What’s Your Ideal Educational Technology Conference?

I’ve got the opportunity to provide input on the development of the fall technology conference put on by the California League of Middle Schools (CLMS) and High Schools (CLHS)… and I’d be remiss not to involve “the network” of educators and learners who read this blog. So, I thought I’d share a little bit of information and ask some questions here.

In 2006, the theme of the conference was “Teaching Millenials” and the keynotes were David Warlick and Leslie Fisher. In 2007, the theme was “Digital Immigrants, Digital Natives” with Marc Prensky (of course), Will Richardson, and Carol Anne McGuire as keynotes. I coordinated the hands-on ticketed workshops at both events and was able to get away and see a good deal of the conferences… these were two great years – and a they’ll be a tough act to beat. Naturally, I have some ideas for new themes and new keynoters, but I thought I’d open it up to all of you and ask what (and who) you’d like to see from a regional technology conference. So, please leave a comment with an answer to any or all of these questions:

  1. If you were on the conference planning committee, what theme would you suggest for Fall 2008? (I’d love to hear why, too.)
  2. What keynote speakers would you most like to see? (And while the speakers from 2006 and 2007 are among my favorites, we won’t be having any repeats… so I’m looking for new ideas.)
  3. Imagine you’re a classroom teacher in a middle or high school (unless you actually are – then no imagining necessary)… what do you want most from a technology conference?

Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to share their thoughts and vision. :)

12 Responses to “What’s Your Ideal Educational Technology Conference?”

  1. Cheryl Oakes Says:

    Sheryl Nessbaum Beach, top of my list especially for HIGHSCHOOL/Web 2.0 tools and 21st century skills.

  2. Beth Ritter-Guth Says:

    Alan November and Sir Ken Robinson are two excellent speakers. Alan talks about the changing nature of teaching students using web technologies, and Sir Robinson speaks about how American schools kill creativity.

  3. Brian Grenier Says:

    How about a theme based on Networked Learning…you could bring in your Twitter network for a panel style keynote. :)


  4. An Ideal Conference | 2¢ Worth Says:

    […] Mark is asking for suggestions (What’s Your Ideal Educational Technology Conference?) from his blogging community and since conferences are so much a part of what I do, and because I am currently suffering a bit of conference withdrawal, I thought I would include my response here as well as on Mark’s blog. […]

  5. David Warlick Says:

    I see that my blog post has already gotten picked up by your trackback, but I’ll go head and post the short version here:

    Conference theme:

    Although the use of this term, in my opinion, has been stretched almost beyond recognition, I think that “transparency” might be a useful follow-up to your first conference, “Teaching Millennials,” and your second, “Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives.” You’ve identified their audience and explored the boundaries between most teachers and their students. Perhaps it is time now to explore technology as more than a pedagogical tool — to illustrate how the effects of emerging information and communication technologies are serving to make the boundaries that have constrained education transparent. Perhaps “Teaching and Learning in Transparent Schools,” or something like that for the theme.

    Keynote speakers:

    I am especially saddened to read that you will not be repeating any of their previous keynoters. It was such a fun conference to be a part of.

    A few names come to mind though, considering the theme that I’m suggesting. Susan Patrick’s talks about distance learning point to instruction that is not confined by walls and distance. Ian Jukes is talking, these days, about brain research, making transparent the boundaries between our teaching and their understanding. Debbie Silver would be an absolute hoot for this audience, and she would teach about the transparency between teaching, learning, and humor. David Thornburg could talk about the transparency of expense, talking about open source as an alternative to huge investments in software.

    What a middle or high school teacher wants from a technology conference:

    If I’m coming from a classroom, I’m coming for new ideas. I want new techniques that I can take back to my classroom and use tomorrow. I also want energy and I want validation that my chosen profession is the most important thing on the planet to be doing.

    What I need is some new ways of thinking about things. I need some new lenses through which to examine and re-examine my work, to critically question some of my practices, and invent new practices that result in the kind of success that I imagined when I decided to become a teacher.

    2¢ Worth and great luck to you, Mark.

  6. a. woody delauder Says:

    I always thought it would be interesting to go to a conference in which explores the digital media that students are already using. Getting some students involved in the conference is where I would like to see the technology conference idea arrive. A few sessions with some brave student speakers would be wonderful :)

  7. Julie Lindsay Says:

    Hi Mark
    We are pondering the same questions here in Qatar as we move towards supporting 21st century learning with mobile computing and online learning. Here are some ideas:

    Theme: Learning has no walls

    Keynotes: Speakers who are patient with the technophobes but also inspiring to the early adopters who are keen to do more; speakers who not only talk about lofty ideals but can ‘get their hands dirty’ with practical advice and be able to workshop tools as required; speakers who represent an international approach (this is SO important). My personal favourites include David Warlick, Gary Stager, Joyce Valenza….however there are a number of emerging stars who have so much to offer and just need a push onto the keynote stage such as Jeff Utecht, Judy O’Connell, Vicki Davis, Kim Cofino, Terry Freedman………

    What do I/we want from a tech conference: I want it not to be about technology, the same as I want our Heads of Department meeting at school to not be about organisation and paperwork..but about pedagogy and learning!! I want to be able to pick up tips and tricks and new tools in a fun way but the main focus must be on how to support learning and improve outcomes and engage students. I want to feel excited about what is being presented so that I cannot wait to get back to the classroom and implement new ideas and find ways to rework curriculum that is valid but needs ‘modernising’. I want to learn more about how to create a student-centered learning environment and how to convince and educate my school administration that this is the way of the future.

  8. Kim Cofino Says:

    Hi Mark,

    I like the idea of networked learning, or connected learning – something that would focus on pedagogy (not technology), but would bring in the idea of connecting teachers and students around the world to learn together. I love how Julie points out the need for an international approach (and not just because she mentions me!). Thinking about the future world in which our students will become leaders, they need, more than anything, a global focus and inter-cultural awareness/understanding.

    In terms of classroom teachers, I would want inspirational, but practical strategies for how to change my teaching and learning environment. Things that could push my thinking, but also ways that I could make changes as soon as I return to my classroom. Most of all, I would want speakers and ideas I could relate to – not just the vision (which needs to be present) but also the action and the first steps to making change.

  9. ryan rock Says:

    I had a fette class last semester and the teacher used google to look up interesting questions that the students had and that she nor I could asnwer. She would usually look the answers up while the class was busy, but sometimes she couldn’t find an answer right away and the students didn’t get the anwere that day. The neat thing was that the questions were usually good and it kept the class interested and talking about it. I as a future teacher would like to see somekind of streamline video/encyclopedia to lood up facts and video to be able to show to the sudents if they ask. They’d be making be learn as well , which I could teach future classes with.

  10. Clint Kennedy Says:

    First off, I think it is time that a major educational technology conference tries the “unconference” model.


    Second, I think Ben Wilkoff would be great as a keynote speaker….he is one of us!


  11. Ewan McIntosh Says:

    Hopefully my unconference tips will help you out:

  12. Ed Tech Crew » Ed Tech Crew 33 - A conversation with Jo McLeay Says:

    […] “What’s Your Ideal Educational Technology Conference?” http://edtechlife.com/?p=1928 […]