core State Standards.
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