Is this asking too much of ISTE? by Scott Meech

The vast majority of the reviews from NECC 2009 refer to the "conversations" as the most important aspect of their conference (Check out this spreadsheet to read more about NECC 2009). I tend to think this is very true for those truly embedded in their personal learning networks and the vast majority of the veterans to NECC (next year it is simply ISTE). Yes, I am sure that statement would also be true for many who attended NECC that are not involved in the "conversation" digitally, but their voices are not as loud in my opinion. I am not saying their voices are not as important so please note that distinction! Based upon the idea that the "conversation" is the most important aspect, I propose a new "metaphorical" floor plan for NECC 2010 (I mean ISTE 2010).

  1. The Blogger's Cafe should be reformed into what it really is, a "conversation" hub. The Illinois Computer Education conference recognized this change over a year ago and has moved in that direction. Everything else should break off of the "conversation".
  2. I think the poster sessions should be divided up into sections that are based on the conference themes. Poster sessions are great but they can be very "messy" as far as getting their message out and this can help alleviate a lot of that confusion.
  3. Isn't the conference really about teaching our kids and improving our practice? Modeling classroom activities and classroom environments should be a central focus so we need to have this centrally located as well. I highly suggest people to take a look at the thoughts of David Jakes and Ryan Bretag on Multi-Dimensional Learning Spaces and make this its own entity in the conference. I just don't see enough emphasis at the conference on how to really coordinate online learning and do it well.
  4. Put the NETS Standards right up front and make them bold. Personally I think ISTE made a huge mistake with putting the student's standards out first and the administrator's standards last. This should have been flip-flopped in my opinion. True change in my opinion will never happen until our educational leaders embed themselves. I no longer believe that our leaders can be appreciative of technology. There decision making continues to be off regardless of their appreciation or not as they never quite "get it".
  5. Create like-minded sessions right up front and get people working together like the "Birds of a Feather" type activities. Presentations are no longer as effective as they once were because they too often don't take the audiences experience into account. We need to combine the audience and the presenters much more cohesively and build upon all of our expertise.
  6. I think we need an area completely dedicated to Digital Citizenship (Internet Safety Issues but proactive!).
  7. Traditional sessions are still important but they need to have some refinement. Their needs to be an evaluation system or commenting ability by participants after a session like a YouTube video. We need to help direct the best sessions out of the conference to the rest of the education world!
  8. ISTE should change the T in its name to "Transform" as Dr. Don Knezek mentioned to a group I was working with at the conference. Too many people think this conference is about TECHNOLOGY and that simply needs to get fixed!
  9. Finally, I think there should be an IPhone App (Blackberry as well) that can replace the NECC Program Guide. This is a conference that should have people looking ahead and constantly working to add innovation. Video was this year's innovation for sure and it was done very well! (Self-serving plug - please check out and its community associated with it at
  10. Thanks ISTE for taking my advice (whether they know it or not) by adding the debate. There should be more debate and perhaps we should even add a section to this "Metaphorical" new floor plan for NECC 2010. We need to practice and hone our argument to make a more cohesive message.

- Scott Meech / Cross-posted at