It’s easy to get jaded about technology these days, and then you see stuff that blows off your socks. That’s just what happened to me at ISTE 2019. Technology is doing more than ever before, but instead of letting ourselves get wowed by the bells and whistles of coolness, this year we focused on finding schoolwide technology tools that are worth making room for in your budget.
When I walked up to this booth, I have to admit I wasn’t that excited. Another Smart Board, jaded me thought. But WOW was I wrong. Clevertouch’s interactive whiteboards use Lux technology, which makes them more like giant tablets. They also have their own apps, which they update regularly. And your tech staff can monitor all screens remotely, so they don’t have to go room to room. One of the highlights of this tech is its price. They look super expensive but came in at less than the other Smart Boards we looked into, by a lot.
This wireless-classroom solution is nothing short of brilliant. We all know how important it is to be able to move around the classroom to meet students where they are, and ScreenBeam helps you do just that. This system lets you send messages to all students’ learning devices, freeze their screens to stop for instructions, and send a URL to get everyone on the same webpage at the same time.
We want our teachers to use more updated, engaging technology to keep students excited to learn, but it can be tough to get everyone trained. Gynzy solves that by pulling easy-to-use resources together in one place for teachers to access. Using a Smart Board, Gynzy programs solve the problems your teachers are up against. Kids can celebrate birthdays, practice math independently, find new partners for teamwork projects, and set their learning goals all on one easily accessible interface.
We all know Best Buy, right? But did you know they are striving to be community members who help solve educator and family issues every day? We were excited to learn about their school supplies, digital products, and furniture ideas designed to marry the physical and digital spaces at school and at home. It was also amazing to learn about their movement to teach kids and teens about technology as a career path. Their Geek Squads teach teens about technology, so students are prepared to get their first job at Best Buy. Talk about solving community problems!
We know, we know, Kahoot! isn’t a new tech tool, but what we learned about how it can be used throughout the entire school was eye-opening. Kahoot! is a game-based learning app you can use to create on-the-spot, real-world assessments that get kids (and teachers) excited to learn more. How? The people at the Kahoot! booth had about a zillion ways to engage everyone at your school. Going on a field trip and want kids and teachers to bring back their learning? Have them take pictures of what they saw and create a quiz for the rest of the school, featuring those images. Want to get your teachers excited for the next staff meeting? Set up a Kahoot! for them to check at home before the meeting—just give them the code to begin!
These tech products are clearly awesome, but there were hundreds of others at ISTE that also deserve some thoughtful investigation. Taking the time to analyze the technology tools you use to make sure they are as effective and efficient as possible should be a major to-do-list item for all school leaders.
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