4 Lessons from the 2014 NSTA National Conference

When more than 10,000 science educators descended on Boston this spring, Boundless was there to welcome them! My colleague Gemma and I recently attended the 2014 National Science Teacher Association Conference to meet high school chemistry teachers, college biology professors, district leaders, curriculum developers, and even a few penguins!

Though the penguins were cute, they weren’t even the most memorable part of the conference. Here are my key takeaways from the 2014 NSTA National Conference:

Lesson 1: Educators are looking for digital alternatives

It didn’t take long for us to realize how many educators are searching for digital tools and content to use in their classrooms. With the rise in blended learning, flipped classrooms, 1:1 programs, and available online materials, many educators are searching for digital solutions. We spoke with both high school and college science educators looking for online alternatives to their current textbooks. Many wanted to supplement the resources they already use, while others wanted a completely digital platform.

Lesson 2: Multimedia tools are taking over classrooms!

The NSTA exhibition hall was filled new multimedia tools for educators and their classrooms. ExoLabs develops cameras that attach to microscopes and can take photos or videos from an iPad (check out John Mead’s microsafari videos to see just how amazing they are!). HHMI’s BioInteractive creates free animations for teachers and students to demonstrate the inner workings of biological processes. As Boundless develops our teaching platform, we plan to integrate multimedia tools right into our textbooks.

Lesson 3: Creating your own content isn’t easy

We spoke with many educators who were writing their own course materials because they were dissatisfied with available textbooks because of the existing content, antiquated structure, or the costs for their students. Even when college professors curated their own courses, delivering the material to their students posed another problem.

At Boundless, we empower educators to create the flexible, customized content they want. Many of the people we met at NSTA were excited to hear about our new cloud-powered teaching resources for educators. With our customization and assignment tools, educators can now easily find and manage course materials. Whether you’ve decided to flip your classroom or just supplement it with digital resources, Boundless can provide an affordable, flexible solution for your students.

Lesson 4: Where there is guacamole, there are educators

We ended our NSTA adventure with a fantastic margarita meetup at Rosa Mexicano. We swapped stories with dozens of educators and learned about their teaching experiences over guacamole. It was amazing to hear the innovative ways that educators are using Boundless!

We’re already looking forward to NSTA 2015!