ISTE 2017: 7 Ed Tech Tools to Look Out For

Image via ISTE

Image via ISTE

This year’s International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference was massive. As you expect, a conference with a turnout of over 20,000 people would have a showfloor to match. Here are a few highlights.

Discovery Education Techbooks

With the advantage of having a highly recognizable name via years of educational documentaries on its TV networks, Discovery’s Education division has cemented a place in the classroom with its line of Techbooks. Available for math, science and social studies, the digital books include model lessons, a variety of activities and assessments, embedded data dashboards, and flexibility across classroom device situations. Its curriculum team also includes subject matter experts, former administrators and other educators.

Discovery also partners with organizations ranging from the NBA to NASA, and can adapt content across reading levels. Additionally, they offer the Discovery Educator Network, which simplifies the sharing of practices and content.


Best known for their BB-8 robot toy, Sphero now has a heavy focus in the education market. Its new educational model uses the same basic design as the consumer BB-8 toy, but features a translucent shell so children can see the moving parts in motion.

The app that comes with the toy let’s students code in the motions for the toy through block coding or JavaScript, which let’s children control it however they want.

Cricket Together

It’s no secret that a mentor can make a huge difference in a student’s life, but finding where that fits best during the day can be difficult. With Cricket Together, schools can work with companies to facilitate that opportunity for employees as a fulfilling virtual volunteer opportunity.

The eMentoring platform pairs off students with a company’s employees in a virtual environment, having them read articles and discuss them through digital correspondence. Students see benefits to their literacy, reading and critical thinking skills, as well as getting an additional role model. And employee volunteers are able to share their experiences in a way that fits into their busy schedules. The correspondence also occurs in a safe, secure environment where educators are able to read each letter from either party before it reaches its intended recipient.

Pai Technology

With an increased focus on coding and STEM, robots are a pretty big deal right now. Pai Technology introduced Augie robot this year. Designed with pre-K and early elementary in mind, Augie teaches kids to code via an app that allows them to program its movements as well as it’s “eye” display.

Along with coding, Augie has a built-in camera where students can record their own movies and sounds and play augmented reality games.


From the Committee for Children, the SecondSTEP suite of products offers a full range of social-emotional learning, anti-bullying and child protection programming, presenting a simple approach to achieve the best results in the most cost-effective manner.

The primary SEL program is recommended for students from early learning through grade 8, offering a research-based, media-rich curriculum with fully-scripted lessons and materials designed to engage families at home, as well. The anti-bullying and child protection programs, meanwhile, are recommended for use through grade 5, training staff around best practices for working with all students involved in bullying incidents and how to recognize signs of abuse at home, while students learn how to deal with and report bullying or abuse.

Wonder Workshop

Wonder Workshop this year unveiled new teacher resources. Chief among them is the K-5 Learn to Code Curriculum, which covers six core concepts and includes 24 lesson plans and 72 Challenge Cards for students. The curriculum is also aligned with standards from CSTA, ISTE, Common Core and’s Computer Science Fundamentals.

Along with that, they have made updates to their robots Dash and Dot, which respond to voice and touch and are programmable by students.

Legends of Learning

Along with robotics, educational gaming has seen its star rise in recent years. If you’re a child of the ‘90s, these games are far removed from the simplistic, unengaging learning games you may remember from your school’s computer lab. Modern educational game designers have taken cues from commercial developers to craft experiences that better capture students’ attention spans while effectively teaching concepts that range from the simple to the complex.

Among the top educational gaming companies today, Legends of Learning’s platform offers dozens of options across subjects like earth/space sciences, life sciences and physical sciences. Each game features teacher and student reviews so educators can get an idea of how they’ve worked in other classrooms before adopting them in their own. Analytics can currently be monitored in class, but the company plans to offer comprehensive usage and performance analytics, as well as the ability to make assessments, in 2017. 

These were just a few of the many tech tools at ISTE, and with Ed Tech growing so rapidly, we’ll only be seeing more cool stuff within the next few years.

(Story via Education Dive)