NECC Takes Two Steps Backwards

In case you hadn’t heard, it seems that NECC/ISTE have taken two steps backwards by announcing the implementation of their new media coverage policy of presenter sessions. With a little over a week, ISTE recently announced that is limiting the sharing of presenter sessions unless attendees jumped through multiple hoops to get permission to share sessions via podcasts or vodcasts prior to NECC.

Wes Fryer and Miguel Guhlin both wrote blog posts featuring the enactment of this new policy. Essentially, the policy states,

Full video/audio capture of NECC sessions and activities is strictly prohibited without express written permission from BOTH: 1.) the session presenter/s, and 2.) ISTE. Those holding official ISTE-issued press credentials may capture footage for media coverage purposes only.
Source: as cited at

While ISTE has been an institution known for promoting higher standards of technology skills for students and teachers, this policy seems to be a step in a direction different than in past ventures. The ISTE NETS for students and teachers call for creating and developing innovative activities that will revolutionize the students educators turn out after graduation regarding technology use and preparedness for the business world. ISTE calls this ‘refreshing’, educators consider this a continuation, and others consider this elitism. My viewpoint: a combination of all of the above.

Although I live in San Antonio, I still had not made up my mind to attend NECC. I know there are many educators that would like to and cannot attend due to finances, prior commitments or a host of other reasons and rely upon the podcasts shared by many of the edubloggers. I know I personally rely upon the edubloggers’ to share, but just as important, to share their ideas, viewpoints, and perceptions of sessions attended at educational conferences. Those viewpoints help me to decide if the technique or trends presented at a conference are a phase, impractical or truly innovative and assist me in developing my own bag of technological tools of the educational trade. ISTE’s policy seems to be designed to thwart these very efforts of those wanting to collaborate, share and expound educational technology developments.

For most educators, NECC is a conference full of sessions of the latest and greatest regarding educational technology. However, this effort at stifling positive and growing movement in ed tech by this policy does not seem to be a move warranting notoriety of the latest of greatest of the ed tech industry.

In Miguel’s post, he encourages educators to contact ISTE’s Don Knezek ( or Leslie Conery ( with a sample letter. I plan on doing so and have included Miguel’s sample letter below as I haven’t written mine yet (still in a bit of shock by ISTE’s latest move).

Sample Letter:

Dear Don and/or Leslie:

As an education blogger and podcaster, I was disappointed to read that full video/audio capture of NECC sessions and activities is “strictly prohibited” without the “express permission from BOTH: 1) the session presenter(s), and 2) ISTE.” This severely compromises the ability of education bloggers and podcasters to broaden the reach and impact of information, ideas, and best practices shared at the event, limiting us to simple text narrations. In fact, allow this to be a decision that the presenter makes in conversation with his/her participatory audience.

NECC 2007 proved to be an exciting learning experience because educators embraced disruptive technologies and were open to sharing their ideas as blogs and podcasts. ISTE and NECC Organizers have missed the boat in capitalizing on the use of communication and collaborative technologies. In essence, NECC 2008’s policy is to ISOLATE rather than enable educators to COMMUNICATE and COLLABORATE. When I consider the words of Dr. Don Knezek at in 2007 about education no longer being an isolated act of teaching, learning and leading, and juxtapose that intent with NECC 2008’s approach, I am aware that ISTE and NECC are no different than K-16 schools today…struggling to escape the past.

Even as schools and organizations reach towards the future, old fears and habits keep us from moving forward, keep us from being who we desire to be and have said we want to be as reflected in the ISTE NETS-S. It’s difficult to find a new way, and I had hoped that ISTE and NECC would provide the leadership for all state organizations (e.g. TCEA) but I see now that my hope may have been misplaced.

As an educator–teacher, administrator, edublogger and learner who has internalized the ISTE Standards–I challenge you to set aside your fears and reconsider your policy. I intend to encourage all educators to reconsider their participation in future NECC Conferences.

I encourage you to respond to this letter via my blog, Around the Corner, at or to post a response on your own ISTE Blog. If I have misunderstood the policy, I hope you’ll set me straight. Thank you for taking the time to review the contents of this email during such a busy time.

Wishing you well,

Miguel Guhlin

As I am writing this post, there is tremendous outrage about this move by ISTE on Twitter. It seems that I am not the only one with reservations about ISTE and NECC.


2 responses to “NECC Takes Two Steps Backwards

  1. Miguel Guhlin left a comment on my blog saying that ISTE had responded and will allow podcasting with fewer restrictions. It’s a good thing though there are other conferences that are still not open to this sort of thing.

    Hope to see you at NECC!

  2. Thanks for the comment Alfred! I appreciate you taking time to read and let me know about Miguel’s post regarding the controversial audio/video policy that ISTE announced and then retracted part of it. I too added a post about ISTE’s response and actions. Take care and thanks for stopping by Alfred!
    The link above is my response to the ISTE mess.


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