Events  |  

Takeaways from This Year’s ISTE Conference

Jul 5, 2018

The Wonder Workshop team has just returned from an eventful week at the 2018 ISTE conference. More energized than ever to support teachers in integrating coding and robotics into their everyday teaching, the team has plenty of stories to share, and the office is buzzing with renewed excitement that comes with putting Dash, Dot, and Cue robots into the hands of teachers and watching how they interact with them.

2018 ISTE Conference in Chicago

In our booth, the team was excited to feature our DASHketball Challenge, a fun and engaging way to introduce the fundamentals of coding and robotics; and Sketch Kit, our harness and marker set that enables Dash and Cue to transform code into works of art. You may also have heard about our solution for middle school, which includes: Cue the robot, the Cue for Education appSketch Pack, our new Applied Robotics Curriculum for Cue, and our Teach Wonder Professional Learning Program — it’s everything you need to take coding to the next level as middle school students advance in their coding skills and computer science knowledge.

But beyond showing off all that we’re proud to offer teachers, our team was most excited to connect with educators from different parts of the country, in different kinds of districts. We were eager to hear what gets their students most excited, and what their needs are as they continue to build out their approaches to using coding and robotics as a teaching tool.

What were the key takeaways for our team? Here a few!

Charlotte Cheng, Curriculum Content Manager

Charlotte Cheng in the Wonder Workshop Booth at ISTE

As the lead developer of our curriculum content here at Wonder Workshop, it was an exciting experience to meet the teachers that use our products in the classroom. They were eager to share their ideas, ready to give insightful feedback, and excited to hear about our latest products. I was also glad to hear how our in-depth curriculum and scope and sequence helped students get started quickly with our robots, and how these curriculum stories allowed teachers to better present STEAM budget proposals to their districts.

For example, Ann Marie Mancini from Connecticut has visited us at conferences for the past two years. The first time we met, she only had two Dash robots for her entire school district. She has slowly grown her robot family to nine Dashes, and often just stops by to give a hug and check out the latest Wonder Workshop news. She is now using our products and curriculum to develop a grant proposal so that STEAM can be integrated across the schools!

Above all, ISTE is a great place to share our gratitude to the many educators that contribute to our future one student at a time. We also get a chance to connect with colleagues and geek out about edtech in a way that muggles couldn’t understand. I left the conference with a pocket full of stickers and a mind full of ideas on how we can improve our students’ learning experiences in the classroom and beyond, in innovative ways!

Jeff Mao, Sr. Strategic Outreach Manager

I had a great time meeting educators who were curious about what Wonder Workshop offers and hadn’t heard of our products before. Even better, was to meet those who know and use our solutions and who wanted to share what they are doing.

One pair, Rosie Herold and Melissa Negreiros from the Philip Simmons Elementary school in South Carolina, were excited to show me their website where they showcase what their students are doing with Dash and other robots as part of their STEAM Instructional Program. Earlier in the day, they had done a session at the conference that included their use of Dash with their students. Meeting excited and passionate educators like Rosie and Melissa sure recharges the batteries!

Bryan Miller, Director of Strategic Education Outreach

Our very own @EdTechNerd, Bryan L. Miller,was on hand both as a session presenter and as one of our booth hosts:

ISTE, being one of the largest educational technology conferences, is, for many educators, the culmination of a year of hard work in the classroom, and an opportunity to step back, take learning into their own hands, connect with fellow educators, and meet their favorite edtech companies. It is always exciting for Wonder Workshop to be there, talking with our heroes in the classroom, and celebrating them. We enjoy the many incredible conversations, sharing what’s in the pipeline for the next school year, and gaining insight from our daily, real-life product testers and users.

Teach Wonder Day was a highlight for us this year — a day filled with excitement and celebration. We were proud to offer our Teach Wonder Professional Development Program at incredible pricing for the day, to make it easy and affordable for teachers to gain the professional development they not only need but crave, and know they’ll be able to put into practice our hardware and software with students next year. At the breakfast buffet that lasted the first half of the day, teachers were welcomed with a surprise assortment of food that could easily cure any conference goer’s hunger, and we were thrilled to be able to take time to connect and listen to stories from the field.

We always get a lot out of attending ISTE, but it is the educators who stop by and tell us their stories, who make the difference. On the Wonder Workshop team, we are all former educators, and it fills our hearts with drive and passion to make the 2018–2019 the best year yet when we learn about the impact our products have directly on teachers and students. Hope to see you next time!

Hetav Sanghavi, Sr. Director of Education Channels and Business Development

Hetav Sanghavi demos Cue for Education in the Microsoft Booth

As Sr. Director of Education Sales and Business Development, I had the opportunity to spend time with one of our key partners, Microsoft.

In the Microsoft booth, teachers were very impressed by how seamlessly they could control and code our robot for middle school students, Cue, using Windows Surface tablets. They were happy about the alignment of our vision with Microsoft’s vision of providing students with the cutting-edge tools and technology to inspire them to be creators of tomorrow. The integration of Microsoft MakeCode into our Cue for Education app was very appealing to teachers because they saw the potential for deep learning made possible by toggling back and forth between block-based code and text-based code (JavaScript).

We got a chance to meet Microsoft’s dedicated customers, and they got to see Microsoft partnering with innovative companies pushing the imagination and creativity of students, while still delivering engaging curriculum and content for teachers. Several of them said they will use their grants to procure Wonder Workshop products, especially those that were Microsoft schools. We are excited to partner with these school communities!

Carrie Willis, Technology Director and Teacher, Valley Preparatory School, Redlands, CA.

Working alongside the Wonder Workshop team at ISTE allowed me to connect with educators from all over the globe. From sitting at the genius bar, sharing with teachers how I use Dash, Dot, and Cue robots in my classroom, to helping a teacher code for the very first time while playing Dashketball, the experience was both fulfilling as an educator and inspiring as a mentor. I was able to share my knowledge and passion for coding and robotics in the classroom, as well make new connections with educators looking for a mentor or a resource to get started with robotics in their own classroom. Hope to see you next time!