EdTech Companies Showcase New Products, Features, and More at ISTE 2016

We recently returned from ISTE 2016 in Denver, where K-12 edtech companies from around the globe showcased their new products, features, and partnerships. While in Denver, we spoke to a number of companies about their most recent developments and innovations.

Below are interviews with just a few of the companies we spoke to at ISTE 2016. Read and listen on to learn about what to expect in the future of edtech.


PowerSchool
We sat down with Hardeep Gulati, CEO of PowerSchool, to discuss how the student management system is streamlining communication and engagement between students, parents, and teachers with the new PowerSchool app.

Gulati opens up about how PowerSchool is collaborating with teachers to develop the PowerTeacher gradebook, and working on a system that allows teachers full access to student information. With the focus on individualized learning and unifying classrooms, PowerSchool plans to work with it’s 100+ partners to make an open system and strong visual content. Gulati also elaborates on the PowerSchool app, which now allows students to work on weaknesses, or develop advanced skills without falling out of sync with the class.


IXL
Managing an entire elementary classroom just got a whole lot easier. Jennifer Gu, COO of IXL, discusses the new facets of IXL, including a piece of teacher-friendly data analysis software that tracks students in real-time.

IXL is a company that delivers an immersive learning experience for students in K-12, with a particular focus on what teachers care about most: content and curriculum. Gu outlines the company’s goals of creating “appropriate challenges” for students that keep them engaged and excited to learn. With that in mind, IXL is now developing a Spanish curriculum that features new interactive tools and activities.


Pearson
Pearson Education announced their partnership with Google to create what Mark Christian, Director of Learning and Innovation at Pearson, describes as “the next thing in 360.” The 360 tool gives students a virtual tours, such as museums, allowing them to use voice commands to learn more about specific artifacts along the way.

The new equipment is expected to transition 360 technology beyond the “wow factor” and into a more sustainable, approachable classroom tool. The goal is for students to be fully immersed in a Pearson/Google app with or without a headset on a PC, phone, or tablet. Christian also outlines the future of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and “The Tool.”


SMART
Software that works anytime, anywhere. That’s what Neil Gaydon, CEO of SMART Technologies, envisions for the future of SMART.

Gaydon’s goals may finally manifest after SMART is fully acquired by Foxcon, the largest tech manufacturer in the world. The deal, which is expected to close in the fall, marks a new wave of SMART hardware and software that works with natural human instinct. Gaydon promises a certain level of fluidity and simplicity to the new tools. The amount of options for SMART are, “incalculable,” according to Gaydon.


Amazon
A service for teachers, by teachers. That’s the goal of Amazon Inspire, a tool for teachers to share and rate digital media for the classroom. Rohit Agarwal, general manager of Amazon Education, and Pranav Midha, Amazon Inspire’s head of product, walked us through a demo of their new online tool on the day it launched. Listen to the full interview about the launch of Amazon Inspire below.

Gretchen Kuhsel

Gretchen Kuhsel

Gretchen Kuhsel is a junior journalism student at Emerson College, where she is the assistant lifestyle editor at The Berkeley Beacon. Her work has also been published in various campus magazines and The Connecticut Post. When she’s not writing, she’s spending far too much time online shopping or balancing upside down on her yoga mat.