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Top 5 EdTech Conferences to Attend in 2018

With another year of travel under our collective belts, it’s time for another rendition of our list of the top 5 EdTech conferences to attend – 2018 edition! We searched far and wide, from convention centers to… other convention centers, to bring you the best and brightest of the EdTech exhibition world. If it’s on this list, it’s on our list too, which means we’ll be attending, exhibiting, or speaking at the shows below – hope to see you out there!


When: June 24–27, 2018
Where: Chicago, IL
What it’s about: ISTE is the biggest conference of its kind in North America, so huge in fact that it has its own set of educational standards. To say that this conference is influential would be something of an understatement. ISTE is also highly focused on educators, so this is a great show for teachers.
Why you should go: If you’re going to attend one EdTech conference this year, ISTE should be the one. The show is absolutely massive, so there will be great representation from a whole host of vendors who are pushing EdTech forward. ISTE is also loaded with informative sessions from industry operators and educators alike, so you’re guaranteed to encounter some new perspectives on teaching with technology. If you do end up going, be sure to drop by and visit us at booth 1734 and tell us what you’ve learned at the show!

Serious Play

When: July 10-12, 2018
Where: Manassas, VA
What it’s about: We’re trying a couple of niche recommendations this year, and this is the first of those recommendations. Serious Play is a conference focused on the game-based learning industry, encompassing the audience of people who design, manage, and/or implement serious game programs. Billed as a leadership conference, the content at Serious Play is geared towards elevating and augmenting the thought leadership conversation around serious games.
Why you should go: Serious Play hosts some of the most seasoned and knowledgeable speakers in the industry, with the added bonus of differentiated content based on your level of expertise and interest. In 2017, they offered Corporate, Government, Healthcare, Game Design, K12, and Higher Ed as separate content tracks, so if you’re into serious games, chances are this conference has sessions for you.

Games for Change / VR for Change

When: TBD Summer 2018
Where: New York, NY
What it’s about: The second and final of our niche EdTech conference recommendations, Games for Change is a vibrant, dynamic serious games conference held in the heart of New York City. Games for Change has been active for over a decade, surfacing powerful ideas through their content sessions and acting as an indispensable venue for networking, dialogue, and innovation.
Why you should go: Games for Change offers robust content tracks that cover a wide variety of topics and technologies that are directly or tangentially related to game-based learning. But you don’t have to take my word for it! Games for Change generously uploads all of the content from their conferences to YouTube playlists – here’s the playlist for 2017. Watch a few of those videos and see if this show is right for you. Also, don’t forget to check out their VR content as well. G4C is an early champion of VR, so you can expect to see that medium take an increasingly central place in their programming.

Play Make Learn

When: August 13-14, 2018
Where: Madison, WI
What it’s about: Per their website, the Play Make Learn (PML) Collective stemmed from a collective interest in creating an innovative conference to promote play and learning research, industry, and practice. PML is situated at the crossroads of game-based learning scholarship and design, drawing together leading academics and creators to promote and develop progressive teaching pedagogies.
Why you should go: True to its name, Play Make Learn offers content that aligns with the pedagogies that the conference is intended to promote. Attendees will have the opportunity to get hands-on with games and game systems, as well as attend maker labs and game jams that will supplement and expand on session content. Given this “roll up your sleeves” approach, PML is a great opportunity to learn about progressive pedagogies by trying them out for yourself.

Connected Learning Summit

When: August 1-3, 2018
Where: Cambridge, MA
What it’s about: The first annual Connected Learning Summit (CLS) is set to take place this August in Cambridge, MA, and stands to inherit the crown of the dearly departed GLS Conference. Like PML, CLS will bring together academics and industry operators for a dialogue that will focus on cross-sector connections and progressive and catalytic innovation. Per their site, the program includes a mix of engaging presentation and workshop formats ranging from speculative design, to game walkthroughs, sharing work in progress, and research panels.
Why you should go: CLS is another opportunity to enter the dynamic and enlightening intersection of EdTech scholarship and industry. Given that this is their inaugural year, you can expect that they’ll pull out all the stops to make a big splash on the conference scene with innovative content and thought leadership that you’ll find nowhere else.

That’s the top 5 for 2018 – did we miss any? Sound off on our Facebook or Twitter!


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