Thursday, June 19, 2008

Say it ain't so!

Today my wife & I drove from Dallas to Houston as I will be participating in Stephanie Sandifer and Steve Hargadon's Web 2.0 Live Tools session all day tomorrow. After stopping for dinner, my wife drove and I quickly checked on email and the Twitterverse to see if I had missed anything. Much to my surprise there was some rapid discussion going on about NECC 2008 and what I feel amounts to censoring of recording/podcasting/ustreaming/ etc. of sessions without the "1.Permission of the presenter and 2. the permission of ISTE." I was shocked. This after there was a huge call to people in Texas to blog about the conference.

I had participated in the conference call with several of the higher ups at ISTE and was greatly pleased to hear them take suggestions and work toward implementing them for the good of the conference, for the good of educators throughout the world and for the future of all of our students. This announcement that was brought to light by Wes Fryer was a stunning blow to me personally. After reading Wes' blog I then scooted over to Miguel's blog and found more of the same along with a request to send your thoughts to ISTE.

No longer was the world flat, instead it was a cold, dark cave like place waiting for Og to create fire. No longer was there a collaborative air about the conference, instead it became the us vs them aspect that so many schools already struggle with when speaking about faculty and administration. Some people speculated that it was merely ISTE's way of protecting themselves for copyright purposes, some felt that maybe technology was finally catching up to the realities of the world.

I personally feel that it stinks but I am waiting for clarification from Leslie after writing the email. What about those who can't get here because of frozen budgets? While a lot of my expenses are paid for by my school, I have a lot of out of pocket expenses that I do not pass on to my school as we are a private inner city school. I have posted my letter to Leslie Conery below and hope you will take the time to weigh in on this whole situation. I started the letter off personally with some of my thoughts and then used some of the sample letter portions that Miguel had posted on his site.


I find it worrisome that after working with you and several other ISTE admin people through the use of a conference call and being asked to blog about NECC, we are told that only with permission from both the presenter and ISTE are we able to record sessions at NECC 2008? As I sat in on that conference call, I was impressed with the things that were discussed and brought up and felt that I was finally dealing with an organization that was truly forward thinking. MY DUES WERE BEING USED FOR SOMETHING GOOD. This is true collaboration, true education reaching out to all. The flat world truly coming together for the good of the future - our students.

NECC 2007 proved to be an exciting learning experience because educators embraced disruptive technologies and were open to sharing their ideas as blogs and podcasts. ISTE and NECC Organizers have missed the boat in capitalizing on the use of communication and collaborative technologies. In essence, NECC 2008's policy is to ISOLATE rather than enable educators to COMMUNICATE and COLLABORATE. When I consider the words of Dr. Don Knezek at in 2007 about education no longer being an isolated act of teaching, learning and leading, and juxtapose that intent with NECC 2008's approach, I am aware that ISTE and NECC are no different than K-16 schools today...struggling to escape the past. Even as schools and organizations reach towards the future, old fears and habits keep us from moving forward, keep us from being who we desire to be and have said we want to be as reflected in the ISTE NETS- S. It's difficult to find a new way, and I had hoped that ISTE and NECC would provide the leadership for all state organizations (e.g. TCEA) but I see now that my hope may have been misplaced.

As an educator--teacher, administrator, edublogger and learner who has internalized the ISTE Standards--I challenge you to set aside your fears and reconsider your policy. I intend to encourage all educators to reconsider their participation in future NECC Conferences. I encourage you to respond to post a response on your own ISTE Blog. If I have misunderstood the policy, I hope you'll set me straight. Thank you for taking the time to review the contents of this email during such a busy time.

Wishing you well,

Paul R. Wood
Director of Technology


mrsdurff said...

You really sum it up well when you say, "...struggling to escape the past..." The question now is how will we respond? As individuals or as collaborators? I left the NECC ning and erased all but one flake on the Pageflakes (so anyone who goes there will see posts like yours)

Chris said...

It was nice to meet you this past Friday at Classroom 2.0 Houston. Regarding the NECC recording policy statement...

The first requirement - to get permission from the presenter - is an absolute copyright issue; I don't really consider this portion of the statement to be anything more than a reminder to participants to get permission from presenters before recording.

The second requirement... My first thought was that NECC is trying to protect the integrity of the conference. If all of the sessions are being recorded and made freely available, what value is there in attending the conference? Well.. that's what I'm guessing they may be thinking. I don't think that's true though; the opportunity to be at a conference in person is well worth the cost of the conference. I don't think people attend conferences JUST for the content; if all of the content is freely available after the fact, I do not believe attendance will decrease significantly.

Of course, perhaps ISTE just wants to keep track of how many NECC sessions are being recorded and made available? Has there been any indication that ISTE will actually decline a request to record? If not, it's just red tape - the challenge should be then, how to track that information without creating the red tape. I do believe it is useful and potentially important for ISTE to know how many sessions are being recorded.

If ISTE's intent is to prevent freely available content - to allow a subsequent profit model - shame on their hypocrisy.