ISTE 2010 Opening Thoughts
I am currently in Denver attending the 2010 ISTE conference. This is my first time at the conference and so far it has been a fantastic experience.
Denver itself (with the exception of my hotel, unfortunately!) is the perfect city for this kind of event. A short walk and you can get to wherever you want to go. Even with the access to amenities we have here, I still managed to have both lunch and dinner in the same place (got to love those “chili’s” ribs!).
The opening address this afternoon by Mario Armstrong was full of energy and set the stage perfectly for the days ahead. Mario depicted the four major obstacles to the use of technology as mythical beasts in a Scrooge-type dream sequence. The four beasts, “The Locked Net Monster”, “The Dollar and Cent-aur”, “The Mediogre” and “The Abominable Noman” need little in the way of further explantation. Mario framed the modern equipment available to these (in the form of exciting give-aways), and gave the message that perserverance and a willingness to overcome obstacles are key factors when making any attempt to be innovative.
When reflecting on the state of innovation in my district, I feel good that sufficient funds are being allocated to new technologies and that a network of support and guidance has been established to help teachers with these innovations. The next frontier for us has to be spreading the word. As we were reminded in the subsequent presidential address (not Obama!), the ISTE mission is to advance teaching and learning through innovative and effective uses of technology. Being able to see what this looks like is a big step for educators, and then being supported in doing it themselves another challenge.