ISTE Changes This Year’s Policy; Bloggers Still Lose

I guess the biggest frustration to me regarding the “Oh no – we didn’t realize the policy and now we’re certain that ISTE’s out to get independent media and citizen journalists and quash the edupunks and destroy any chance of education reform ever in the history of forever!” hysteria over ISTE’s NECC audio/video policy is that so many of my colleagues, people whom I respect and value, are probably going to end today or start next week thinking that this conversation and its tone was/is/shall forever be a fine example of the power of blogs and new media to make change.  And that would be wrong.

The problem I have with seeing this as a victory is that the bloggers in this one come out looking like a cross between Chicken Little and Tony Soprano.  And that’s not a good thing.  In the past 24 hours, I’ve read misstatements, threats, assumptions, and lazy research.   “I’m taking my ball and going home” lines, too.  From educators.  Attempting to solve a problem. It’s disappointing.  A rational, responsible, and patient tone would have been much better than some most of what I’ve seen and read in regards to this issue.

I’ll be the first to say that I’m pleased to see the policy changed, albeit temporarily. It was an old rule that didn’t fit the current media landscape. ISTE, I hope, would be the first to say that. And I’m pleased that so many bloggers felt compelled to address the issue. But I’d like to think that some more patient and questioning language might have been used in the “investigation.”  Questions inviting dialogue, perhaps, rather than assumptions and anger.  I felt like we were headed up the mountain to the monster’s castle, pitchforks and torches in hand.

We’d never let our students get away with this type of conclusion jumping and invective.  And so, we shouldn’t be happy about the methods, but we should be pleased about the outcome.  I hope the folks who make it to the table in future conversations on this and other matters of policy and disagreement are those who approach with patience and kindness, checking their assumptions at the door.  And I hope that, if I’m ever guilty of such poor choices in language and attitude, that you’ll be quick to call me on it.

My goal here is not so much to place blame – but to suggest that perhaps we could all do better.  I know I’ve been guilty of getting excited and forgetting to do a gutcheck in the past.  Let’s all try not to do that.  There are too many rules and policies and issues and problems and situations that need changing and will require our best work.

17 thoughts on “ISTE Changes This Year’s Policy; Bloggers Still Lose

  1. Bud,
    I’m starting to pack for NECC. So no need to bring my voice recorder or laptop camera?!? I bet many presenters would be fine with some “live” sharing of their sessions via podcasts or even UStreaming, but how involved would it be to get permission from ISTE? Does the ISTE policy apply to Saturday’s EdubloggerCon?

    Still a bit puzzled over the policy, but very appreciative of your drawing attention to it.


  2. I hope the tone of my post didn’t come across as reactionary. I simply wanted to juxtaposition it against other policies I thought were more in line with my own thinking. I realized there was likely more to the story than met the eye and simply wanted to raise the issue. I try not to be reactionary but the “power of the pen” sometimes is too much. Thanks.

    Dean Shareskis last blog post..ISTE, What up?

  3. Dean,

    Not at all. I linked to your post where and when I did because I found it to be more along the lines of what I was talking about – constructive, suggestive, and questioning a situation – not firebombing or reacting. I’m sorry I didn’t make that clearer in the post.

  4. Bud, I did not rant on my blog yesterday, but I did email as Miguel had requested, and have now shared it with my readers (my rant/their response). I am impressed with their response, and I’m glad I did email, even if it was a tad knee-jerk in style. I am praying that Alan November & BLC are watching closely. I apologize if I sounded childish too, or personified the country southerner with pitchfork in hand and snuff under the lip. But I am delighted with a personalized response that mentions specifics from my initial rant. I just wonder how many got a personal response…

    Cathy Nelsons last blog post..ISTE responded to me personally

  5. Thanks for a great post. There is power in blogs, Nings, Twitter, etc. to inform and mobilize individuals toward a common cause. There is also the power to cause a bit of mob mentality if we aren’t careful. This time it was for a noble cause and done with positive intentions, but reactionary just the same. I guess we’re all human after all. The good news is that humans can learn 🙂

  6. Bud, I could care less if some perceive this to be “blog power” or not. Transparency and openness don’t always reveal a beautiful face…sometimes it’s a bearded one (smile).

    What I am grateful for is that I was able to quickly get the word out via blog and twitter, encourage others to write a letter–and I thought my example was appropriate–and share the results.

    Also, ISTE’s decision has repercussions in my state that you’re unaware of. To see them take an authoritarian stand was disheartening. I see their decision to listen to their members as a victory, not over an organization, but a victory for ed-tech leaders that we ALL share in.

    Yes, there were some who took the opportunity to take pot-shots at ISTE, whether via twitter or comments or blogs. However, the focus remains on a simple fact that edubloggers spoke, and ISTE folks LISTENED. It’s reciprocal communication and I’m grateful.

    Dialogue like this may happen a lot where you’re at, but it’s not a universal experience in K-12 education. Mark Ahlness said it well in the comments at Wes Fryer’s blog.

    Ok, let’s focus on the next steps and continuing and deepening the dialogue.

  7. All I know is that I got together a list of the sessions I wanted to ustream (those that were “official” sessions) — asked for permission from ISTE – confirmed permission from the others being there and then was done. I was told that ustreaming is considered “amateur” video and that wasn’t really an issue in the policy.

    I didn’t realize there was a problem until I saw everyone up at arms. I didn’t see that the policy restricted hallway recordings, etc.

    I do think that if someone’s session is ustreamed or podcast that the presenter should always be asked if it is OK. The writing thing was a bit of a bummer – but OK, get a piece of paper — I do agree, though that ISTE having to give it in writing for each time was way too prohibitive.

    I don’t know — but every time I emailed ISTE, they’ve been more than accommodating. I don’t have time to go into the history of everything that happened but wonder if ISTE was emailed before blog posts were put out there. If not, I agree with Bud. Check things out then post.

    Vicki Daviss last blog post..Math Videos and Math Cast Innovation in Sixth grade

  8. @Miguel – Your letter and aggregation of the conversation were certainly useful and productive – and I thank you for them. I wonder why, though, Texas’s situation allows for some sort of special permission to write in bold, hyperbolic strokes that veered on occasion from the precision and accuracy that I usually see in, and admire about, much of your work. Perhaps you can fill us in on that.

    Certainly, good and healthy dialogue is no more common in Colorado than I suspect it is in Texas. That makes our words and actions all the more crucial.

    I look forward to the continuing conversation about how to navigate rights and permissions and access at these types of events, as well as in classrooms.

  9. Bud, I’ve been completely open about why I wrote about this issue.

    Too bad you don’t see it from where you stand. However, I do hope that what we both can see in common will help us develop a uniform policy that is fair to noncommercial podcasters, as well as protects those who do not use Creative Commons Copyright ShareAlike-Attribution-NonCommercial or use GPL.

    At the risk of sending the wrong message…

    And even though I know how very far apart we are,
    It helps to think we might be wishing
    On the same bright star…
    It helps to think we’re working underneath the
    Same big sky.



  10. Vicki, yes, change always happens when we ask for it. . .except when it doesn’t. I like Mary Catherine Swanson’s words:

    Power concedes nothing without demand–never has, never will. As we seek the courage to overcome, we must remember our students. We now face a critical juncture. We can change the course of history. Those who define the issues also determine the outcome.

    So, I’m grateful to ISTE for making the policy change. I’m sure the planning for NECC 2009 will encompass more voices.

    Take care,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.