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ISTE 2014 – Expo Hall

June 30, 2014

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These are my notes from the various sessions and conversations and activities at the ISTE 2014 conference in Atlanta

The Expo Hall is absolutely massive! When you are the largest Ed Tech show in North America, if not the planet, you end up with piles of exhibitors! In fact there were over 5,000 people just representing vendors and exhibitors, not counted in the attendee registration!

The Expo Hall is open for three days – Sunday – Tuesday, and you could literally spend your entire time on the floor, taking seminars, talking to people and learning, learning, learning. It would be time well-spent!

Unfortunately I was only able to put a couple of hours into the Expo Floor (too many other sessions and appointments), but here are a couple of the things I saw, and groups I talked to.

So it did surprise me how different the techniques were of the folks manning the booths. Some went out of their way to give you some swag, and scan your badge, and not tell you anything about their products. Some didn’t talk to you AT ALL unless you initiated the conversation. Some had to be prodded big time to tell us anything about their company – it felt weird convincing them to tell us something! And of course there were the outgoing folks who met you, and were eager, outgoing, and very talkative! There were even some who seemed upset that they had to chat with us – strange indeed!

Promethean
Holy Honkin’ booths Batman! The Promethean booth was massive! There was a classroom, walls, and walls of products, a second presentation side, an UPSTAIRS! Yes it was two floors! And a private presentation room.

They had pre-release versions of the new Promethean Wall -> Wow! It was fantastic! All the electronics are in the projector (as are others), but this is like twice as wide as the 587 Pro, at least! And it can double as a white board, and and and…. Incredible product!

They also had their full blown touch board with ultra short throw projector – incredible price, but looked almost old fashioned next to the Wall product.

They were constantly demonstrating ClassFlow, which is a revolutionary product allowing teachers to engage student on WHATEVER device they happen to have with them! And it’s free! Amazing! I was so impressed. (Which is saying a lot, as I used to be a customer of another interactive whiteboard company) Promethean is definitely on their “A” game and is leading the pack!

Axis
Was hoping to talk to the Axis person, stopped by the booth, but no one was home. Axis makes the best IP network cameras used for video recording/surveillance. Fantastic products, too bad there was no one to talk too. But I got a free pen!

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Ruckus Wireless
I think Ruckus makes the best wireless AP’s and system on the planet, certainly far superior than the stuff being used in the Keynote sessions. (I’m not going to mention the name of that company). Had a chance to chat with GT about some of the AP’s they are shipping and help with a particular situation I’m working on. They of course had some of the Ruckus dogs around hanging out.

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WandooPlanet.com
Hmmm. Very interesting. This project is designed to help students learn to enjoy reading. (Being a reading kind of guy, anything like this is intriguing to me). So the jist of this is that kids will go to the site, put some of the books they like in, and through various activities, other books will be recommended to them that they may like to read, based on the books they’ve read. Over time the system is supposed to get very good at suggesting books you’ll like, and you learn about various other topics at the same time. I’m going to take a deeper look into this over the Summer.

jigsaw meeting
So I wasn’t sure about this product, but the team was very good and helpful at explaining it to me. It appears to be a type of online meeting place where teachers and/or students can meet to provide instruction, as well as record sessions for later use. It’s not meant to replace an LMS, rather to augment it. Will have to look into it a little more closely.

littleBits
This stuff is genius! They’ve taken electronics, and turned it into something that you can build and prototype, removing all the crazy wiring, soldering, and unsoldering and permanent mess stuff. Each part is colour coded, and magnetically attach to other parts! So you can try all kinds of things, and just plug it in! They have tonnes of components and can make an amazing array of projects, they suggest thousands! For an electronics interest, this takes the cake! Awesome product, can’t wait to try one!

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Squirrels
Wasn’t going to stop here, but was intrigued by the signage – just said Squirrels. Ended up having a great conversation with one of the reps. They make AirParrot and other software to put your iOS device screen on your projector/computer, computer to AppleTV and more. I indicated that we are using a competitive product and he reminded me that this competitor actually licenses the software from them, so in essence we are a Squirrels customer. Interesting. We’ll have to see where it goes!

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PowerTower
Okay, so this was just cool. They make a “tower” storage system for your iPad, or Chromebook, or whatever you might have, in whatever colours, and whatever numbers you want. This free standing storage system attaches to the wall just so it won’t tip over, but the weight is held by the base. What’s cool is everything is out in the open, with a bit of a shield/door that locks in place so you can’t remove anything. Very neat and tidy, and easy for a teacher to see what is in and what is not. The only downside is they aren’t as portable as a cart would be, but you don’t worry about it being plugged in! Very nice. And pretty inexpensive compared to a cart.

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Drexel University School of Education
There were a number of post-secondary institutions represented, but this one surprised me. They offer a Masters Program which is 100% online AND an Ed. D. that is also 100% online. Talked to the rep for a moment, and will look into it further. Although I already have a Masters Degree, this might be a good opportunity for other ATLE members looking to further their education WHILE they are working full time. And though I’m not looking for another project right now, an Ed. D. could be interesting in the future.
drexel.edu/soe

So that’s it for me and the Expo Hall, would’ve been nice to have another couple of hours, as I think I saw barely 5% of displays!

Thanks to all the Exhibitors that participated and made it fantastic!

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From → ATLE, GHSD

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