Interesting conversations are occurring, well-known edubloggers are advocating for their topic suggestions (see, e.g., Vicki Davis and Brian Crosby), and, perhaps most importantly for ISTE, there seems to be a fair amount of interest in its ‘choose your conference keynote’ project.

After just a few days, my suggestion is duking it out with Kevin Honeycutt’s for the top position:


I think Kevin is a great guy, but I don’t think his topic should be a keynote over mine. It seems to me that 95%+ of the ISTE conference every year is the same thing: tools, teachers, and classrooms. These are important, but as I said in one of my comments under my topic suggestion:

We've been relying on teachers & teacher leaders & tech integrationists & tech coordinators for decades now. Where's it gotten us in terms of systemic reform? It's gotten us isolated pockets of excellence in a few classrooms. When a principal "gets it," nearly the entire school changes (minus the few resisters). When a superintendent "gets it," nearly the entire district changes (minus the few resisters).

I'll repeat… It is the formal leaders (administrators, policymakers), not informal leaders, that have control over ALL of the important variables: money; time; personnel hiring, evaluation, and assignment; organizational vision and direction; professional development; etc. All you have to do is look at a school like the Science Leadership Academy to understand the importance and power of a formal leader that "gets it."

Why such pushback on a leadership keynote? It's not like we have one every year. In fact, we'd be hard pressed to remember more than a small few in the history of NECC/ISTE. ISTE has five keynotes and I'm a big fan of Kevin Honeycutt. But one of the keynotes should pertain to effective FORMAL leadership. Otherwise we'll just keep talking about tools and teachers like we always do…

So the gloves are off, Kevin! I don’t know if I can pull this off, but I’m not going down without a fight.

Thanks to everyone who already has voted for my topic and/or participated in the conversation. Any assistance that you can continue to lend me would be most appreciated; I need more people to vote for my suggestion and to spread the word about the contest. I’ve got an uphill battle and am going to need all of the help I can get!

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