5 Developing Themes at ISTE ’10

By Henry Thiele

I attended EduBloggerCon, the Constructivist Consortium, the opening events, and more at ISTE ’10, and through my interactions there, I have begun to see some themes developing in the conference:

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 have some pretty big decisions looming about how we are going to handle an influx of personal mobile computing devices into our society. With the iPad, the new iPhone, Android devices, and the continued growth of netbooks, there are a lot more discussions of how we are going to respond to this trend as schools. These conversations center on network infrastructure, policy, instructional strategies, and preparing teachers for this change.

3 Digital divide. The changes described in number 2 are starting to show how ugly the digital divide is becoming. The gap between those able to have the world’s information in their hands and those unable to is a growing social problem. When connectivity is factored in along with access to hardware, the difficulty becomes greater and more complex.

4 Assessment: Many educators are struggling more with assessment and its design. It seems that most agree with attaching some form of accountability to assessment. But nobody has quite figured out how to do it. It is becoming apparent, however, that technology will have to be involved in whatever solution does present itself, if for efficiency if nothing else.

5 Personalizing education: More people are talking about making teaching and learning more personal, saying that education has to be tailored to 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.