On June 11th, 2019 I was honored to have spoken at SIIA’s Edtech Conference in the Bay Area with two other distinguished educators, Jason Borgen and Thad Austin.  Our panel topic was New Edtech Trends in Education and our audience was 100% industry edtech company executives although many were former educators themselves.

We tackled questions that ranged from what are the challenges of integrating new edtech into the classroom to how can we make sure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of new tech.

As you could have guessed, a major thread from me stemmed around Virtual Reality, it’s current use cases, hurdles, benefits, and future potential.  We dialogued with the audience about how these new technologies open social and PII questions that are 10x greater than what we deal with today around email and social media because when a student is bullying or being bullied over text or even video, how more damaging those actions are to the recipient if they’re done in a social “spatial” way, such as in Virtual Reality.  Furthermore what mindset does the aggressor develop if he or she is trolling inside a VR environment as well.  Questions around internet safety and digital citizenship arose from these discussions and while none of us have all the answers we talked about some of the places to start looking such as common sense media.

This being my first SIIA ETC conference I was bummed I could not have attended all three days due to prior engagements.  I came to the conference expecting to learn about new edtech from company sales representatives.  Instead I sat in on and participated in panels and interactive keynotes run by those very people, edtech company execs and reps, but their focus was on affecting education in positive ways not selling products.  Whether through their own technologies, policy change, and even through edtech startup investment, the attendees were focused on the broader good that is the future of education and work for the next generation.  I came away extremely moved by number of change makers I saw in attendance and hope that they succeed in their mission so that our students benefit.

I appreciated the above slide stating “Disruptive innovations create new markets and define new performance metrics.”  I can not wait to see what new technologies disrupt education so that we can address and progress.

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