ISTE announced its 2015 conference keynote speakers yesterday:
- Soledad O’Brien, journalist and news anchor
- Jack Gallagher, comedian and parent of a child with autism
- Josh Stumpenhorst, Illinois teacher of the year and ISTE Emerging Leader
I love ISTE and the ISTE conference. But every year I wish more of the keynotes were actually helpful to our technology integration and implementation efforts. It is an educational technology conference, after all, and we have lots of needs in the actual topic area of the conference.
Go get ‘em, Josh…
[UPDATE: See also Michelle Baldwin’s recent post on this issue]
I was commenting on this very thing to a colleague last week. EdTech conferences are becoming more like Pep Rallies: ISTE, SXSWedu, FETC, etc. The smaller, local ones tend to preserve the focus on education.
I had the same thought when I saw the keynote list. What does ISTE think people come to the conference for?
A group of us travelled from abroad to attend ISTE2014 and all left surprised that a Hollywood actress occupied a keynote address. Her story was fascinating but not relevant to Education Technology.
I think it is hard to judge from just the information that has been released if the ISTE15 keynotes will resonate with the diverse ISTE audience. Bill Gates was a keynote in Seattle in 1997 and was a total bomb – he should have been a “no brainer”, but seems no one filled him in on the audience to whom he was speaking and he insulted the vast majority of those attending. From one who helps to select the keynotes for a regional tech conference, I think the key to success is properly preparing the keynote speaker with information about the desired message and the nature of the audience. Some of the least likely, in my opinion, ISTE keynotes have turned out to be some of the best! Education MUST be open to listening to advice from outside our immediate community, but that information needs to be timely, pertinent, and packaged appropriately.