ISTE – 0, Podcasters/Vodcasters – 1

In case you hadn’t heard latest backlash and outrage by citizens of the edublogosphere and twitterverse amidst the many emails flying back and forth to ISTE and edubloggers’ posts, ISTE has retracted part of their new audio/video recording policy and is allowing podcasting/vodcasting and streaming of presenter sessions at NECC2008.

Miguel Guhlin shared on his blog the response he received from Leslie Conery, Deputy Chief CEO of ISTE. Portions of Leslie’s email response in listed below in intalics and bolded for emphasis with Miguel’s personal comments below Leslie’s.

  • We …have had great internal conversations in the last 24 hours about how best to respond. We needed to listen to and address the valid concerns of ISTE members while also protecting the rights of the people who have agreed to present at NECC. What valuable admission is this from the ISTE Organization and what a powerful message it sends to the membership.
  • Post NECC2008, we are planning to convene a discussion around the issue of broadcasting presentations and to work together collaboratively with podcasters, bloggers, presenters, and other stakeholders to develop guidelines for NECC2009 that meet the needs of the education community. We’re invited to participate in a discussion about our content. While it’s obvious that such conversations are necessary, how many organizations do you know that seek to work collaboratively to develop guidelines? This is the ISTE I’m proud to be a member of!
  • For NECC 2008, ISTE’s permission is not required for non-commercial video and audio recording of sessions and workshops.That takes care of the education podcasters I was concerned for. Great.
  • …for NECC 2008, written permission from the session or workshop presenter is required prior to capturing a video or audio recording. Any permitted recording should respect the presenter’s rights and not be disruptive. Not a problem. Does anyone have a form they would like to share?.

Feel free to visit Miguel’s blog read the entire response Leslie sent to Miguel shortly after he emailed her. Response time was quick – less than 24 hours.

What I found extremely interesting is a comment left by ISTE’s Donella Evoniuk ( on Charlene Chausis‘ blog,

I must add that it is unfair for the blogosphere to unload on ISTE over this. We are so sososo supportive of the amazing sharing and communication AND collaboration that is possible with 2.0 tools. The response at NECC 2007 blew our minds and reinforced all of our beliefs about the power, potential, and excitement that is generated by facilitating educators-as-creators-of-content.

‘Unfair for the blogosphere’ to unload on ISTE? If this was unfair to ISTE then I don’t have the correct definition of unfair. Unfair is how this policy was announced to the blogosphere with little time to meet their conditions to record audio/video of presenter sessions. ‘Blew your minds?’ This policy announcement blew the minds of the authors of the blogsphere that a policy like what was originally suggested wouldn’t cause a negative reaction.

Many educators rely on the podcasting from the conference to attend virtually and with the previous policy that would have been severely limited if not nixed altogether.

My question is this: was the timeliness of the notice sent to presenters knowing there would be very little time to seek permission from presenters much less from ISTE personnel who was and is currently traveling to San Antonio and would be unavailable for several days? I would like to think it was merely a coincidence and a decision not properly thought through versus a deliberate decision made late so that permission from presenters and ISTE would be so difficult to obtain PRIOR to NECC people wouldn’t even bother? That’s what I would like to believe. But the fact that they changed the audio/media coverage policy indicates that 1 of my 2 suppositions stated above is correct. Which one remains to be seen since the policy will be readdressed by ISTE post NECC 2008.

So for now, the score is ISTE = 0, Podcasters/Vodcasters 1. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that the ISTE members have won the battle but not the war.


3 responses to “ISTE – 0, Podcasters/Vodcasters – 1

  1. I find the comment by “ISTE’s Donella Evoniuk” odd. She said ” …I must add that it is unfair for the blogosphere to unload on ISTE over this.” Unfair? Assuming that all people were as respectful as Miguel suggested in questioning the policy, shouldn’t members of an organization have the right to question policiesf? Even angrily disagree?

    Since the organization espouses the global dissemination of information, isn’t it a natural fit for disagreements to be made publicly and using the very media they promote? Would it have been better to wait until the eleventh hour and drop it on everyone? That seems to have been the behavior that was modeled.

  2. Howdy. A few points to keep in mind:

    1) This policy has been in place for some time; what has changed is increasing use of podcasting in the blogosphere to share content and ideas with one another for noncommercial purposes. ISTE was just rolling along, not having taken a hard look at what it was saying people should do and what it was doing in practice. This isn’t uncommon for organizations or people.

    2) The letters the membership sent in encouraged ISTE to align its policies for NECC to its published national ed-tech standards and to set aside the unreasonableness of written permission from the organization as well as the presenter.

    3) Not all the letters sent in were moderate in tone, however, some would argue that this was a case where ISTE might not have moved so quickly without the general outcry. Since this moved so quickly, I don’t think we’ll ever know.

    What we do know is that ISTE addressed the problem within 24 hours. In light of these points, I don’t find Donella’s response odd or out of line. The blogosphere did “unload” its disappointment and desire for a new way of doing things. What I do find odd is that ISTE responded quickly and temperately to reverse out of date policy.

    That prompt response is commendable. While ISTE has taken hits on the commercialization of the NECC, it’s great that decisions like this re-affirm the faith of the members that this is still an organization by the people, of the people, for the people.

    All that said, I consider the matter over for now until the Committee decides to meet. We’ll see what fun comes out that.

    Take care,
    Miguel Guhlin
    Around the

  3. I thank you both for your comments. I am glad that ISTE retracted the additional requirement for permission to record NECC sessions. While I understand and even agree that this policy was already in existence and is a necessary precaution for conferences sometimes, I feel that way the policy was attempted to be enforced was not clearly communicated to presenters when proposal were first initially submitted. I am glad things were resolved amicably but feel that the way this issue was handled put a tiny damper on things at NECC. Hopefully next year will not be a ‘surprise’ per se after the details are ironed out over the coming months.

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