I’ve only attended one other ASCD annual conference back in 2007(?) in New Orleans. Being accustomed to ISTE’s and (Colorado) TIE’s ubiquitous wireless, informal gathering stations, and incorporation of technology, I found myself disappointed with that experience several years ago. The New Orleans conference used nothing but paper, there was virtually no Internet, and it just seemed….old. As we left, a sign encouraged us to attend next year where the focus would be on “technology.” I have to admit…I chuckled.
Fast forward to 2011 – WOW! What a difference a few years makes. We were able to create virtual schedules of sessions we wanted to attend and exhibitors we wanted to see, several of the sessions (including my iPad session) provided free wireless for participants, our handouts were uploaded electronically, and there were MANY sessions that focused on the use of modern tools and educational ideas. What was really telling was the constant flow of tweets using the hashtag #ascd11. Not only does it seem that ASCD has undergone lots of change internally, externally they are attracting the very audience who is focused on transforming our schools into engaging and dynamic learning environments.
I was also extremely impressed with the involvement of upper management in the conference. The Chief Program Development Officer passing out umbrella bags as participants enter the conference center? That speaks volumes….all good.
Kuddos, ASCD. I can’t wait to attend the next one.