It was great to be back in person at ISTE 2022!
Over the course of the week, we heard stories from teacher after teacher and principals all over the country on what their dismissal processes currently look like, and what they want to see change in the future. Not only was safety a top aspect they wanted to see increase during dismissal, but we also learned some of the unique challenges preventing them from feeling confident in their processes.
Every time we hear stories like these, we have the opportunity to shape Pikmykid to better serve schools. It takes all of us coming together to innovate and create solutions to keep students safe. That’s why we’re excited to share with you the top takeaways we learned from leading educators at ISTE.
Nicole Houze – “Educators are Superheroes.”
Being at ISTE Live 22 felt like both nothing and everything had changed from 2019. During my time in New Orleans, I had the opportunity to talk to dozens of teachers, administrators, and tech directors, and I was overwhelmed by their stories from the past 2 1/2 years. There is healing yet to be done.
We should be handing out capes because educators are truly modern-day superheroes. Making the shift from in-person to online learning in a matter of weeks is a monumental task, even for the best-equipped schools and districts.
To my educator friends who managed to keep the attention of 30 squirmy kinders through Zoom or Teams, I thank you. To the educators who took a pause on teaching standards to check-in…really check in on teens and tweens to make sure they were doing okay, felt safe, and had enough to eat, you have my ultimate respect. To the teachers who pushed themselves out of their comfort zones, whether it was learning how to live stream on Tiktok or repurposing an old window to teach math on video, I appreciate you and am in awe of your creativity and resiliency.
As I walked the aisles of the Exhibitor Hall last week, I was struck by how many new-to-market & innovative learning tools are available now. But no matter how big or tall or fancy each booth was, the most valuable thing on the expo floor is and always will be educators.
I hope that if you made it to ISTE 2022 Live, you had the opportunity to fill your cup with ideas and inspiration because you deserve it and are able to share the overflow with your colleagues for the next school year.
Eric Sala – “Schools are working to re-engage parents.”
The ISTE Live 2022 conference made New Orleans come to life with streets and cafes packed with educators, school leaders, and EdTech pioneers. Every corner we turned had someone involved in this great event, and education technology lingered in the air of the city the entire week.
In particular, I learned that schools are trying new ways to re-engage parents after the pandemic. So many school leaders told me about how their enrollment is down after COVID, and getting back in touch with families is hard. For the families at many schools, transportation is a substantial issue. Some families are not sending their students to school because they 1.) are not living near a bus stop and 2.) have no means of transportation to or from school.
How we help: Pikmykid enables carpooling and gives parents the ability to delegate to others on a calendar-based schedule
As with every conference or trade show as large as ISTE 2022, it is always so great to meet our customers in person rather than just over Zoom. Making in-person connections and putting faces to names is powerful; I enjoyed hearing stories from countless schools that use and love the Pikmykid solution.
I am always fascinated by the hundreds of creative solutions that other exhibitors have to offer as well. It was awesome to show people our solution to school safety and dismissal, and I think our team made an impact by educating those who stopped by our booth with a new perspective.
Chase Belisle – “School safety tools are top of mind.”
As a first-time exhibitor at ISTE, the energy from the exhibit hall was a sight to see. From all the incredible booths to the school and district staff excited to learn about new technologies. At the Pikmykid booth, it was exciting to see all the collaboration and exchanging best practices regarding dismissal and school safety.
In those conversations, three areas really stood out to me.
Firstly, the need and excitement around new technologies is growing. Schools now are implementing new ways to automate processes they may haven’t been able to do before out of necessity. After speaking with a Technology director from Texas, he mentioned that “with the recent staff shortages, his district is leaning on new technologies to help fill the gaps and, in turn, have actually enhanced those areas.”
Secondly, in lieu of recent events, the conversation around impactful school safety tools is on top of mind. As new laws, such as Alyssa’s law, start being adopted by more and more states, schools are proactively searching for tools that truly can make a difference.
The final takeaway is schools are doing the best they can with the resources they have available. The staff shortages around the country haven’t helped by any means. However, listening to many school administrators make something out of nothing is truly inspiring.
All in all, ISTE 2022 was a great and motivating experience for me. Sharing these insights will be my next step, and I am excited to learn more from others over a morning beignet in New Orleans next year!
Pat Bhava – “Educators are feeling the pressure.”
This year was especially useful for us to connect with hundreds of educators one-on-one to learn first-hand not only how they managed their schools during the pandemic but, more importantly, how they took those learnings to emerge stronger as we are slowly but surely seeing the tail end of the pandemic.
These were some of the things that we learned firsthand:
- Increased pressure on existing staff as they saw many educators leave the profession in the past two years.
- All educators experienced a steep learning curve while adopting several learning management tools that their schools bought to accommodate a hybrid learning situation.
- Many teachers confided that there is definitely a learning loss among their students that can be attributed to the ‘pandemic phase’. This calls for additional effort from the teachers in the next couple of years if we are to ‘close’ this gap.
- Due to the pandemic, additional grants, and federal funding were available to the schools, but this also put an additional burden on the schools and district staff to diligently deploy these funds within a fixed time window.
- Overall, the attendance at ISTE 2022 was lower than what we saw previously, but we found that we spoke to more school administrators this year as against talking predominantly to teachers previously.