A Midsummer's Day Conference Recap

School may be out for the summer, but here at Turnitin, the learning is hardly on vacation. We make a point to take advantage of this season of conferences because it affords us ample opportunities to interact with and learn from all of you. So far, ISTE and ERDI have already come and gone, but we’re still steeped in the positive energy from both events. Here’s a recap of the greatest learnings, surprises, and what’s coming next.


At ISTE, two wonderful educators, Natashia Hill and Sarah Cruz, hosted rapid-fire lightning sessions at our booth. After they imparted great truths to fellow attendees, listened to panels, and explored the convention floor, we snagged them for a quick conference debrief. A couple of key takeaways emerged:

  • The sheer magnitude of edtech: this year, over 20,000 educators and exhibitors attended ISTE. But the numbers are hardly the most impressive part of the event. Sarah was struck not simply by the number of people invested in educational technology, but the creative ways they leverage these tools to propel students forward.
  • A gathering of kindred spirits: As Natashia has observed, sometimes being an early adopter of the latest edtech tools can feel like a solitary pursuit. But at ISTE, the early adopters reign supreme. Bringing together like-minded educators creates palpable synergies, and those edtech islands suddenly feel much more populated.
  • Writing instruction matters: From facilitating formative and summative feedback to finding sustainable ways to measure student achievement, educators are interested in rethinking writing instruction. Revision Assistant, a formative writing tool that gives students immediate, actionable feedback on all aspects of their writing, emerged as a potential solution at both the classroom and system-wide level.


This July, Turnitin had the privilege of attending the Education Research and Develop Institute’s summer conferences. We interfaced with educational leaders from all over the country who provided valuable insights about our offerings. The conversations that we had about the importance of high-quality writing instruction were particularly meaningful. Here are a few tidbits that resonated with the team.

  • Students get better at writing by writing: Larry Spring, Superintendent of Schenectady City School District, likens learning to write to learning to run: “It gets easier that more that you do it. We wouldn’t teach students to run by having them watch videos of people running, so we shouldn’t teach students to write by simply showing them examples. They need to practice to improve.”
  • Writing is a differentiator for success: Aaron SpenceVirginia Beach City Public Schools Superintendent, remarked that every successful person he knows is a great writer. He sees writing as an essential skill for long-term achievement.  
  • Writing is everything: We couldn’t agree more with Ehren Jarrett, Superintendent of Rockford Public Schools, who shared his conviction that writing plays a part in everything that students do.

What’s Next:

We are continuing to take this show on the road throughout July. Catch up with us at the following conferences. We hope to see you there!