5 Top Lessons From ISTE 2015

1 Avoid Sessions on Tools: Sessions on tools are lame and should be avoided. The days of telling people where to click in sessions are over. 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.

2 Embrace Instructional Coaching: 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 five years. Tools to help with coaching are starting to heat up, too.

3 Gather Stories: 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 students’ lives. Start documenting and sharing these stories. You can also gather the stories of your teachers who are making this happen.

4 Forget about Labels: Devices matter, labels don’t. Nobody really cares what brand of device you are using anymore. As long as it connects to the Web, can be supported and sustained, and accessible to every student, you have a tool. Now what?

5 Think Forward: Now what? As more schools have reliable tools and pathways to the Internet, they are now 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.