The event kicks off with an opening keynote session featuring Joyce Abbott, the inspiration and name behind the ABC show Abbott Elementary. Abbott, an educator in the School District of Philadelphia’s Andrew Hamilton School, will be joined Sunday on the main stage by actor Tyler James Williams; ISTE CEO Richard Culatta; Sharif El-Mekki, CEO of the Center for Black Educator Development; Carmalita Seitz, director of ISTE Certification; and Principal Crystal Edwards of the School District of Philadelphia’s William D. Kelley School.
ISTELive’s four-day agenda is guaranteed to have something for everyone, no matter their position, experience or district. The comprehensive list of session possibilities can be overwhelming and, though many sessions will be recorded and offered online, choosing what to attend may give conferencegoers pause. Here are some of the top areas of focus at this year’s event and their must-see sessions:
Discover What’s New for K–12 in Artificial Intelligence and Automation
Although it’s been less than a year since the release of ChatGPT, the topic of artificial intelligence — specifically, generative AI — has taken over school districts. As AI technologies rapidly grow and evolve, many school leaders are racing to enact policies that will manage these tools.
At this year’s ISTE conference, many thought leaders and ed tech experts are sitting down to look at all sides of the AI debate. Here are some of the key sessions on the topic:
- “Lessons Learned from Putting Generative AI in the Hands of Students”
- “Make It Till You Fake It”
- “AI in Education: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly”
- “Embracing Artificial Intelligence and Chat GPT in Education”
Experience Esports with an Onsite Arena and Expert-Led Sessions
ISTELive 23 will feature an esports arena — look for the Esports Experience in the Grand Hall — and many sessions that focus on esports over the event’s four-day span. Whether Minecraft or Rocket League is more your players’ speed, attendees can choose from a wide variety of sessions, panels and demonstrations. Be sure to catch experts like Felisa Ford, co-creator of Minecraft: Education Edition’s “Good Trouble: Lessons in Social Justice” and EdTech K–12 IT influencer, and Julie Mavrogeorge, career and technical education coordinator for the Fresno Unified School District, in sessions such as:
- “Coast to Coast with Minecraft Education!”
- “Esports Kickstart: Learn from the Best!”
- “Esports Season Zero: Making Something From Nothing”
- “Video Games, Student Engagement and the Brain: Six Principles for Deeper Learning”
Stay Up to Date on Digital Transformation and Leadership in Education
Current and aspiring leaders will have plenty of choices when it comes to sessions on digital transformation and K–12 leadership. Panels of experts — including consultant and K–12 IT influencer Ken Shelton; Sophia Mendoza, Instructional Technology Initiative director for the Los Angeles Unified School District; and consultant Sawsan Jaber (panelists in a June 28 session titled “Equity in Education: A Journey, Not a Destination”) — will present at ISTELive 23.
ISTE has even built a recommended schedule for leaders. Among many big names in ed tech, it includes presenters like Nicholas Ferroni, educator at Union High School; Frankie Jackson, project director for CoSN and a former K–12 CTO; and Steven Isaacs, education program manager at Epic Games. This sample schedule includes a wide range of topics that tech leaders will want to learn about, including everything from disaster recovery to the National Educational Technology Plan.
Among other hot topics at this year’s event: cybersecurity, computer science and augmented and virtual reality. ISTELive 23 will even feature the ISTEverse, home to the VRcade, the ARcade, VR Wellness, the ISTEverse Arena and the Connections Theater.