- On the same topic: From Equity to Agency: Other Innovations and Discoveries at the #ISTELive 2023 Conference
- French version of this text available here: #ISTELive : L’IA sur toutes les lèvres + des découvertes à ne pas manquer
Technology is rapidly transforming our world. In this ever-changing landscape, the annual conference of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) in the United States is a must-attend event for inspiration, networking, and rejuvenation. In 2023, more than 17,500 people gathered, both in-person in Philadelphia and virtually, to explore the latest technological innovations, exchange innovative ideas, and establish valuable connections. Several hundred exhibitors enlivened the exhibition hall, competing with creativity to attract attention through over 1,000 workshops and various activities on the program! Visitors were able to find something to meet their objectives and profiles.
Here are some highlights from this year’s event.
BLENDING LEARNING, WITH HOLLY CLARK
The renowned teacher, author, and speaker Holly Clark has been using the term “blended learning” for many years to define the use of various tools to support teaching, including digital tools. For her, a blended learning activity includes both technology-based and non-technology-based components. For example, she suggests using strategies from Project Zero’s Thinking Routine Toolbox at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and adding digital tools such as Padlet, Canva, FigJam and Flip, which are among her current favourites.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ON EVERYONE’S LIPS
Artificial intelligence (AI) was truly on everyone’s lips at ISTE this year, both in workshops and at the exhibitor hall, as well as in mini-presentations. Holly Clark reminded us why it is so important, noting that children starting kindergarten in 2024 will graduate in 2036 and likely retire around 2085.
She also quotes Professor Shelly Palmer on the question:
Will AI steal my job one day?
Yes and no. AI may not steal your job, but someone who knows how to use it will. That’s guaranteed.
Matt Miller, from DitchThatTextbook, points out that a tool like ChatGPT reached one million users in just five days and 100 million users in only two months. It makes us wonder what our world will look like in 2036…
He also urges the education world not to forget that today is the past for our children. Therefore, we must be able to teach with our “Tomorrow glasses.”
In his book AI for Educators, Matt Miller quotes AI expert Kai-Fu Lee, who says that we tend to overestimate what technology will be able to do in five years, but underestimate what it will be able to accomplish in 20 years. He invites the educational community to take advantage of what technology allows us to do today to accomplish tasks that are no longer essential, as it helps free up something that is precious to all of us: time.
5 SKILLS TO TEACH ABOUT AI, ACCORDING TO RICHARD CULATTA FROM ISTE
In the opening speech of the event, Richard Culatta, CEO of ISTE, called on the educational community to seriously consider teaching the following:
- How AI really works
- How it can brainstorming
- How to work in hybrid teams
- Content curation, not just creation
- How to be better at being human ❤️
GOOGLE, BARD, AND AI
Although not yet available in Canada, Bard, Google’s “chatbot” that aims to compete with ChatGPT, is accessible in beta mode from the United States. We were able to discover and test it with Eric Curts, a teacher and blogger on ControlAltAchieve. In addition to generating answers to various questions, Bard is capable of creating images and formatting tables, among other things. Like ChatGPT, we found it to be a valuable tool for certain types of tasks, such as synthesis and rephrasing, but using critical thinking to evaluate its responses is essential to make it an effective ally.
Eric Curts also presented a summary of AI-supported features that will soon be available in the Google suite, and mentioned Project Tailwind, a digital notebook that will allow users to start from a chosen document and automatically generate revision content, such as quizzes and summaries, using AI.
IMPROVING READING SKILLS WITH MICROSOFT TEAMS
Have you heard of Microsoft Teams’ Reading Progress tool? Relatively new, it helps promote the development of reading and pronunciation skills in learners of all ages. The teacher has access to a dashboard that provides a wealth of statistics on speed, accuracy, difficult words, and more. Additionally, the tool generates personalized activities so that each user can practice their most challenging words and improve. It is particularly relevant for reading, learning a second language, and more!
CHROMEBOOK, ACCESSIBILITY, AND UPDATES IN GOOGLE EDUCATION
At Google Education, a hands-on experience allowed visitors to discover the accessibility features integrated into Chromebook devices, including contrast, reading mode with the ability to change font size, style, line spacing, and more.
There was also an opportunity to explore and try out the new “Practice sets” option, which allows teachers to create questionnaires for students with AI-supported feedback. Additionally, a feature that will soon be available to add questions to a video hosted on YouTube (like Edpuzzle) was demonstrated. These two new features are part of the Google Education Plus suite. Finally, it was possible to experience the “Screencast” Chromebook app, which records the screen activity directly into the user’s Google Drive and can be quickly shared. It was particularly interesting to try it all on Chromebook Pro devices, which compete favourably with other portable devices in terms of performance, considering that most tasks take place online in the famous “cloud”!
A LITTLE BIT OF QUEBEC IN THE HEART OF PHILADELPHIA
A delegation representing the Province of Quebec attended this edition, including representatives from Engaged Learning, who came to gather inspiration for their own event, which promises to be exciting! At the exhibitor hall, visitors could interact with the friendly Lü team and even try out their system that transforms gym walls into an immersive and active learning experience! They could also meet representatives from Druide, who were showcasing the Antidote writing assistant software and the Typing Pal keyboarding software.
A FINAL THOUGHT…
The final thought goes to Holly Clark. She states that the new digital divide will be the divide between those who know how to critically evaluate AI-generated responses and use them to communicate and collaborate more effectively versus those who do not.