Nov 23 2020

ISTE20 Live: Sessions on Equity and Online Learning Top Agenda

Organizers say the annual conference will happen on a custom-built virtual platform.

The annual conference of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) shares a key trait with most the nation’s schools: Everything is happening online.

ISTE20 Live kicks off Nov. 29 on what organizers describe as a “custom-built virtual platform.” The event typically draws tens of thousands of educators from around the globe for discussions, presentations and activities that highlight how technology transforms teaching and learning.

This year, the conference includes thousands of sessions — spread over a week — on topics such as online and blended learning, digital citizenship, equity and inclusion, social-emotional learning, assessment, data privacy and more.

ISTE also has announced that professor and renowned author Ibram X. Kendi will be a featured voice at the event. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon professor in the humanities at Boston University and the founding director of the university’s Center for Antiracist Research. He is the award-winning author of bestselling books including “How to Be an Antiracist.”

Kendi has also written a children’s book on antiracism and frequently speaks about related topics of equity and inclusion. A significant challenge of 2020, specifically in terms of remote learning, has been ensuring students have the devices needed to learn as well as reliable Wi-Fi to access online classes and assignments. Beyond that, educators and others have pointed out additional disparities in the amount of face time students have with teachers and peers, and insufficient accommodations for students with disabilities.

The event’s broader agenda ranges from interactive lectures to sessions where thousands of attendees come together to hear speakers such as Kendi.

ISTE Live is slated to have an inspiring start. On Sunday, Quentin Lee, principal of Childersburg High School in Alabama, and ISTE CEO Richard Culatta are expected to “kick off the week with helpful tips and activities.” Lee rapped and danced in a now-viral COVID-19-themed parody of MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.”

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