ISTE 2016 Takeaways

by Devin & Melissa

1. Google Forms Updates

Google Forms has released new updates that include quiz versions. This will allow you to program feedback to incorrect questions and provide overview of student performance data. Flubaroo will still be available for more advanced grading options

2. Google Chromecast

For any Google Classroom, students will be able (with teacher approval) to project their screens to the overhead projector.

3. Impending Google Sites Update

This fall, Google Sites will experience a MAJOR upgrade. Sites will now be more integrated with Google Drive. Don't know a lot of details on this, but Google assures us that we're going to like it a lot!

4. Synergize Acquired by Google

The Synergize How-To Tutorials have been acquired by Google and will now be completely free.

5. Google Expeditions Creates a VR for Students

Google has introduced Google Expeditions, which allows students to take virtual field trips with or without Google Cardboard (though it's a lot cooler with it.

6. Coding is extremely popular

Lots of speakers presented about coding and the Hour of Code to teach students how to program and code. Popular from lower elementary on up into high school. Even the keynote presenter Dr. Kaku emphasized the importance of coding and how this skill will be highly sought after.

7. Breakouts--both physical and digital--are gaining steam

Breakout games--similar to escape rooms--are becoming hugely popular. Breakout boxes are available online but can also be made with locks and boxes from hardware stores. The games are a set of clues that relate to the content in your class.


Digital breakout games are fully online, where students have to insert the correct codes into a Google Form to "break out." All the clues to codes can be found through webquests, textbooks, or hidden clues teachers' webpages.

8. Makerspaces!!

STEM/STEAM movements are extremely popular (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math), and with that comes an uprising in makerspaces, where students create robotics, machinery, computers, or other electronics.

9. Gamification

Lots of sessions covered information about gamification, which is adding elements of games (badges, team leaderboards, choice of quests) to a class. This is being done both in classes and for PD. Can be done with Schoology, with Google Classroom, or with Google Sheets.

10. Digital Storytelling

Lots of students and teachers alike presented on their ventures into digital storytelling, using multimedia such as linked images, video, webpages such as this (Smore) and Adobe Spark, and others. This is a huge example of Project Based Learning.

11. Microsoft Working to Catch Up with Google

Microsoft is working steadily to gain steam in education, adding on a classroom function (similar to Google Classroom) and Forms. Their One-Note notebook is also a pretty slick component that we haven't seen in Google yet.

12. Learn the Names of Keynote Speakers

Just in case you run into one coming off the elevator, you don't stutter over his name and end up saying "Hey there" while the globally-known scientist looks at you strangely and slowly walks away.

13. Schoology Assessment Update

This fall, Schoology will release a major update to its tests with more question options and a much more attractive & modern appearance.