Sunday, June 27, 2010

ISTE 2010 - Opening Keynote - Jean François Rischard

The time has arrived for ISTE 2010 to begin. After reuniting with old friends and "tweeps" from around the world, I made my way into the theater to listen to the opening keynote address and the presentation of a number of awards. Some of my convention colleagues prefer to watch the keynote from the Blogger's Cafe on the closed-circuit feed, but I like to enjoy the pomp and circumstance first hand. It makes writing my blog entries feel more authentic to really "live" the experience instead of watching it on TV. Tonight was one of the first times I've been disappointed with such an important keynote speech and wished I stayed in the Blogger Cafe and watched the keynote with my colleagues. Read my post to find out why..

The first item of business this evening was the address by the President of ISTE, Dr. Helen Padgett, who is just finishing her term.The theme of this year's conference is "Exploring Excellence". She talked about being an ISTE Explorer. She talked about transforming education and said that educators were making a difference in a place where people are known explorers. ISTE has been exploring the world and giving a boost to people who needed help to make their vision a reality. There are now 89 affiliated countries with ISTE. There is a common desire that is shared amongst educators around the world and that is caring for the wellbeing of our world's children. Digital age skills - expanded the reach and scope of NETS. ISTE has worked for a global reach for learning with a local impact.They have also worked with UNESCO and shares the belief that teachers keep up with the changes in technology. New standards are coming in 2011. She also spoke about the advocacy role for ISTE to ensure the sustained support of educational technology from government bodies.

During her speech, Padgett launched:
  • the launch of a new ISTE website (on in September which will ensure easier access to resources and books and a better interface to navigate.
Some of this year's awards were presented tonight, the ISTE Young Educator Award, the ISTE Public Policy Advocate of the Year and the ISTE Public Policy Advocacy Trendsetter.

The keynote speaker tonight is from France, Jean François Rischard.
Rischard is a global leader in education. His book is called High Noon: Twenty Global Problems, 20 Years to solve them  which has been published in 15 languages.

His presentation was a number of very wordy power point slides. The theme was: Navigating in Turbulant  Times: The world's urgent need for an innovative approach to global problem-solving....and the crucial role of education in helping us get there.

Main 7 points of his presentation:

  1. A 1000 year perspective on what we are going through: spoken (mid-evil times), printed industrial revolution), digital (current day). The time we live in now (digital) is a period of Hyper-change where change is growing at an unmanageable rate. This is also referred to as "Hyper-Complexity". The period is so complex because of population increase and the new economy. Two big forces are producing this explosion in change and complexity and are testing the limits of our planet. This is creating a large gap between these forces and human institutions and mindsets.
  2. Global problems are left unresolved - these are problems that are too large for one nation to solve on its own. Ex: climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, water shortage, poverty, global financial stability, biotechnology research.
  3. We only have 20 years to act because of the global credit crisis, the ageing time bomb, convention oil depletion, ecological footprint, dangerous climate change.
  4. Sharing our Planet, Sharing our Humanity, Sharing our Humanity, Sharing our Footprint
  5. Traditional solutions or mechanisms are not working: treaties and conventions are too slow, Big UN summits are too off and on and confusing, G8, G-20 type groupings are too reactive and super ficial and some 45 international organizations cannot handle global problems alone.
  6. Global issues network as a solution: Proposed his plan for how this agency would work.
  7. Vertical and horizontal: a new interplay between legitimacy. - There is an urgent need for getting  a critical mass ready to deal with these major world problem.
The keynote was disappointing. It did nothing a keynote was suppose to do. The speaker only depressed us with the world ending in 20 years and making fun of government. His slides were only words and hard to read in a huge theater. There was no energy or inspiration that came out of this speech. The audience was too polite (for the most part) not to leave and many had trouble staying awake. I was excited at first that the keynote speaker was from France (being someone who teaches in French), but I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up so high I guess. The only time the audience laughed was when the speaker made light of the role of bureaucrats and their inability to create change quickly. His message about the need for the world to address important issues and involving our students in the solving of these problems was lost in a mess of words and arrows in his Power Point presentation.

The very end was a bit redeeming as he spoke briefly about his 20 for 20 project with students from around the world. This is something that I would have loved to hear more about instead of it being an add on at the end of a rather dull keynote. I think that the Student News Action Ning is something I will visit for sure.

Finally, at the end of the keynote, his conclusion threw the challenge out to those who work in education to get young people the tools and knowledge required to deal with these problems.

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