Seeing EdTech in action is believing
During itopia’s time at EdTech events this year, attendees were excited to see new and emerging teaching tools all in one place. It’s one thing to read about a potential solution, but it’s a completely different experience in action! For example, The Future of Education Technology (FETC) attendees were amazed to see how easy it is to set up itopia’s virtual computer labs and launch Career & Technical Education (CTE) applications in just a few minutes – all while standing at our booth!
The Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Convention & Expo and Digital Learning Annual Conference (DLAC) were equally informative and thought-provoking. There are many groundbreaking products and services entering the education market in robotics, standardized testing, and gaming. We described a few of these trends in our blog post on FETC.
Virtual Reality (VR) was a hot topic at all of the events, as it enables users to experience the next level of immersion and student engagement. Because VR has gained so much traction, using it as an educational resource only makes sense. This technology has limitless potential for students and educators. Lesson plans can take students through moments of time without ever leaving the classroom. Want to check out the Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum? You can do that. Want to see NASA’s first space shuttle launch? You can do that too – just make sure your ears are ready.
All of these technologies carry a clear-cut role designed to engage and excite student interaction with coursework because the “seeing is believing” approach is critical to educational experiences too.
Virtual and face-to-face will continue to complement one another
As the pandemic moves into a new phase, most educators expect that virtual experiences will continue to complement face-to-face interactions versus an either/or scenario. Educators were open to sharing challenges their schools are facing in striking the right balance, including modernizing computer labs, reimagining instructional tools, improving CTE programs, budgeting, and advancing 1:1 device initiatives with Chromebooks. School districts like Chester Upland School District have found success balancing budget needs and student access by using Chromebooks and itopia to fully maximize student access to applications for CTE programs.
On a personal level, the itopia team really valued the opportunity to directly engage with attendees at each EdTech event. Though we’ve all found creative ways to meet “virtually” through webinars, online happy hours, and discussion panels – which we’ll continue to do too – we’ve missed the particular engagement that can only be achieved in-person, such as spontaneous conversation, hugs and handshakes, and even enjoying a night out bowling! Our team savored the face-to-face interaction as a catalyst for networking, staying up-to-date with tech trends, uncovering solutions to ongoing problems, and most importantly, building relationships.
One important conclusion from all of this: the future of work, learning, and events is definitely hybrid. Sometimes it’s better to participate remotely, when travel or commuting is not an option. Other times, it’s more valuable to attend in person. But in 2022 and beyond, it’s about flexibility, and a hybrid approach empowers everyone to participate in the manner that’s best for them.