Jun 20 2024
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ISTELive 24: Is Everything About Artificial Intelligence This Year? Not Quite

Other sessions will focus on esports, security and evaluating the quality of educational technology.

No, not everything at ISTELive 24 in Denver will be about artificial intelligence. However, out of the nearly 1,000 sessions being offered, organizers say more than 200 of them will focus on this groundbreaking technology.

For K–12 educators paying attention to headline news in the past few years, it will come as no surprise that AI will have a significant presence at one of the nation’s largest conferences on education technology. Since the recent release of generative AI for public consumption, more companies are integrating the tech into many of their products, and the U.S. Department of Education was quick to weigh in with guidance.

We searched the ISTE conference website for the most intriguing AI sessions as well as other popular topics at the conference this year.

Keynote Address to Focus on Empowering Students to Understand AI

ISTELive 24 will run June 23-26 at the Colorado Convention Center. The opening main stage will spotlight AI with a keynote presentation from Mo Gawdat, an author and chief AI officer for Flight Story. He’ll discuss the technology’s impact on society, its influence on education and how educators can empower students to better understand AI.

Click the banner below to keep up with ed tech innovations after ISTE.

 

Go Behind the Scenes of an AI Documentary

Did you know that there is a documentary addressing the intersection of AI and education? One ISTELive 24 session, “Blindsided: Behind the Scenes of a Documentary on the Artificial Intelligence Blitz,” will feature the documentary’s director and some of those featured. Interviewees include:

  • EdTech influencer Adam Phyall, who is now director of professional learning at Future Ready Schools
  • Helen Crompton, ISTE faculty, professor and executive director at Old Dominion University in Virginia
  • Chloe Culver, a 10th grader at Renton Preparatory Christian School

Check out AI Demos and Learning Opportunities

On the Trailblazer Stage,  in the expo hall, educators can watch 15-minute tech demonstrations of new, AI-powered tools. According to ISTE, the demos will address the “top benefits for educators, privacy and protections and preparing students for an AI future.”

In addition to demos, Microsoft and Google will offer sessions on how their AI tools support learning. Google will lead “The Gemini Experience,” a workshop that looks at how the AI assistant Gemini can help educators with lesson planning, grading and feedback, differentiating, personalization and more.

In the Monday morning session “Microsoft Copilot: Your No-Cost AI Assistant for Education,” attendees will learn how to use the AI tool for “browsing the web, searching for answers, exploring creative classroom ideas or coming up with useful information” for education. There will also be several other Copilot sessions offered throughout the conference, including one on AI prompts.

RELATED: Examining generative AI as a tech enabler.

Don’t Miss AI Thought Leadership and Stories About Integration

While some school leaders may still have concerns about AI, others have already jumped in with both feet. In Sunday’s “AI in a School District: A Yearlong Odyssey: Vision, Implementation and Reality” session, the Pewaukee School District in central Waukesha County, Wis., will share  “the initial vision, the strategic process of implementation and the unvarnished reality of AI in education.”

Sessions will also focus on AI from a leadership perspective. The “AI and the Future of Education session will feature ISTE+ASCD board members discussing how schools are “utilizing and advancing AI in education through authentic experiences that inspire educators and engage students.”

In CDW’s “Scaling GenAI: Building Tomorrow from Lessons Learned Today” session, presenters will share the results of an educator survey about the “aspirations, concerns and needs associated with GenAI.” The session will also focus on “assisting K–12 leaders in creating the readiness conditions for communication, literacy and purposeful integration.”

EdTech influencer Rachelle Dene Poth will lead “AI-Powered Classrooms: Bridging the Gap Between Humans and Machines.” She will discuss generative AI, dive into its uses and concerns, and explore its implications for education and the future of work.

Other sessions will address AI and Universal Design for Learning, ethics, AI prompts, implementation, digital citizenship, digital equity and strategies for statewide education transformation.

DIVE DEEPER: Artificial intelligence can defeat teacher burnout and boost productivity.

Minecraft Esports Competition and Sessions on Getting Started

ISTELive 24 attendees will also notice that esports continues to be a major topic of discussion. Not only will there be a Minecraft Education-themed esports live competition Monday afternoon on the main stage but there will also be several sessions on how to build an esports program.

EdTech influencer Nadine Ebri will also participate in a Microsoft session titled “Unlock the Creative Potential of AI in Minecraft Education. “

One of the esports panel discussions, “Esports: Changing the Game in Education,” will feature a professional TeamLiquid esports player and include strategies for integrating esports into curriculum and its benefits for all students.

What to Look for Before Heading to the Expo Floor

For educators seeking more guidance on the effectiveness of their ed tech tools, there are several sessions to consider before heading out to the expo hall.

ISTE is leading several sessions, including one on reliable tools for selecting edtech products, one on assessment buying and selection and a session on the signals of ed tech quality and usability.

Brian Seymour, deputy superintendent at Whitehall City Schools and recipient of multiple honors for his ed tech leadership, will lead the session “Evaluate the Tech & Don't Waste Your Money!” He will look at the “complete process to evaluate technology, including committee, technical and instructional feedback to give a true picture of how technology is impacting learning.”

READ MORE: Choose and integrate new technology vendors.

Multiple Layers of Protection Across the Network and on the Ground

Cybersecurity remains the No. 1 concern for school IT leaders, and several sessions will address multilayered school safety. In “The Ever-Changing Role of the CTO: School Safety” session, attendees will hear how schools can address both cybersecurity and physical security.

Beyond the Firewall: Pioneering Cybersecurity Strategies in K–12 Education” presenters will examine how schools can elevate their cyber resilience“Peeling Back the Layers: Insights from the Shrek Approach of Cybersecurity” will include a panel discussion delving into layers of protection for school districts of all sizes.

Lufkin Independent School District leaders will share lessons learned in “How to Survive a Ransomware Attack and Live to Tell About It.” The goal is to help attendees better prepare and secure their staff, hardware, data and networks.

Finally, technology leaders may want to attend “The New Heightened Cybersecurity Leadership Imperative: A National Standard Demands Greater Governance.” This session promises to look at the new NIST Cybersecurity Framework released this year and discuss how a focus on people, processes, technology and planning is needed to increase leadership and oversight in K–12 cybersecurity.

EdTech Influencer to Sign Book on Digital Equity

EdTech influencer and CDW Education Strategist Victoria Thompson recently published Elevate Equity in EdTech: Expanding Inclusive Leadership Through the ISTE Standards.

In the book, Thompson shares “guidance on how to create an equitable technology landscape by implementing the ISTE Standards, which can provide structure for assessing technology use and serve as a gateway to equity for students, teachers, school leaders and more,” according to ISTE.

Thompson will sign copies of her book Wednesday afternoon at the ISTELive Meet the Author station.

To stay up to date on everything at this year’s ISTE conference, bookmark this page and follow along on the social platform X at @EdTech_K12 or with the hashtag #ISTELive.

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