Key takeaways from ISTE 19

The yearly ISTE conference is always packed with amazing ideas. Here are some of the great shares we found!

The ISTE Conference is the biggest annual educational technology conference in the United States. And it is BIG. It’s like a small city of educators that congregate together in a convention center. It feels like a reunion of my entire Twitter feed.

An event like this means different things to different people …

  • Some people are very new to using technology or teaching. For them, it’s about soaking up new ideas and tools like a sponge.
  • Some people are a little more sure of their use of tech in the classroom. They’re looking to refine their skills and meet likeminded people.
  • Some people are innovators or longtime tech users. They’re looking for the very specific solutions or people with very specific skill sets.

Here’s one observation from LOTS of people about a conference like ISTE — or any other conference for that matter …

There’s one part of a conference that resonates with practically everyone.

It’s not the sessions.

It’s the people.

When educators gather at a conference, it’s not just hundreds or thousands of randomly combined people with lots of individual goals. It’s a group of human connections.

  • People share their passions.
  • They share their expertise.
  • They laugh.
  • They remember why they got into education.
  • They get excited at where education is going.

I asked for top ISTE takeaways on Twitter. So many of the responses had to do with the people, which further confirmed my belief. (Check out the replies to the tweet below to see what I mean.)

When people come back from a conference like that, there’s a bit of a letdown. They go from being on a high, being surrounded by so many people that share their interests and enthusiasm. Coming home means going back to normal.

Coming home also means getting to work on all the goals they set at the conference.

That’s where the work is. That’s where it’s hard.

That’s also where a difference is made — in the classroom, in the community, in education.

When I got home from this year’s ISTE conference, I experienced that same letdown. But I am STILL encouraged at the promise and potential that education — and educators — have on the world.

For me, the ISTE conference is also about resources! I love to gather them because I know people like you will love to see them, to learn from them, to use them.

It’s the closest thing I have to bringing a piece of ISTE home with me for you.

Here are 11 of my favorite finds from the ISTE conference that I can share with you in digital form:

1. Sean Arnold wrote this post 32 Insights from ISTE 2019 where he reflected on his significant learning from ISTE. He talks about the overarching perspective, conference takeaways, and instructional keys from the conference and includes a fantastic list of resources in each.

2. Create, Collaborate, and Communicate: Utilizing Google Sites for Digital Portfolios with Melinda Isham and Yvette Mezzanatto shared lots of great ideas for curating student work using Google Sites. Their website is broken up into three parts and walks you through everything you need to know about creating, collaborating, and communicating with sites.

3. Michael Davola curated TONS of ISTE resources from home and added them all into this Google Drive folder and shared it with everyone on Twitter. With SO many different topics it would be difficult NOT to find something useful in here!

4. Kasey Bell’s #ISTE19 Presentations and Resources. Isn’t it great when presenters link all of their resources in one place? Kasey Bell of Shake Up Learning did just that. You can find her presentations on all things G Suite along with ideas on how to use the ISTE standards in your classroom plus lots more.

5. Tom Spall presented (A FULL breakdown of this AMAZING site) where he gives you everything you need to know about Flippity plus examples of how to use it in education!

6. Augmented Reality has taken the edtech world by storm and the possibilities are nearly endless. Jaime Donally, one of the AR gurus, presented at ISTE and wrote about one of her favorite apps called 3DBear. You can read all about it in her post Create Augmented Reality + Examples.

7. Nichole Carter shared resources on using bullet journals with students after the topic came up at and ISTE panel session. Check out her post Develop, Create, and Inspire Change with Bullet Journaling.

8. Adobe Spark announced some pretty amazing updates at ISTE including Project Share which allows creators to share projects with one another to make collaboration even easier.

9.  ISTE is always filled with the latest edtech news and this year was no exception. Google for Education announced that they have 6 new activities to help kids learn to evaluate what they see online.

10. Accessibility is an important topic to address in every classroom. Mike Tholfsen, from Microsoft EDU, is passionate about creating inclusive environments and shared all of his resources from his presentation on creating accessible classrooms.

11.  Nate Ridgway, Angie Ridgway and I presented “Don’t Ditch That Tech” at ISTE where we shared ideas and resources for differentiating instruction in a digital world. If you missed us at or were not at ISTE, you’ll find everything you need on this page.

For notifications of new Ditch That Textbook content and helpful links:

Interested in having Matt present at your event or school? Contact him by e-mail!

Matt is scheduled to present at the following upcoming events:

[getnoticed-event-table scope=”upcoming” max=”15″ expanding=”false”]