Meet Keynote Speaker Adam Bellow
|Adam Bellow TK TK
Educator, technology expert, and social entrepreneur Adam
Bellow will present the closing keynote on Wednesday,
June 26. Bellow is best known as the founder of both
eduTecher and the newly launched eduClipper, free Web
tools that help students and teachers discover the best
resources to enhance learning in and out of the classroom.
As the author of “Untangling the Web,” Bellow’s keynote
will explore how technology can transform teaching and
learning to make a difference in students’ lives.
TL: How has the state of edtech changed since you attended
your first ISTE?
AB: My first ISTE (called NECC at the time) was in 2009. It is amazing
to think of the changes that have happened since then. Hardware has
evolved rapidly, as it always does, but in 2009 there were no iPads and
people recorded videos on Flip cameras.
But hardware is always changing and evolving. I think the more profound
change has been the strengthening concept of the PLN. #EdChat, the
incredibly popular Twitter chat, was founded in 2009. It helped organize
educators on Twitter and created powerful connections to people who
worked in all aspects of education that were using technology to help
student learning and empowerment.
Another shift has been the technology itself. Before, we had software
suites, services, and platforms that needed to be adopted school-wide.
The Web (and the introduction of App Stores) seems to have moved more
into an open network of one-off tools that allow students to create on
their own and then integrate that into the lesson. The access that students
have to these tools (both the hardware and software) has grown quickly
and helped to level the playing field between adults and students to allow
us all to be creators and sharers of what we like and what we make.
TL: How have the leadership responsibilities changed for
educators at all levels as tech continues to disrupt education?
AB: The real disruption is that we can’t ignore technology any longer.
Even schools that ban social networks in the classroom are using those
same networks to connect their school with the community. The ability to
connect with so many educators has made us all to be better practitioners
of the craft of learning and by extension, teaching. We now have a
community of learners made up of admins, teachers, and students.
I think one of the biggest responsibilities that we now have is to model
appropriate uses of all the
great technology to bring
greater meaning into our
being transparent about our
learning process. This is all new
for everyone. Even the early
adopters struggle to keep pace
with the rapid changes. I think
that slowing down to think through the decisions of our actions will be
the next challenge and change on the horizon. We can, should, and really
must be open to it all—but we can’t adopt it all.
TL: What are your hopes/projections for attending an ISTE show
five of years hence?
AB: There are three or four separate things going on over those very
jam-packed four days: presentations, exhibit hall, informal events like the
Blogger’s Café, and evening events. Here are my hopes for all of these...
• ISTE Conference (Presentations): While it is impossible to emulate
smaller conferences when you have over 15,000 attendees, I do like the
movement towards more choice and sessions that allow more people
to speak like the IGNITE sessions and smaller roundtable discussions. I
wouldn’t be surprised if one of the conference days was a slightly more
formalized EdCamp or SocialBloggerCon/HackEducation event. There
could be a day dedicated to a specific thread or segment of the audience,
say High School Physics, and then those attendees get a room to work in
and form an agenda of what they want to cover for the day.
• Exhibit Hall: I look at the vendor floor at ISTE to be like Home Depot--
hammers and nails for trained (and learning) carpenters. I think we will
see more tools that support freedom to express learning creatively, but
on the other side of that coin, I would be willing to bet that 95% of them
will try to force a strained alignment to CCSS. Argh — that is a post for
• Informal events: I think that the blogger cafe and the social events will
become even bigger. As more educators connect online and meet prior
to ISTE, I think that the appeal of informal (or formal) learning from the
peers in your networks will increase steadily. I also think that students
will be more a part of the conference in coming years. I look forward to
seeing not just the obligatory session run by students, but workshops on
Whatever it looks like, I am excited to be a part of the ISTE community and
will be actively involved as it moves forward and evolves.