3 August 2016 at 9:00 am

Where education meets technology, cyber-romance blooms

Over 14,000 passionate educators and technologists attended the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) conference held from the 26-29 June in Denver, USA. 

ISTE Kiwi Hour participants (L-R): Alliv Samson, Hengjie Wang (Kami), Dorothy Burt (Manaiakalani Trust), Colin Hogg and Scott Noakes (Linewize), Jan Zawadski (Hapara)

Among the attendees was a group of New Zealand edtech companies and educators. Representatives of Massey University and Linewize joined the New Zealand Technology Industry Association (NZTech) Chief Executive, Graeme Muller, and Education New Zealand (ENZ) Business Development Manager, Adele Bryant, at the event.  

“NZTech formed the EdtechNZ Association last year so it was fantastic to offer members the chance to scope one of the biggest edtech events in the world,” said Graeme.  

Altogether about 20 New Zealand delegates were in Denver which provided the opportunity to learn about global edtech trends, meet prospective partners and scope the possibility of exhibiting at the associated Expo usauin the future.     

“The conference featured an amazing array of professional learning and collaborative networking opportunities while the expo hall showcased a wide range of edtech tools and solutions,” said Adele.

Attendees could choose from more than 1,000 sessions in a variety of formats to support all learning styles.

“The passion of teachers for using edtech tools to engage, manage and extend learners was evident from the start and suggests that the future for edtech in the classroom is bright.

“A key take away was that educators were looking to spend more time engaging with students and less on developing their own resources, so easy-to-use and educationally sound tools which met learner needs were sought,” said Adele.

“Supplying that technology is big business. The global edtech sector is estimated to be worth over $100 billion and Kiwi companies are keen to raise their international profile and provide solutions to meet that growing global demand.”

Kiwi edtech success story Hapara (a cloud-based instructional management system for educational institutions) provided the New Zealand delegation a welcome opportunity to meet and network at a ‘Kiwi Hour’ onsite at the conference.  Among the group were Auckland-based edtech companies, Kami and Booktrack as well as Core Education and Network for Learning. Representatives of the Manaiakalani Trust delivered a Visible Learning session on the programme. 

The NZTech-led group also attended a breakfast session on the role of schools and edtech companies in professional learning. The group reconnected there with Karen Billings, Vice President of the Education Technology Industry Network (ETIN) of the Software Information and Industry Association (SIIA) who was a speaker at ENZ’s first edtech for export (‘et4e’) conference. 

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