Friday, July 10, 2009

tt4t_092 Reflections from NECC09

It’s Friday, July 10th, 2009 and welcome to episode 92 of TechTalk4Teachers, I’m Tom Grissom. I am back from the National Educational Computing Conference held last week and I am trying to find my “techlegs” and get caught up with work that was left undone while attending this conference. I heard estimates of over 18,000 people attending NECC this year, by the size of the crowds in Washington DC this was probably not far off. Despite the workload piling up back home, this conference was certainly worth the trip.

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Record attendance at NECC 2009

For those of us that are relied upon as frontline technology support taking time away from work is difficult to schedule and we tend to pay for this time away with a full in-box and stacks of to-do’s that were neglected when we were away.

Despite this cost getting away to conferences such as NECC is very valuable to me as it allows me to see what others are doing and to gauge where our programs are at compared to others across the nation. I am pleased that we seem to be holding our own and are very progressive with our implementations of technologies to support teaching and learning at our university.

I do get tired of the “getting ready for the 21st Century” refrain from many speakers as we are well into this century and it is time to move on past the rhetoric. Many are still trying to brow-beat teachers into technological submission with the 21st Century argument. Get over it, the 21st Century is here.

In order to change ones teaching practice, teachers must see AND experience value in order to utilize learning technologies. We must demonstrate the practical and avoid the preaching if we are to be successful with encouraging others to gain benefit from what technologies offer for learning. To this end modeling appropriate behavior is the best method for gaining converts.

I did not find any earth-shattering technologies at NECC this year. It felt like we are in a holding pattern now that Web 2.0 technologies are maturing. I did make it to many vendor booths but there was nothing that really grabbed me as being the next big thing.

I did spend quite a bit of time in the Smart Technologies booth and learned more about their new dual touch Smart Boards as well as getting my hands on a multitouch overlay for an HDTV that used some cool multitouch applications. As the cost of this technology comes down I believe we will be seeing a lot more classroom presentation systems with multitouch technologies at next years conference.

Smart Technologies also had their multitouch table at their booth and Microsoft had a Microsoft Surface multitouch table in their booth. With Windows 7 coming out in October we will start seeing a lot more PC apps that support multitouch as multitouch is built into Windows 7 natively for devices with proper hardware.

There were also a ton of netbooks at this years event as many teachers seem to have jumped on the low-cost netbook bandwagon. There were also several sessions on the iPhone and iTouch apps for educational use.

I did make it to the Asus booth where I was able to actually get my hands on the soon to be released eee PC keyboard with built-in LCD screen and a prototype eee PC t91 tablet that supports multitouch in a netbook form factor. Both of these devices fit niche markets but if they are priced competitively they will offer value. A link is available in the show notes to these two innovative devices soon to be released.

Asus eee Keyboard

Asus eee t91 tablet netbook

The best part of the conference for me however was meeting the many people from my personal learning network in person. I met many people that I had met virtually via Twitter and it was great putting a face with their name. Rather than list them here I will just give a shout-out to my new friends from NECC for fear I might leave someone out. You are all very valuable members of my PLN and it was great meeting you in person. I also met many of the bloggers whose blogs I read regularly and had many productive conversations with what they were doing while comparing notes with each other.

Two more big things happened at this years NECC conference. First the name for next years conference has been changed from NECC to ISTE 2010 and will be held in Colorado. After 30 years of the NECC name tradition I am not sure how I feel about the name change but it was presented as a way to focus on a more international audience.

ISTE 2010

The second big event was the unveiling of the new National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators. Last year the NETS Teachers Standards were revamped and this year the new Administrator Standards were premiered. A link is available in the show notes to the new ISTE NETS Administrator Standards.

ISTE NETS Administrator Standards

PDF File for the NETS Administrator Standards and Performance Indicators

One thing ISTE might consider in the future would be to license the NETS standards with a Creative Commons license. The NETS standards are currently copyrighted using the old 20th Century model. Thousands of educators across the nation have provided input to the ISTE standards over the years and this is something that might be considered in the future now that we are living in a Web 2.0 world in the 21st Century :)

Technology Pick of the Week

Speaking of Creative Commons licensing my technology pick of the week this week is a new feature that was added to Google that allows you to search for Creative Commons licensed pictures.

This is great news for educators that want to find images that are not copyrighted and search for images that can be used for classroom projects legally. This new image search option is a tool that educators can use to teach about copyright issues and provides a solution to a long standing problem for online projects.

I have provided links in the show notes to the blog with this announcement that explains how you use this new feature when searching for images using Google. You will need to click on the Advanced Search link on Google’s homepage and then click on the Date, usage rights, numeric range, and more link to see this option to filter the search for only Creative Commons licensed images.

Google Image Search Implements CC License Filtering

This is definitely a step in the right direction and I applaud Google for providing a useful tool for a long standing problem. It is one thing to identify a problem and quite another to provide a useful solution, thank you Google.

That wraps it up for episode 92 of TechTalk4Teachers. Transcripts and show notes for this episode and archived episodes are available on the web at the Eastern Illinois University Instructional Technology Center website at click on the Techtalk4Teachers Podcast link. If you have questions, comments or suggestions please send an email to or leave a comment on the TechTalk4Teachers blog. Until next time, this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning.


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