Today was spent consorting with the big gurus of EdTech. I first went to the keynote with Joel Barker. My impression – he’s full of it. Regardless of how much research and effort goes into a presentation, when they start making up words and base their presentation on those words, then they’ve lost me. For example – "techecology" and "negawatts." Barker presented five models of global technology, but each glossed over the implications for misuse. I even won a copy of his book, which I may or may not read.
After another round with the vendors, I hit two more of the spotlight session – both names long in EdTech lore. First was David Thornburg, whom I had heard in Houston last year. His presentation was "That was Then, This Is Now", and it consisted of his reflections based on the 25th anniversiary of the Thornburg Institute. The presentation started with images from his early years with Xerox – basically pictures of old computers. He eventually got around to the present day, and as a futurist should, gave his predictions.
Thornburg’s presentation seemed forced and lackluster. Instead of discussing new trends, it dwelt on his past accomplishments. To make matters worse, I had heard most of the good bits of his presentation in Houston. To say it was a disappointment would be an understatement.
Schrock’s presentation was on amazing gadgets for educators, and it started with – you got it – pictures of old computers! This continued for awhile, echoing almost word for word Thornburg’s presentation. When she got to the present, and to the new gadgets, She basically just went down the list of neat things that one can find at ThinkGeek or X-treme Geek. Once again, another presentation that lingered too much on the past or on the trite, with not very much substance. This was truly disappointing, since it was to be my last session at NECC.