Tuesday at NECC 2009

by Jean Tower

Tuesday at NECC 2009 I enjoyed the keynote address. It was in Oxford-style debate format, moderated by NPR’s Robert Siegel. The two sides argued the premise: Bricks and Mortar Schools are Detrimental to the Future of Education. For or against? The against side won (audience decision using response system) but they argued that education had to change substantially and that a hybrid of face to face and online was the key. Lots of fun.

See link below for more details:


The most memorable experience of the day was my participation in the Storm the Hill event. ISTE organized the event for hundreds of educators to meet key staff people from the offices of senators and congressional members. (See http://center.uoregon.edu/ISTE/NECC2009/glance/dc_hill_visits.php for details.)

I, along with about ten colleagues from Massachusetts, met with Bethany Little from Senator Kennedy’s office and with Nicholas Christiansen of Senator Kerry’s office. Then, we split into smaller groups to visit our region’s member of Congress.

Deb Donohue and I met with Lisa Salerno, a staffer in Jim McGovern’s office.

In every meeting, we talked about the following:

  • the importance of funding the Enhancing Education Through Technology program (EETT)
  • funding Preparing Teachers for Digital Age Learners, and
  • simplifying Erate, fully funding erate, and supporting the bill to permanently exempt Erate from the Anti-Deficiency Act in order to prevent a repeat of the temporary shutdown that occurred.

Every staff person we met with was charming and welcoming, informed, and on board with our recommendations. I hope that this translates into some active support on the part of our senators and congressional members.

On a side note, it was so fun to walk through the halls of our government, armed with purpose, conviction, and appointments to make a difference. Thanks to ISTE for organizing!

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