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Learning Library Blog Discover What’s New at ISTELive 23!
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Discover What’s New at ISTELive 23!

By Nicole Krueger
May 5, 2023
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The past four years have been tumultuous, but they’ve also been a time of discovery. We discovered the necessity of maintaining human connection in a tech-driven world. We discovered the power of creativity and innovation to help us push through difficulty. We also discovered that in these rapidly changing times, the ability to pivot and adapt to new circumstances is essential in every role, across every industry, both now and in the future.

Perhaps most importantly, we discovered that you never know when a potential future might suddenly become the here and now.

The ISTE conference has always been about exploring future possibilities, and that’s never been truer than at ISTELive 23. This year, as we return to Philadelphia for the first time since before the pandemic, we’re adding several new experiences for educators to discover — and we’re rediscovering some old favorites, as well. Here’s a peek at some of the new (and renewed) features you’ll find at ISTELive 23.

Explore VR within the ISTEverse

Immersive learning technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are taking classroom learning to a whole new dimension. Last year we helped educators get their feet wet with a VR playground. This year we’re going even bigger with the ISTEverse, a whole system of experiential learning spaces where you can try out the latest AR and VR learning applications and explore the potential of VR in education.

“For the first time in person, we’re going to have a persistent space for virtual reality to bring more awareness and experience to more of our attendees,” says James McCrary, director of innovative teaching and learning at River Parishes Community College in Louisiana. “It’s going to be VR like you’ve never seen it before.”

In the VRcade and ARcade, educators can sample realistic, 360-degree environments designed to teach core subjects as well as handheld AR tools that help students visualize complex concepts. There will also be a VR gaming arena where you can compete against other educators, a wellness space for experiencing mindfulness in VR and a stage for sharing immersive learning strategies and success stories.

Get creative in the Discovery Museum

When you’re transforming teaching and learning, taking time to reflect on your practice is critical. Sometimes those reflections inspire educators to create — and sometimes sharing those creations with others can inspire new ideas.

The new ISTELive Discovery Museum is dedicated to those magical moments of creativity. It’s an interactive space that combines a visual art gallery, a storytelling venue and a creative studio to help educators engage with their own creativity in different ways.

“The Discovery Museum will have a gallery showcasing artifacts that the community has created around a personal learning experience or an impactful learning experience for students,” says Camilla Gagliolo, a longtime educator and ISTE’s senior director of event content. “Within that space there will also be a Creative Constructor Studio where we’ll have local artists lead activities so educators can continue to create together.”

Tell stories around the ISTE Campfires

Looking for a more personalized, self-directed learning experience? We’re bringing back ISTE Campfires, an unconference-style gathering that allows educators to connect in conversation around their shared interests.

On the day of the event, participants will create their own session topic based on their interest and needs, and they’ll have the opportunity to discuss best practices, share their own experiences, ask questions and learn from each other in a collaborative environment.

Ignite your inspiration

Our five-minute Ignite sessions are back this year, with a rapid-fire series of passionate presentations intended to spark new ideas and spur educators to action. We’re also adding Lightning Talks, a series of eight- to 15-minute inspiring presentations about innovative teaching practices that are impacting student learning.

Check out the regional playgrounds

Find out what Pennsylvania educators are up to in a series of playgrounds focused on regional innovations in computer science, STEM, project-based learning and more. The Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications and Technology will also host a preconference workshop on innovation in which participants will help solve a local mystery.

Watch an esports showdown

ISTELive 23 attendees can cheer from the stands as two esports teams face off on the ISTE Mainstage for their tournament finale. Afterward, students and educators will engage in panel discussions about the impact of esports in education.

Get a dose of microlearning 

Explore an array of topics from AI to educator wellness delivered by authors, instructors, journalists and other edtech experts at the Learning Lab. They'll share their knowledge in 20-minute micro-presentations and interviews. The lab is also where you can meet the folks behind ISTE U, ISTE Certification, ISTE Books, EdSurge and more. You can find the lab within ISTE Central on the Level 2 Bridge. Visit every day to enter daily drawings and join a scavenger hunt to win prizes.

Navigate the conference with ease

Finding your way around a conference as large as ISTELive 23 can be a challenge, but this year we’re introducing a new feature in our app that will make navigation easier: location-recognition wayfinding. Much like an indoor version of Google Maps, the app will give attendees customized direction to their next session based on their current location.

What will you discover at ISTELive 23?


Nicole Krueger is a freelance writer and journalist with a passion for finding out what makes learners tick.