Beyond the many specific lessons educators took back with them from #ISTE2015, T&L advisor Henry Thiele, Chief Technology Officer for District 207 in Park Ridge, IL, observed the following big-picture trends that indicated some major shifts in thinking in K-12 edtech:
• Sessions on tools are lame and should be avoided. The days of telling people where to click in sessions are no longer valuable. There are YouTube videos for that now. Show me what you are doing with it and how it impacts instruction. Even better, show me what your students are doing with it. Have your students come tell me about it--in person, virtually, or on video.
• We are entering the age of the instructional coach. Schools are finally figuring out that tools are only good if your teachers are using them effectively. Coaching will be an area where we invest a lot of time and energy over the next 5 years. Tools to help with coaching are starting to heat up too.
• Stories are gathering importance. Yes, testing is here to stay, but leaders and communities want to hear how you and your school are making a difference in student's lives. Start documenting and sharing these stories. Also, gather the stories of your teachers that are making this happen.
• Devices matter, labels don't. Nobody really cares what brand of device you are using any more. As long as it connects to the web, you can support it, it can be sustained and every student has one - you have a tool. Now what?
• Now what? As more schools are getting to a point where they have reliable tools and pathways to the Internet, they are trying to figure out how to go beyond basic student use and spark innovative change in the classroom while measuring success. See #2 and #3 above.