Okay, I will, I really will, do my best on the plane to do a rundown of my experiences at ISTE12 in general. I'm sitting in LAX for another hour and a half or so since my ride from Ojai had to drop me early because he had to pick up yet another visitor to his home (did I just call my best friend "my ride"?. Yeah, I did, and I'll do it again.) Until I can get my reflections down, I want you to watch something.
I did not catch the Sir Ken Robinson opening keynote, and so please understand that my opinion is only informed by heresay when I say that I'm glad I missed it. One prominent member of our international community, and a national figure in our field (you know who you are :) told me aftwards that it seemed like a sales pitch, and that Marc Pensky "actually said some interesting things." The fact is that nearly everyone in the room came to that keynote to hear Sir Ken, and most were therefore disappointed by his role essentially as panel moderator. Someone else in the know (even more nationally prominent--you also know who you are :) said that ISTE's vision and methods included pulling the panel members together for a day and letting them get to know one another, then more or less winging the session according to the relationships that developed. But as he went on to say, "You can't get three ADHD educators on a stage without a script and expect it to go well." I'm massively paraphrasing here but I think I'm getting the essence of his message. He also gracefully acknowledged that it was a gamble, and a well-intentioned one, and like some gambles, it "just didn't work." That's why I love him.
I dunno. Go watch for yourself!
The closing keynote I have to confess I bailed on. After 7 hours (punctuated by a delicious lunch) of the Online Learning Institute (see previous post!), I was just simply ready to climb in my friend Lisa Linn's car and ride up for an evening in her car before training up to Ventura for a few days at my best buddy James Morrison's home near Ojai. What fun that was. I will catch up with that final keynote soon at the ISTE YouTube channel, specifically http://youtu.be/0w2j1vJmEIs.
The keynote you must watch, though, is why we're here today, writing or reading this. Dr. Yong Zhao from the University of Oregon had me laughing to tears at least once, near real tears at least once, and should be required viewing at every teacher preparation school in our country. The video below is of the entire keynote session, with some interview footage and a touching salute to our retiring queen of get-'er-done Anita McAnear, but if you fast forward to 58:44, you can be there yourself as Dr. Zhao shares his perspectives and insights concerning many of the most important educational issues of our times, including "Why is America still here?" Watch: