1. The Social Vacuum: ISTE can easily slip into a technophiliac dystopia, where no one talks about the role of technology in social issues like immigration or poverty. I didn’t see anything about service learning or using technology as a means for social change (like we’re seeing in real-time in part of the Arab world)
2. Not Enough Emphasis on Content: I expected to see something about social studies (and how we approach a subject in a transnational, globalized world where politics, geography, economic forces and social systems are in constant flux) or something on meaningful math (call it paperless, tech-integrated, etc.).
3. A Lack of Digital Ethics: By this I mean deep-thinking technology criticism. What does it mean to think well about the medium? How does a tool change how we think? How does it change how we communicate? How does it change the way we define ourselves, our space and our values?
4. It’s Too Structured: I didn’t sign up for anything, because I wanted to find the people I knew on Twitter. Then I start hearing about tickets and sign-ups and it’s third grade dodge ball all over again. I might just stand in the corner and draw pictures. It’s what I did twenty years ago on the playground.
5. CorporateFest 2.0: I get it. People need vendors. However, when the vendors define all of the space, it’s not about including them. It’s about corporate hegemony. The result is waste. I’d love to know the carbon footprint of ISTE.
The Solution: Find people you know and make it as close to an unconference as possible. I hung out in-depth with David Wees and a little with Chad. I met some of the people I know on Twitter. Ultimately, that’s where the learning will happen – out of the techno echo chamber and in the human connection we share.