Something was different about this year’s ISTE in San Antonio, TX. I first felt it while walking the halls at the Henry B. Gonzalez convention center, speaking with vendors, and eavesdropping in the Bloggers Café. My hunch was confirmed while reading blog reports and retracing Twitter feeds from our T&L advisors and others online.
Turns out that it was series of somethings (sic) that made this year’s show distinct from the previous nine I have had the pleasure to attend. I distilled it to three observations:
1. The Future is now. All of those sessions and conversations in the past about the future of education technology? Those are over. No more deliberation about whether or not computers (whatever they are) belong in the classroom. No more potentials of 21st Century Learning. The future is now! The tools and techniques are here. It’s no longer about whether or not to use them. It’s about how best to use them.
2. Educators are empowered. Bob Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet and Founder of 3Com, once wrote, “Invention is a flower. Innovation is a weed.” (bit.ly/Vq7BTs). This year’s event proves his rule. True edtech innovations sprout from the weeds of the classroom, not from software purchased by the superintendent’s office. See Pinterest, Edmodo, and the 30,000 education apps on iTunes for examples.
3. These changes are urgent. Remember when NCLB deadlines were planned for 2014? Have you looked at a calendar lately? How are those Common Core compliance specifications coming along? For better or worse, the disruption has begun. My bet is on better.
What will you change between now ISTE 2014?
— Kevin Hogan