For 2012, ISTE was held in my beautiful home city, San Diego, CA. Attendees were treated to the latest innovations in education technology as well as the sights as sounds that only SoCal can offer. Except for the morning rush at Autodesk’s booth for coffee and breakfast, exhibitors that focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), Flip Teaching, and Mobile Device solutions drew the largest crowds.
All kidding aside, companies are becoming more comfortable showing off high-tech wares which made for a pretty amazing show. Self-identifying as a tech geek, I’ll admit that the coolest things I encountered were tools for engineering. 3D printers that build durable parts from ABS plastic and a scanner capable of producing a digital version of a 3D object and exporting it directly into popular modeling software are going a long way towards equipping young engineers with tools that will help them compete in a global economy. Oh…and robots. Lots of robots. Who doesn’t love robots? Several companies have created ingenious was to get kids—in every age range—excited about robotics.
Flip Teaching is taking hold in education. More schools are requiring students to prepare for their subjects at home via internet and tablet applications like YouTube and Kahn Academy. While the concept is great, implementation can be a bit troublesome. First, schools have to choose whether they are going to provide devices for the students or if the students will be responsible for choosing their own. Then, there is the question of infrastructure. With classes growing into the 30′s, reliable Wi-Fi, storage and docking stations, and device management become serious concerns. I managed to snap a quick picture of Xirrus’ booth where they have 50 iPads streaming video through one of their Wi-Fi Arrays. Pretty cool stuff!