Dubbed “the epicenter of EdTech,” the annual ISTE conference is a celebration of the world’s most cutting-edge organizations, research, and innovations operating at the fascinating intersection of education and technology. Featuring more than 16,000 attendees, 1,000 sessions, and 600 expo exhibitors spread across 3 days, this year’s show was a massive success (no pun intended). With ISTE 2018 officially wrapped up, we thought now would be the perfect opportunity to reflect on this year’s most prominent trends…
Rise of the Robots
Robots are coming…to the classroom! This year’s show was packed with companies marketing various robotics products and curricula geared towards elementary, middle, and high school learners alike. From kits that allow users to build their own custom bot, to prebuilt robots that teach users visual programming, attendees were treated to a smorgasbord of novel robotics products, leaving educators, administrators, and technology coordinators alike in awe of the in-class, hands-on learning possibilities.
Making VR a Reality in Education
As frequent readers of our blog are likely aware, we’re big fans of VR for learning here at Filament Games. ISTE 2018 featured a plethora of virtual reality hardware, software, and speaker sessions highlighting a diverse array of groundbreaking work. A highlight was Unity’s VR Oasis, which served as a hub for several VR developers to show off their work created using the Unity engine. Our upcoming Oculus Go/Samsung Gear VR game Breaking Boundaries in Science – a VR celebration of some of history’s most influential women scientists – was one of the titles selected for display in the VR Oasis. We really enjoyed introducing conference attendees to the virtual worlds of Grace Hopper, Marie Curie, and Jane Goodall – many experiencing the magic of virtual reality for the very first time! We also offered those who visited the Filament Games booth a sneak peek of our upcoming sandbox robotics game RoboEngineers…more news on that project coming soon!
Empowering the Next Generation of Women in STEM
Inclusivity was a major focus of this year’s show – particularly within the context of making STEM education and careers more accessible and appealing to today’s young women. Several sessions focused on sharing strategies and advice for motivating girls to pursue passion-driven careers in various science fields, including a presentation from our Vice President of Sales Jennifer Javornik! Her session “Keeping STEM Real in Virtual Reality” highlighted our inspirations behind the development of Breaking Boundaries in Science, focusing on strategies for designing immersive VR games intended to highlight the lives and achievements of famous female STEM role models. As a whole, our team was impressed by the quantity of women keynote speakers and presenters at the event – we are hopeful that this inclusive trend continues at future ISTE events and beyond!
Did you get a chance to make it to ISTE 2018? What were your highlights? Something you learned from a session? Or perhaps discovering a cool new EdTech tool on the expo floor? No matter your experiences, we’d love to hear about them – connect with us on our Twitter or Facebook!