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Policy and iPads: a few ISTE10 impressions

The conference formerly known as NECC for 2010 is over. Most of us are home or getting there (as we know from our colleagues' tweets). Before everything fades, I'd best get a few thoughts down...

iPads. Good grief. I know Apple has sold two million of the things, but I didn't realize half of them would be in the hot little hands of ISTE attendees. I don't remember ever seeing such a rapid adoption of a technology before. On a five member panel last Saturday, each of us had our little devices propped up in front of us. (OK, that sounds wrong.)

Mine is still a love-hate relationship. I finally remembered that I had 3G connectivity that allowed me to connect when wi-fi was busy/slow, but the thing is still not a presentation device so I still wound up shlepping two devices (and accessories) on the days I presented. I am getting better at keyboarding, learning a few little tricks for finding punctuation easily, but everything still seems clunky. I am in awe of David Warlick's adoption of his iPad!

It's nice to know that we can all preach and pontificate about educational strategy, yada, yada, yada, but deep in our hearts we all know it's really all about the toys.

Policy, policy, policy. I heard less about funding and more about restrictive policies being a barrier to technology use in schools this year. Scott McLeod at the Leadership Bootcamp gave us "what for" about over filtering being a detriment to student learning. A great panel on Wednesday afternoon that included my hero, Anne Collier, spoke to the intelligent development of Digital Citizenship that stresses critical thinking, not control, to create students who are safe.

A question that needs exploring is what the conscientious educator does when personal values conflict with organizational/governmental rules. Ignore them? Pervert them? Subvert them? Just whine? Practice what Cheryl Lempke called "positive deviation?" Dangerous ground for those who want/need a pension...

PLNs. Developing networks of supportive, challenging colleagues was a stressed in about every session I attended. Have we simply given up on our schools providing meaningful learning experiences for progressive educators? A related question that came up in my session was "How do we get people to read those who disagree with them?" I, as usual, stuttered without a good suggestion. Ideas?

Information jungle - qualitative filterers needed. More so than at any conference, I felt hammered by the torrent of new resources, new tools, new voices. The SIGMS Smackdown was both awesome and unnerving. I hope librarians (who sponsored the event) ramp up our efforts to become not just locators of new resources, but evaluators. What if the librarian "introduced" every new book published to his/her staff and students when it became available? Nooooo! We need to make evalution and selection of technological resources a bigger part of our jobs.

In my notes, but no source: Why is WD40 named WD40? 'cause the first 39 WDs didn't work.

Mobile devices: Soloway and others made a compelling case for smartphone-type devices being the educational platform of the future. He describes three types of devices: laptops, "carry alongs" (netbooks, pads) and mobile devices (no mention of desktops and labs) and asks, "Which one are you never without?" While I can personally relate to the larger screens being an asset to my learning, I am still struggling with getting much more than reading/listening/viewing done on the itty bitty screens. And for the phone that is not an iPhone or Android, there is a genuine "app gap" that needs addressing.

Twitter and GoogleApps were the software stars of the sessions, of course. Amazing to see the the lines form for very basic GoogleApps introductions. I went to one hoping to learn cool tricks to do with Forms, but got depressed as the presenter talked about how determine a spreadsheet's cell coordinates. And Visicalc came out when??? Didn't hurt, I suppose, that Google announced Iowa and Colorado both made state-wide adoptions of Apps during the conference.

Leslie Fisher in her Twitter session said she divides her tweets into 1/3 resources, 1/3 humor and 1/3 personal. Sounds like good advice. Yes, I am Twittering again. blueskunkblog if you want to follow, but don't get your hopes up too high.

Are we all becoming ADD? A good deal of criticism surrounded Sunday night's keynote by Jean-François Rischard. OK, his slides were text heavy and his presentation style was formal, but did people actually listen to the important message? I was a little embarassed by the junior-high style antics at the Bloggers Cafe and snarky posts following. Have we finally become a society that will only pay attention to speakers who only use pretty pictures, jump and emote, and do it all in less than 18 minutes? Sigh...

Be a leader and make the print program optional, please ISTE. 'nough said.

ISTE has become my annual "sugar-rush" of a conference. It's a high dose of information, ideas and contacts - and I love it like I love eating a candy bar when bicycling. Not real sure how "good" it is for me, but there it is.

More than anything this year, I would have enjoyed just sitting down for an hour or so with some people whose ideas I respect to just visit. (I missed EdubloggerCon.) Didn't happen as much as it has in the past and I am sure it is my fault. But I miss it.

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Reader Comments (7)

Aww so you missed me too! (and I quote: "More than anything this year, I would have enjoyed just sitting down for an hour or so with some people whose ideas I respect to just visit.") Just kidding! Tickled to hear you are back in the twitter saddle for a while.

And my diagnosis for the iPad problem: ADDOSS. You'll have to read my ALA Mind Dump to see what it is and how to cure it.

GREAT post as always.

July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCathy Nelson

A couple thoughts:

My personal phllosophy: It's easier to ask forgiveness than ask permision. Of course, you have to be careful about when you choose to follow that philosophy!

How do we get people to read those who disagree with them? That is THE question these days, politically, professionally, personally. The internet has made it far easier to break into factions and enter a personal echo chamber reflecting only viewpoints one wants to hear. I struggle with that myself; lots of people don't even struggle. Educationally speaking, the only antidote I've found is to lead by example, work with teachers who are willing to change and let their success be the carrot. Arguing isn't really going to convince anybody, of course. Just makes people dig in their heels.


July 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJeri Hurd

I too felt the same way you did regarding the Keynote. While I share in the frustration expressed by the majority of those in the Blogger's Cafe I am a little upset I wasn't able to even hear what he was saying over the roar of disdain. When I got home I thought it would be a good idea to ask my "PLN" to help me craft a new slide deck for the talk and publish it synced to the official keynote. This would have forced us to get beyond his slides and focus on the content but I still have not found it on ISTEVision and it sounds like he wouldn't allow recording of the event of any kind.

I am also surprised I didn't see Wallwisher or Poll Everywehre on your list of prominently showcased tools. Nearly every presentation I attended used at least one of these two tools to engage their audience.

It was nice talking to you in Denver. I'm sure we will run into each other again between now and the TIES Conference in December. Until then, safe travels!

July 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarl Anderson

ISTE was a better experience for me this year because I took the time to come into the conference with a plan of what I wanted to learn, who I wanted to meet, and how I wanted to connect with people. As a result, it was far more professionally and personally satisfying. This is a great model for me to follow at future learning conferences. I'm sure it will be beneficial for others as well. A little time investment prior to a conference such as ISTE provides an impressive payoff.

July 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave Black

Hi Cathy Jo,

Yes, you were definitely missed! Hope you come back next year to your "tribe."

Send me the link for your ADDOSS solution!


Hi Jeri,

The term "ego-casting" has been around for a while - setting up news feeds so that one only receives what news and opinion one wants to see!

Personally, I find that David Brooks and George Will are very informative and worth reading even if I don't usually agree with what they say. I am growing increasingly leery of overly partisan writings of both the left and the right. Give me common sense, for a change!

Very tough to change the mind of someone when the issue has more to do with values than facts!


Hi Carl,

Good seeing you as well. I hope your family enjoyed the trip.

I did see Wallwisher used. I guess I will need to figure out how to incorporate it myself. Seems like just a fancy way of asking people to raise their hands in someways though!

See you in MSP in Dec.


July 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Hey Doug-

I was able to go to your session at ISTE, "Change from the Radical Center of Education" and all I could think was "That's me in 20 years." I just found it so interesting to hear someone with the same kind of presentation style, ideas, and centrist/tolerant approach that I feel blessed to have been a part of my life. I mean, obviously with your rugged good looks and seasoned frosting of the hair I and my wife can only hope I age as well...but you get the drift.

Keep fighting the and fight instead of the or and I'll be right there with ya on my end! It was great to hear your ideas!

-Steve Johnson

July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Johnson

Hi Steve,

Are you sure you were in the right session? I only look about 30, 35 tops ;-)

Anyway, thanks much for the kind words. I always have a good time doing these sorts of things and it's always nice to know others have enjoyed them as well.

All the best,


July 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

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