ISTELive returned to full attendance in June after three long years, and the enthusiasm from educators and the education industry was reflected in the numbers. More than 16,000 participants showed up at the Philadelphia Convention Center June 25-28, and they were joined by 1,650 virtual attendees. Nearly 500 companies exhibited, filling 1,170 booths.
“It’s been a great conference!” said Lisa Jarrett, a teacher at Spring Garden High School in Alabama. “I am going home with a whole backpack of ideas!”
She wasn’t the only one. Pam McLaughlin, a tech specialist, who provides professional development at Abington School District in Pennsylvania was attending her first ISTE Conference. She said she was amazed by the experience.
“It offers so much professional development. It’s so hands-on,” she said. “You do so much networking, you make so many connections, you meet so many people all in a couple of days.”
The conference delved into many hot topics like educator empowerment, digital citizenship, STEM, inclusion and equity, and emerging technologies like AR/VR, esports and, of course, artificial intelligence. In fact, if there was one theme that stood out, it was the impact of AI on education.
Abran Maldonado, a leading AI expert and founder of Create Labs, was a Mainstage speaker who introduced his creation, the first-ever AI speaker C.L.Ai.R.A. Known as the world’s first bilingual, autonomous Afro-Latina avatar, she demonstrated her ability to answer questions on the fly in a uniquely human voice.
Kyle Calderwood, a technology coordinator at Tabernacle School District in New Jersey, was excited by the potential of artificial intelligence. “A lot of people freaked out when the internet came. All they thought about was, kids are going to cheat! AI is a new tool. We have to adapt to it.”
Check out the graphic below to see all the ISTELive 23 numbers.