ISTE 2012 (International Society for Technology in Education) is in San Diego this summer at the convention center. The conference started off with the usual business affairs, then moved on to a much hyped keynote by Sir Ken Robinson, an advocate for creativity in education.
The ISTE volunteers and hosts valiantly tried to control the seating in the room by cordoning off rows of seats in order to force educators into the sides of the room first. They did not realize that we are teachers who have traveled from across the country on our summer break to attend this conference. Not only that, but we breathe democracy and social justice. If we show up one hour before the talk and respectfully stand in front of the door, it's not fair to push us toward the nether regions of the room instead of the prime seats at the center. Controlling us was impossible as people started breaking the ribbons.
Robinson talked about the need to personalize education, "The problem is the whole process of education is being based on an impersonal approach and a suffocating culture of standardization." The blame went directly to No Child Left Behind, which in true Sir Ken humor he said should be called a Million Children Left Behind.
The rest of the 45 minutes consisted of Sir Ken introducing the other speakers and moderating a panel on technology and education. It was quite disappointing and the keynote to open up the conference definitely did not live up to the hype.
The other speakers were Shawn Corvell, vice president of Qualcomm's Wireless Reach program, Marc Prensky of "Digital Natives" fame and actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik from The Big Bang Theory. Mayim was quite engaging, "the heart of education is one teacher and one student making a connection," however, what was sadly missing from the panel was one teacher and one student.