ISTE 2010 keynote – Jeff Piontek named as winner

It’s been an interesting few months for ISTE’s 2010 conference keynote project. We have seen twists and turns (what happened to Kevin Honeycutt?), candidates such as Jeff Piontek that were surprising (at least to much of the edublogosphere), more than a wee bit of snarkiness, and, unfortunately, some allegations of vote rigging and some downright rudeness. All in all, it’s been very similar to a political election!

Well, it’s over. Jeff Piontek has been named as the winner. In many ways, I don’t envy him. Now the pressure is on him to deliver a keynote that appeals to the thousands of diverse personalities that will attend ISTE in Denver. In addition, he has to give what may be the most scrutinized ISTE keynote ever. From all accounts, it appears that he will rise admirably to the occasion.

As most of you know, I supported Chris Lehmann for this keynote process. I have no regrets that Jeff was named instead and am looking forward to his keynote (I don’t have anything against Jeff; I’ve never met him; I just know that Chris is great). He may be relatively unknown to the edublogosphere (and I, too, wish he was a more visible user of social media since he writes about and advocates for it), but by all accounts he’s a fantastic leader who’s doing amazing things for kids in his school organization. In the end, that’s all I wanted – for the keynote to affirm the importance of leadership and, if possible, to represent the administrators like Jeff and Chris that are creating the new future of P-12 schools.

I challenge those of us in the edublogosphere to leave our preconceptions at home. Jeff deserves an honest chance to win our hearts and our minds rather than us prejudging him before he even gets a chance to speak.

Thoughts on ISTE’s process

I’m still not sure how to think about ISTE’s process. During Round 2, when we were able to discuss candidates, Chris was the clear leader. During Round 3, when we were not able to discuss candidates, Jeff was the clear leader. What does that mean? I have absolutely no idea.

I know others have been critical, but I’m glad that ISTE took a leap and tried this keynote crowdsourcing project. I’ve enjoyed observing and writing about the experiment and intend to fully enjoy listening to Jeff this June. See you in Denver!

23 Responses to “ISTE 2010 keynote – Jeff Piontek named as winner”

  1. I suppose you are correct in terms of giving the guy a chance, however the real story is that the actual voting totals seem shockingly low if you compare it to the total ISTE membership or even just the members who go to NECC every year. It was crowdsourcing, but who exactly was the crowd that got sourced? And why didn’t people participate more, the barrier to entry was very low (easy to vote). Just a very strange experiment, but a step in the right direction.

    You are right, the pressure is all on Jeff Piontek now.

  2. I don’t know how many ISTE members actually cared that much. The votes are fairly low. A few thousand, though, which is a fairly good chunk of ISTE’s membership. As I said in my previous post about this, I also think ISTE lost buzz and interest in Round 3…

  3. I want to say that I appreciate how you have handled this, Scott. It’s nice to see someone put their ego to the side and be gracious with an outcome. I wish some others would do the same.

    As an aside, if Jeff does ever make it around this post, I urge him to capitalize on the process that got him voted in and use that as a learning/growing point. I’m sure he can pull some interesting comments from Twitter tonight if he’d like to get a bit self-deprecating about the whole matter as well!

  4. Scott, I’m disappointed with the process – and because of the nature of my disappointment the winner. While this happened in round two, it left a bad taste in my mouth which is why I withdrew from participating the process at that stage. While many folks used their own social media tools to promote the topics we preferred, the speakers we preferred, even ourselves if our names were listed in Round Two. What bothered me, and I’m not sure if this is fair to Jeff as I have no idea if he courted it or not, but when I looked at his page I saw comments by his daughter or niece, his brother, other relatives, personal acquaintances, all asking us to vote for him because he was a good guy or because he was a great principal to work for. And while many of the votes for many of the topics/candidates may have come from those with close or personal relationships with those involved, Jeff’s was the only page I saw where those leaving comment did this. I voted for someone else in round two just for that reason and, when he made it to round three, I decided the whole thing was sham and disengaged because of that. I don’t know if that’s fair. I don’t know if it is a fair assessment. But that public display just left a bad taste in my mouth.

    I also think the change in the rules from round two to round three was unfair. The top vote getter in each category them squaring off against each other, where people could vote in favour of both topic and speaker combined was a nice model (and my understanding the way it was originally intended). What happened to the topics in round three and how did most of the round three names end up coming from the first topic listed is beyond me, but someone at ISTE decided to change the rules while the process was in play and that bothered me as well (and that may have also played a role in my decision to not participate in round three).

    As someone who belongs to eight to ten academic organizations in a given year and attend six or so conferences each year, the professionalism of an organization and its appearance of having its act together both factor into the decisions I make in terms of where to send my membership fee and where to expend my travel allowance. ISTE fell down on both of these fronts for me with this process, and even with their growing support/focus on K-12 online learning in recent years, I’ll be skipping Denver and putting off becoming a member because of this process.

  5. Regardless of the outcome (and I do hope he delivers a great keynote, btw) can I just say (again) this was not crowdsourcing. I wish everyone would call it what it was, a popularity contest. Not that there is anything wrong with that, per se, unless you call it something else. Crowdsourcing is about the contribution of ideas towards the creation of a product. For instance, we could crowdsource a book by writing it collaboratively. Heck, we could even crowdsource the keynote if Jeff opened it up to the community to contribute. It’s a messy process, whereas ISTE’s was pretty linear and not very messy at all when you look at it. And I’m not dissing them for trying, but I’m a bit miffed at their attempts to celebrate the process.

    And one other thing, and again this is not a slap against Jeff, but this speaks a lot to the way we assign credibility in a networked world. For whatever reason, the fact is that he’s not very “clickable” and both you Scott and I and others have made a case to define leadership in the context of transparency. While there may be issues with the process, I think my biggest disappointment is that I don’t know how he’ll be able to look at leadership through that global lens in ways that Chris or even Gary could have. I may be wrong, but that’s how it appears. From what I can find, at least, he’s not walking the talk. If his keynote is about leading change around technology in his district, well, I’m not sure how he’s going to make a compelling case for leadership around change in the big shifts context.

    These are in no way personal attacks; I don’t know Jeff at all. From his site it appears people like his work, and I sincerely wish him the best at ISTE. All I’m saying is that we shouldn’t avoid the serious and interesting questions that this process has created.

  6. I am an avid blogger and as I sit here and read what you all have said about the process, the votes, Jeff Piontek’s competence (and even more so the tone of jealousness/animosity in all of your posts) it seems to me all of you were either nominated, passed over, not voted for or were “beaten” in the voting by him. Jealousy is an evil thing and will eat at you all for the next six months until he wows the crowd.

    If you want to know about him why not ask people like Mark Prensky, Alan November, Tony Wagner or anyone that sits on the National Governor’s Association STEM panel. Or lets take it one step further ask Karen Cator or anyone else at the USDOE that has worked in STEM or Technology for the past 10 years and see what they say. Where he has written and implemented over $30M in grants over the past 8 years, I am sure all of you that have written on this blog here can say they have those things on their resume, correct?

    He has chosen a different path (than many of you that are self promoting) since being the director of Instructional and Informational Technology in the NYC DOE for himself/his family and the state he lives in. Has anyone else on the list been recognized as an innovator and driver in the economy by their Governor? Did you know that he has worked with many foreign countries and governments and sits on the Workforce Development Council for his state as well as working with Singapore Science Center, the Japanese Science and Technology Centers, the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian? I am sure all of you have done those things as well. But then again he doesn’t blog about it or self-promote does he?

    If this sounds like I am defending Jeff I am. It sounds like sour grapes from all of you that have not had the pleasure of working for or with him. He is a humble person and takes each day in stride knowing he is changing lives, education and the economy in the state where he lives.

    He will definitely rise to the occasion (check out his video on broadband access–you do know how to google things don’t you, I very recently sat in a workshop with one of you (who shall remain nameless and wasted a day of my life I cannot get back while you were teaching people how to use google-wake up and realize you are out of touch) and I think that all of you should just step up and be men about the fact that he has a following of people that are committed to change (just like you all say you are).

    Instead of voicing your opinions here as he still works tirelessly to make his school, his state and the country a better place for all of us.

    WIll I am especially disappointed in you and your animosity toward him why not ask people you work with in NYC about him, remember the ones that pay you huge sums to do their jobs. When I see you all at the conference I will make sure then and then people will realize how petty you all are by posting this wherever I can and make sure that people understand your lack of professionalism and respect for others.

    Gentlemen (and I use that term very loosely) best wishes to you and yours and remember that what goes around comes around so only time will tell. By the way I will also make sure that Jeff knows what you have said but then again knowing him he will laugh and shrug his shoulders knowing he loves his job and is changing lives and you are not the first and will not be the last to knock him.

  7. @Hank: Um, Hank, I just read over this post again and all of the comments below it. I don’t see much jealousy and/or animosity here. Rather than Jeff-bashing, I see a lot of affirmation that Jeff’s a good guy – just like you reiterated – and some thoughtful conversation about 1) ISTE’s process, 2) the behavior of some of the supporters and nonsupporters for candidates (both for Jeff and others), and 3) the desire for innovative leaders (like Jeff and Chris) to open up their practice so that others can learn from them. I can understand being scornful where it’s due but I’m not sure it’s deserved in this instance?

  8. Ok. Let me try this again. I don’t know Jeff. I have no animosity towards him. I have no idea who he is. I hope he delivers a great keynote. Really. I mean it. Why would I want otherwise?

    My point is that more and more the world is shifting toward the Web as a way of assessing who people are and what they do. People are, for better or worse, getting Googled. For a long time in my blog and elsewhere I’ve been writing that school leaders need to embrace this shift and model ways to take advantage of it. In this context, I can’t find where Jeff participates in the conversation online. I didn’t say he’s a bad human for that, I’m just pointing out that it doesn’t appear, at least, that he has that context to draw upon.

    But “animosity”? Really? Apologies if it came across that way, but nothing could be further from the truth.

  9. 1.
    2. I did a Google search for “Jeff Piontek” “broadband access” video as was suggested in the comments here. Found nothing.
    3. I consider myself pretty tuned in over the past 10 years on the people in educational technology. The overwhelming reaction to this entire thing from myself and many I know is “Who is Jeff Piontek?”

    If my wife and I “crowdsourced” the process of hiring our wedding photographer to my Twitter network and had a guy named Jakes Spangle emerge, I’d do the same basic information literacy test and have serious concerns.

    Take it one step further.

    If you wanted to prove the ultimate “information literacy” concept, even bigger than Doug Johnson’s 1990 website promoting Mankato, MN as a tropical beach destination, wouldn’t it be interesting to see how far you could bring Jakes Spangle down the path towards being the keynote speaker at a really big educational technology conference.

    For the record, I hope I’m crazy and that I’ll one day have the chance to learn from Jeff Piontek.

  10. I do apologize if I came across a bit strong as a fan of Jeff’s as I have seen what he has done first hand and throughout the process of his career in NYC have been very impressed.

    John maybe next time just send Jeff an email so he could teach you to google “Jeff Piontek Broadband Hawaii” and get the resulting hits:

    1) Converge magazine article from 8.4.2009

    2) Broadband Press Conference-he speaks at about 16 minutes just after Henk Rogers-Tetris and David Lassner-Univ Hawaii and lead on Broadband Task Force Hawaii

    There you go gentlemen so at least I know he taught me to google effectively or maybe it was the chapter in his book on information literacy.

  11. Hank, I was struck by your comment:

    “it seems to me all of you were either nominated, passed over, not voted for or were “beaten” in the voting by him. Jealousy is an evil thing and will eat at you all for the next six months until he wows the crowd.”

    I know that Scott nominated a topic, which was one of the five topics selected (and nominated a speaker other than himself). I nominated a topic that finished 11th or 12th, and I had in mind someone I wanted to hear speak about my topic. So I’m not sure how we could be accused of being personally jealous, as we both wanted to hear someone provocative speak on a topic we were interested in.

    While I don’t know Jeff Piontek personally, I was part of a session at the Virtual School Symposium with him this past November. My co-presenter and I went during the first half of the hour and Jeff during the second half. Unfortunately I had a severe flu at the time, so I was not in Austin and had to do my piece via Elluminate, but I did get the chance to hear Jeff’s 30 minutes and I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t that impressed. I certainly didn’t see him or his ideas at the time as keynote quality. This may be because he tailored his particular presentation to both the nature of the session, the time he had available, and the audience he expected; but I left that session not being very impressed personally.

    Beyond that though, I think you’ve missed the point of Scott’s post and many of the comments that have followed. Most of us could really care less if Jeff was selected or if it ended up being King Kong, we’re primarily commenting on the process that ISTE used to come to this decision. Scott has written several times on his thoughts about the different stages of the process, Will’s comments above were largely asking folks to call a spade a spade when describing this process, my comments were largely focused on how ISTE changed the rules of the process part way through, and I think we’ve all talked about the fact that this was essentially an American Idol like voting process.

    If you didn’t get that we all think ISTE tried to take a step outside of the box here, but we all feel like how they went about it was flawed or at least could be improved upon – than I think you’ve missed the main thrust of this conversation.

  12. I guess I must have missed the “jist” of the conversation as the core group of people here has pointed out so eloquently as they see flaws in the process and not issues with Jeff or anyone else that was nominated.

    Mike, I do have to disagree as I was at all THREE of his presentations at iNACOL (his pre-conference session, his single session as well as the session with JB) and he was very well received and in fact had the highest attendance at any single session (150+ people).

    So I guess that we are all entitled to our opinions and I truly hope that all of you will work with ISTE to make the process what you think it should be, as I am sure they will be happy to hear commentary from the experts.

  13. Well, I’m sure as someone who is already a fan, you would see his presentations as being valuable and well received. I was Jay’s co-presenter, providing all of the links and support in Elluminate (and doing all of the VSS Overlay work), personally I didn’t hear anything that I hadn’t heard before.

    In terms of the process, stage one was designed to identify topics, stage two was designed to identify the best person to speak to each topic, and then stage three was designed to determine which topic/speaker would be selected. Stage one went off without a hitch (see Stage One voting). However, stage two had issues (and Scott wrote about them, but I can’t find the entry – and if I can summarize: basically people largely voted on speakers for the first topic, but didn’t scroll down to see the potential speakers for the remaining four topics). What this resulted in was that there were multiple speakers who were nominated for the first topic that had more votes than the higher vote getters in any of the other four topics (see Scott’s entry ISTE conference keynote – Final totals (by category and overall).

    It was at this point that ISTE changed the rules and instead of people voting on:

    – Effective School Leadership for the Digital, Global Era / Chris Lehmann
    – Personal Learning with 21st Century Tools / Alan November
    – Trends, Tools, and Tactics for 21st Century Learning / David Pogue
    – Universal Design for Learning / David Rose
    – Why Has Technology Affected So Little Change on Teaching and Learning / Karl Fisch

    We ended up voting on:

    – Jeff Piontek
    – Chris Lehmann
    – Peter Reynolds
    – Gary Stager
    – Alan November

    With no mention of topics at all. And it is difficult to figure out where these five folks came from. Only Lehmann and November were leaders for their topics. Only Lehmann, Piontek and Stager were among the top five vote getters in a single category. And only Lehmann, Piontek and Stager were top five vote getters when all of the votes from the five categories were combined (November gets added to this list if you exclude President Obama).

    Where were Pogue, Rose and Fisch – all vote leaders in one of the topic areas, in the final list of candidates to be voted on? Where was Daniel Pink, one of the top five vote getters when counting a single category and when counting all five categories? How did Reynolds make the final list?

    However, the most important question for me – beyond how they determined the final five people, which does appear to be quite subjective on their part – is why did ISTE change the original premise from voting on topic/speaker in Round Three?

    Based on the way they did it, they could have had a single rounds of voting to determine a potential keynote because, as the ISTE page indicates, “The ISTE keynote team will work with Dr. Piontek to present a relevant and inspirational session focused on the overall conference theme, Exploring Excellence, with a specific focus on effective school leadership for the digital, global era.” The topic has almost become irrelevant at this stage, as all keynote speakers at just about any conference are asked to speak on the conference theme.

  14. Michael thanks and if I remember correctly JB said you had the flu. Thanks for the information and maybe Jeff should work with Chris Lehman and co-present as they were by far the top two who were voted upon. They are the only ones that are school based and actually in the trenches. BTW Alan November actually wrote a chapter in Jeff’s book and Elliott Soloway wrote the forward so he obviously has respect from others in the field just hasn’t presented himself on a national scale.

    As far as what Jeff presented on it was amazing to me that his kids were creating 3D models in virtual worlds but focusing on STEM content. It wasn’t like Second Life it was photo-real and amazing. His kids were collaborating with children in china to sail across a “virtual ocean” which streamed live NOAA data so they would encounter waves, weather and such but only had the stars to navigate by which cam from a live NASA feed. He partners with Ken Rogers of Tetris, Pierre Omidyar of ebay and others in the gaming world to engage children.

    If you know of another project like this please let me know as I would love to see it.

    Thanks again and enjoy the remainder of your weekend.

  15. I agree with Dr. McLeod that never before will a presentation be so scrutinized.

    If Jeff begins with a powerpoint, he will be criticized for being old fashioned.
    If he begins with prezi,he will be criticized for trying to be hip.
    If he uses cool iris, he will be criticized for being a copy cat.
    God forbid if he uses a bullet anywhere.
    Any quote, statistic or fact he makes will be instantly googled out to establish its credibility.
    If he makes people laugh, he is too flippant.
    If he does not joke, he is too serious.
    Anything this man does will be seen as wrong and for that, I am sorry for him.

    It does not help that ISTE has proudly proclaimed “The ISTE keynote team will work with Dr. Piontek to present a relevant and inspirational session focused on the overall conference theme, Exploring Excellence, with a specific focus on effective school leadership for the digital, global era.” which now leaves him open for condemnation on having a ISTE as a crutch when preparing his keynote. (

    If nothing else, via the comments read here and spoken on twitter, plurk, and other blog posts, it again has proven that the Educational Tech Learning Network that many of your readers belong to, Dr. McLeod, are not welcoming to people outside of their pack.

    I would urge Jeff P. to do all he can to get on a plane and fly to Philadelphia, and participate in Educon this coming weekend, to meet your peers who are waiting with glee to tear you apart.

    The ones who might need to realize that the most important skill of the 21st century is Professional Courtesy and Sportsmanship. And if nothing else, the realization that just because Jeff Piontek is not within your camp or fits into your perceived ideas of what his online presence should be, does not instantly blacklist him from being someone worth listening to.

    Jeff, if you do make it to Educon, I will gladly come up and introduce myself. I look forward to hearing you at NECC as well. And congratulations.

    I am sorry our network did not welcome you more kindly.

  16. Hank, I don’t think Jeff should co-present. He won the process ISTE put in place (and changed along the way) and he should present on his own. My beef is that based on their original rules, he shouldn’t have been on the final ballot in the first place (and neither should several of the other folks). My beef is with process, not outcome.

    In terms of Jeff’s VSS presentation, the actual project was interesting although I apparently didn’t see it as ground breaking as you. I think what captures it most for me, is the second comment that Will made above – particularly the second paragraph of that comment. When those of us who are watching the educational change landscape (particularly as it relates to the use of technology to bring about that change), Jeff is largely absent in those conversations. He has an interesting project that is happening in a localized context, but so do many other folks. Whynot bring the Florida Virtual School folks out, the ones who have created an entire US History course that is entire contained within a game-based environment? The field of educational technology is littered with literally thousands of isolated examples of teachers and administrators doing interesting and exciting things on a small scale.

    What Will’s comments gets at – in my opinion – is how do we take that small scale and make it scalable to the larger K-12 environment. And his specific comment about Jeff was that he didn’t see Jeff as being a part of THAT conversation. Take an example from the late 1980s or early 1990s – Bernie Dodge and WebQuests. Let’s be honest and say that WebQuests are exactly a cutting edge use of technology – they were when they were first conceived and they aren’t now. But they are probably the best example of a scalable educational technology initiative that really had an impact on how teachers use technology in the K-12 system, system-wide.

    When I look at Jeff’s work (based on his website), when I participated in his presentation, when I read your descriptions of what you see him doing, I see examples of interesting local or isolated projects. I don’t see examples of the systemic change that we need at this stage. If you look at the description that Scott provided when he nominated ” Effective school leadership for the digital, global era” as a topic for the ISTE keynote (and we can’t forget in all of this that the topic that has gotten lost in the process was the one Scott nominated). The description read:

    “Schools MUST have effective leaders that can facilitate their transformation from an industrial-age orientation. Unfortunately, the people in charge of leading schools into the 21st century often are the least knowledgeable about the 21st century. What does effective leadership of digital, global learning organizations look like? The answer to this question is critical for the future of schools because if the leaders don’t get it, it’s not going to happen.”

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t see this in Jeff.

  17. Sorry, in the paragraph about WebQuests, the line that read:

    “Let’s be honest and say that WebQuests are exactly a cutting edge use of technology – they were when they were first conceived and they aren’t now.”

    Should have read:

    “Let’s be honest and say that WebQuests are exactly a cutting edge use of technology – they weren’t when they were first conceived and they aren’t now.”

    My point being that in Dodge’s case it wasn’t that he was using cutting edge technology or something that no one else was using. He figured out a way to use a fairly common and standard technology at the time, in a way that others could easily follow and were interested in adopting.

  18. RLP, I’m not sure you’re reading the same entry and comments as I’m reading (and maybe you’re commenting on the greater blogsphere/Twitterverse in general). In looking at the stream of comments here, I see two main criticisms:

    1. The one Will summed up as:

    “My point is that more and more the world is shifting toward the Web as a way of assessing who people are and what they do. People are, for better or worse, getting Googled. For a long time in my blog and elsewhere I’ve been writing that school leaders need to embrace this shift and model ways to take advantage of it. In this context, I can’t find where Jeff participates in the conversation online. I didn’t say he’s a bad human for that, I’m just pointing out that it doesn’t appear, at least, that he has that context to draw upon.”

    2. The larger question of process: in which people have raised issues about the American Idol-like voting process, how those five names were subjectively selected for the final ballot, and why did ISTE change the original premise from voting on topic/speaker in Round Three?

    I see most folks wishing Jeff well and hoping that he does a good job. I’d add to that. Having seen him present, while I wasn’t blown away up his topic (and you can see my response to Hank for that rationale), I found him to be a good speaker and think that on the mechanics of delivery he’ll be fine at the ISTE conference. In terms of content, I do agree with you that ISTE has kind of hamstringed him a little – making it appear like he needs the help on this topic – but for the average person that attends the ISTE conference he will be very well received because I think his presentation will probably be focused on specific examples of innovative things he has done locally and what kind of institutional/administrative things needed to be in place for those examples to happen (i.e., here are the key things we needed to do to make this happen, which means you need to do these things too). If Hank’s comments about how he received Jeff’s presentation of this local innovative projects is any indication, the vast majority will be quite receptive.

    There may be some who are critical, and I think the critiques may be warranted. Scalability will be an issue in many instances, which is what I think most who will critique are most concerned with. We do have lots of examples of really great things happening in isolated or local contexts. The bigger question is, how do we find some of these local and isolated things and get – as Will says above – “school leaders… to embrace this shift [exhibited in these local and isolated examples] and model ways to take advantage of [them]”. Basically, how can take that 3D modeling in virtual worlds of Jeff’s (that Hank described above) and use it as a model that can change how we do K-12 education through the country?

    But for 95%+ of the folks at the ISTE conference, the content of his keynote will end up being fine. I believe for 100% of the folks at the ISTE conference, the actual deliver and support of his presentation will be fine. I don’t but that people will pick at his use of PPT or Prezi or trying to make the audience laugh. And if you think that this community is that shallow, I’d argue you don’t know us that well.

  19. But for 95%+ of the folks at the ISTE conference, the content of his keynote will end up being fine. I believe for 100% of the folks at the ISTE conference, the actual deliver and support of his presentation will be fine. I don’t but that people will pick at his use of PPT or Prezi or trying to make the audience laugh. And if you think that this community is that shallow, I’d argue you don’t know us that well.

    I’d agree with this. I think the fact is that there are maybe going to be a total of 10 folks that will be looking to tear this guy down because of one nitpicky thing or another. Out of such a large audience, I don’t think those folks need to be worried about at all. Pitied, maybe, but not worried about.

    As for what I’m hearing that Jeff’s work is mostly dug out of the real world and not necessarily out in front of the ed tech community, well I have to say that I respect that. There are lots of people out there that are doing the real work of changing education that aren’t necessarily putting themselves forward or promoting their work. There is just as much a need for the quiet revolution in education as there is for the loud (maybe more so, when you get right down to it).

  20. For those of you who have expressed some concerns about whether ISTE followed its own process, here are some thoughts on that by Leslie Conery at ISTE:

  21. Dear Will,

    Is Jeff truly “not walking his talk” because he is “not clickable”? When did “clickable” become a higher value leadership skill than having the courage to stand by convictions, do the heavy lifting and start a school with many students below the poverty level? Last year, Jeff’s school had the highest test scores on the standardized assessments in the State of Hawaii as well as doubled in size from 250 to 500 students. This coming year the school will have 1,000 students on four islands.

    Recognized by the Governor of Hawaii for his work, Jeff’s emphasis on creativity has inspired students and engaged them in technology and innovation. STEM programs offered include animation, game design and engineering. Those kids build 2D and 3D animations in virtual worlds through a partnership with the American Museum of Natural History in NYC and BlueMars.

    You also write “I think my biggest disappointment is that I don’t know how he’ll be able to look at leadership through that global lens in ways that Chris or even Gary could have.” Will, I am grateful to you for introducing me to Chris L. years ago, and I know you are colleagues with Gary S. As you say, you have never met Jeff. Is it possible that the only explanation for your leadership/global-lens negative judgment is that you know Chris and Gary very well and you do not know Jeff at all?

    You have an extensive knowledge and application of personal learning networks. You could have used your own network to learn about Jeff’s accomplishments. It is one of the core skills you teach about the Read/Write web. I introduced you to Jeff’s former colleagues in NYC. It would have been easy for you to send out a tweet and ask.

    You were trained as a journalist. I know that you value being objective and checking the facts. Has the tonic of being “clickable” eroded your sense of rigor and care? If one of my doctoral students publicly questioned the leadership skills of someone they had never met, I would have insisted that he/she at least have the professional courtesy of getting in touch with the man they publicly criticize. Did you get in touch with Jeff before you “clicked” your opinions down the wires?
    All of us who command a wide audience should use the power wisely and with dignity and with respect. The first rule for those who have attained “clickable” status should be “do no harm”. I am sure this is a quality you taught and expected of your own students.
    Regardless of what you think of the ISTE process, it would have been easy to send Jeff a note of congratulations. Perhaps now would be a good time to get in touch and get to know him better. You have an opportunity to make a great friend in Jeff. The two of you have many of the same values and goals for education. You are simply taking different paths. Call me. I will give you Jeff’s contact information.

  22. Alan,

    Great to see you entering the conversation. Hope you continue to add your thoughts and reflections to the many conversations that are happening online.

    As I said above, I meant no disrespect to Jeff, and I already apologized if that’s how it came across. Others in this thread have said they didn’t feel my comments were disrespectful either. It had little to do with his accomplishments as much as it did asking the question: to what extent is being present in the online conversation of importance when discussing leadership in the 21st Century? I’ve written extensively that I think it is very important, that the social, participatory, transparent nature of learning online now requires leaders to be able to not only make sense of what these technologies bring to the equation but that they model their use of these spaces as well. If we are asking kids to publish, to “design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes” as articulated by NCTE, shouldn’t school leaders be engaged in that as well? The fact that I couldn’t find evidence of that on Jeff’s part begged the question. Not meant to criticize him per se. But you’re right…I don’t know Jeff at all, and I can’t learn about him through the sharing of his work to any great extent. That’s not the case with many of the people I interact with and learn online.

    I think the idea that I’m questioning his leadership skills is a bit far afield. I’m questioning whether or not participation in online learning networks and thus being transparent in one’s own learning is an expectation we should have of leaders these days. If I did a bad job of articulating that at first, see comment #9 above for my apology and for the clarification that perhaps you missed.

    Like it or not, our online footprint says much about us, and will say much about our students in their futures. If we’re to fully understand that, my feeling is that we have to participate in the creation of that footprint for our own sake and for the sake of our kids.

    Regardless, looking forward to your continued interactions and reflections here and elsewhere.

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