Exploring the Intersection of Edtech and Climate Action Education: A Memorable Experience at ISTE Live in Philadelphia

By Lindsay Zilly, Take Action Global Senior Program Strategist and edtech educator

Exploring the Intersection of Edtech and Climate Action Education: A Memorable Experience at ISTE Live in Philadelphia

In the lively city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, known for its cheesesteaks and enthusiastic sports fans, the annual ISTE Live Conference turned the spotlight on educators, tech enthusiasts, and even a few climate-conscious folks from all corners of the globe. Amidst this whirlwind of passionate attendees, I readied myself to embark on an adventure of epic proportions – armed with a backpack full of enthusiasm, my trusty water bottle, and a thirst for knowledge. (More water stations please!)

Warm Welcome and New Connections

Upon arriving at the conference, I immediately felt the infectious energy that filled the venue. The anticipation of the upcoming sessions and the eagerness to learn were palpable. As I finished getting my badge from the registration area, which by the way couldn’t have been easier, I could overhear conversations of fellow educators, all eager to share their experiences and ideas. These interactions not only enrich our network but also inspire us to explore fresh perspectives on teaching and learning.

Climate Education: A Burning Passion

One of the highlights of the conference was seeing the wide range of sessions anchored in climate work and, more specifically, the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As a passionate advocate for environmental sustainability, I was delighted to see the emphasis placed on this critical topic. I was able to connect with experts in the field–educators doing climate work who shared innovative teaching approaches, resources, and tools that helped integrate climate education into their curriculum. I couldn’t help but feel a renewed sense of purpose, and I left the sessions and playgrounds brimming with ideas to empower learners to become more environmentally responsible global citizens.

Reconnecting with Old Friends

The conference, while an amazing opportunity for some continuing education, also serves as a reunion for many. It is an opportunity to meet old friends and colleagues you haven’t seen in years or perhaps have only met online. This time around at ISTE Live, we were able to share stories of our teaching journeys, exchange advice, and reminisce about our shared experiences from ISTE conferences of the past. Rekindling these connections reaffirmed my belief in the power of a supportive professional network and reminded me of the collective mission to transform education through innovation.

Exploring the Expo Hall: AI is everywhere

The expo hall, as usual, was a bustling hub of innovation, with various exhibitors showcasing the latest advancements in educational technology. This year’s big focus: Artificial Intelligence. For TAG, we subscribe to a different AI than the one popping up all over ISTE this year. Our AI is Appreciative Inquiry. It is our approach to learning — for students, for teachers, for ourselves which centers on inquiry and empathy. With a global community of learners, we recognize that each person, each location, and each experience offers something special and unique. Thus, we prescribe to Appreciative Inquiry. Nonetheless, we were delighted to see the common theme of social impact and empathy being adopted by a vast number of vendors and organizations in the Expo Hall. The expo hall served as a catalyst for curiosity, and I even discovered new resources and technologies that could enhance my teaching practices such as:

  • Figma: Is there a cuter name than Fig Jam? No, no there is not. This online tool supports both creativity and organization. And, they had the best swag, IMO!
  • Samsung: Yes, their tools are amazing, but the fact that they’ve adopted the SDGs into both their content and their hardware, puts this organization at the top of my list!  
  • Book Creator: Have you seen the new graphic organizers? Just when you thought Book Creator couldn’t get any better, they go ahead and add customizable organizer templates to their already stellar dashboard of tools!

Call To Action

Attending ISTE Live in Philadelphia was a pretty unforgettable experience. The conference not only connected me with educators with similar passions for climate education but also allowed me to connect with educators I had only ever met online. From forging new connections to rediscovering old ones, I realized the significance of collaboration in shaping the future of education. The expo hall provided me with a glimpse into the exciting possibilities that technology offers, while sessions on edtech and the SDGs equipped me with the knowledge to navigate this ever-evolving landscape.

Leaving Philadelphia, I felt inspired, empowered, and ready to bring newfound knowledge and ideas back to the work we are doing at Take Action Global. So if you attended ISTE Live in person, virtually, or simply lived vicariously through someone who did, I encourage you to: 

  1. Be Curious. Do something with the information you learned right away, because if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. 
  2. Co-Create. Work with someone on something. Reignite your passion for teaching and bring in a fresh perspective
  3. Plug In. Find your “thing” and learn from experienced practitioners by joining the network, signing up for the newsletter or simply following the hashtag.

I hope your ISTE experience was one for the record books this time around; mine sure was. And remember, together, educators can create a brighter, more sustainable future for generations to come.


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