ISTE 2017: Hot topics and cool technology that makes a difference

By Anu Jokinen, Math Enthusiast

An introduction

The world’s largest edtech conference—hosted by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)—brought more than 20,000 educators to San Antonio, Texas last week.

An amazing array of topics included the paper-to-digital shift in today’s classroom, using data to enrich teaching and learning, and closing the gender gap in technology. In addition, homework, desks, bullying, and helping students find their voice were topics of discussion.

We heard from keynote speaker Jad Abumrad, host and creator of public radio’s Radiolab, who brought Radiolab to life as he shared insights on taking risks, embracing and learning from failure, and persevering to achieve even your loftiest goals. He reminded educators that the journey students take during the educational process is as important as the end goal. We also heard from Jennie Magiera, chief information officer at Des Plaines Public Schools and author of Courageous Edventures, who shared the “Untold Story of Limitless Potential” and spoke of teachers as wizards who show their magic every day.

“We need to teach bravery—not perfection”

The conference came to a close with an inspiring keynote speech from the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani. Her non-profit organization started with a mission to help close the gender gap in technology by teaching girls how to code through after-school and summer immersion programs. In her presentation, she reminded us that many “innovations will be left on the sidelines” if we do not teach our girls to code. Innovation, however, does require making mistakes. She challenged educators to help change the culture in their schools and communities by encouraging female students to embrace risk and rejection. Just imagine the types of real-world problems that can be solved when we help our girls focus on showing progress rather than perfection.

Unveiling Renaissance Flow 360

ISTE was especially meaningful for us this year as we unveiled Renaissance Flow 360®.

Renaissance Flow 360 helps educators bridge the gap from assessment and planning to instruction and practice, reducing the time spent grading assignments, collecting data, searching for instructional resources, and creating lesson plans. Fundamental to the program is the Renaissance Growth Alliance, a collaboration that brings together in-class instruction with Renaissance’s assessment and learning analytics to facilitate a seamless personalized learning journey for all students. In addition, Renaissance Flow 360 and Renaissance-U® were recognized as ISTE 2017 Best of Show winners!

Becoming lifelong learners—a music video

And who doesn’t love kids singing in a rap video? Get students excited about learning in the digital age with the ISTE Standards for Students Music Video which teaches students seven ways they can be lifelong learners in this century. Students will love this fun and creative rap produced by Flocabulary, so keep it handy for the next school year!

We’re already looking forward to ISTE 2018, June 24–27 in Chicago, Illinois! If you were able to attend ISTE this year, what were your key takeaways? If you weren’t able to make it, what are some of the insights that you have about education and technology? Let us know in the comments below, post on our Facebook, or tweet us at @RenLearnUS!

Want to learn more about Renaissance Flow 360? See how it can help you create and nurture student growth in your classroom.

Anu Jokinen, Math Enthusiast
Anu Jokinen, Math Enthusiast
Anu has always been passionate about helping students reach their potential in math—first as an Algebra I tutor for peers during high school and then later as the Director of Education at Sylvan Learning Center. In addition to her work at Renaissance, she has worked with nonprofit organizations to improve the learning environments of students in need.


  1. Andrea says:

    Yes, teaching students to share their thinking, respectfully, and know it’s ok to not be perfect. That’s part of learning.

  2. Lloyd Goldberg says:

    I can’t wait to dig into these tech options!

  3. Katherine Williams says:

    I was not able to attend but would love to attend in the future.

  4. Dvawn Maza says:

    It sounds like it was an informing conference.

  5. janice raby neely says:

    What amazing and informational technology strategies!

  6. Renee Graham says:

    Progress, NOT perfection! Can we all just tattoo that on our foreheads?! Students should NOT fear mistakes!!!

  7. Angela says:

    Seems to offer great insight in the use of technology in the classroom.

  8. Angela Domond says:

    Inspirational! I’m going to add coding apps to our iPads this year!

    • Anu Jokinen, Math Enthusiast Anu Jokinen, Senior Product Marketing Manager says:

      Awesome, Angela! What coding apps will your students use?

  9. P R says:

    Technology is coming faster than we know. The MAJOR thing that educators need to do is to make sure that technology is chosen to aid in instruction that will benefit student academic growth as well as keep students’ interest and motivation flowing.

  10. Jody Steinhaus says:

    Great info and insight for a seamless transition to implementing tech. It would be awesome to attend ISTE Chicago 2018!

  11. Jason says:

    Collaboration is now a global component to education and not just a teacher to teacher thing within a school. Technology has now bridged the gap so that educators can collaborate worldwide.

  12. Carly says:

    I was so fortunate to get to attend ITSE when it was held in D.C. I look forward to being able to attend sometime again. There’s so much to learn. What a great experience.

    • Anu Jokinen, Math Enthusiast Anu Jokinen, Senior Product Marketing Manager says:

      We love attending each year and couldn’t agree more. Thank you for sharing, Carly!

  13. Carly says:

    Love this: “She challenged educators to help change the culture in their schools and communities by encouraging female students to embrace risk and rejection.” The best part of ITSE is experiencing the latest technology and programs that help our students succeed.

  14. Melissa Robles says:

    Wasn’t able to attend this year but hope to attend in the future.

  15. Rita Platt says:


  16. David Keech says:

    I would love to attend next year in Chicago. I am hoping Renaissance keeps Royals updated with registration dates, info, etc.

    • Anu Jokinen, Math Enthusiast Anu Jokinen, Senior Product Marketing Manager says:

      Great idea, David. We’ll make a note to do this next year.

  17. Kimberly Bell says:

    Wonderful suggestions for those of us who couldn’t attend this year. Can’t wait to implement them!

  18. Brittany Downs says:

    I think technology can really enhance education. I have heard wonderful things about these conferences, and hope to go to one someday.

  19. Deana Sain says:

    I wish I could have been there! To FAIL is your First Attempt At Leaning – we use this acronym at our school

  20. Laura says:

    Didn’t make it this year but I heard it was very informative. Colleagues that went will share what they learned.

  21. Mary says:

    Wish I could have gone!

  22. Ami K. Edwards says:

    I was not able to come. Sounds like it was successful!

  23. Heidi says:

    Great ideas. Would love to attend someday.