I have been attending ISTE and it's pre-sessions since Saturday. Over that time I have attended edubloggercon, the Constructivist Consortium, the opening events, and a day worth of ISTE10. Over the past couple of days I have begun to see some common themes developing in the conference based on by interactions (probably influenced by my experiences heading into the conference as well). Here are the top themes I have noticed so far:
1. It has been a rough year: between budget cuts, leadership challenges, and the increasing responsibilities associated with technology in schools everyone was mentally exhausted heading into the conference. Excitement about changing practices and adding resources to schools has been tempered by budget concerns.
2. We are have some pretty big decisions looming on how we are going to handle an influx of personal mobile computing devices into our society. With the ipad, new iphone, android devices in both phone and tablet forms arriving, and the continue growth of the popularity of netbooks there are a lot more discussions of how we are going to respond to this trend as schools. These conversations center around network infrastructure, policy, instructional strategies, and preparing teachers for this change.
3. Digital Divide - the changes described in #2 above are starting to show how ugly the digital divide is coming. The difference between those able to have the world's information in their hands and those that don't is a growing social issue. When connectivity is factored in with access to hardware the problem becomes greater and more complex.
4. Assessment - many educators are struggling more with assessment and it's design. It seems as though most agree with some form of accountability attached to assessment. However, nobody has quite figured out how to do it. However, it is becoming apparent that technology will have to be involved in whatever solution does present itself, if for nothing less than efficiency alone.
5. Personalizing Education - more people are talking about changing teaching and learning to become more personal, that education has to be tailored specifically for each individual. There is a lot of frustration and confusion about how to make this happen when we are still working in an environment designed to "press out parts" rather than create individual masterpieces.
Are there any others that you are noticing, that I may not have? Let me know.
Cross posted at http://henrythiele.blogspot.com