Power of a Collective Voice

During any election year it is common to hear the importance of making your voice be heard. Many in the educational technology community demonstrated this act last week when an unpopular and outdated policy came to light. The policy in question regarded the auido/video recording of presentaitons. As of last Thursday ISTE’s policy stated that the practice or recording presenations at NECC was prohibited unless the person recording the presentation has express writen consent from both the presentor (reasonable) and ISTE (???).  It is understandable to gain consent from the presentor. Eventhough these presentations are open to any registered atendee of the NECC conference with the goal of reaching large audiences, some people do not like to be recorded. I understand that some people like to control the availability of their presentations. What I do not understand is why ISTE would require consent. One would assume they have already approved the presentation and presentor as they have reviewed the submitted presentation proposal. This issue is not the focus of my writing, as this issue has be modified already.

The focus of my writing is the actions of those members opposed to this policy. I am not sure when this policy first became public, but I became aware of this policy last Thursday when the disucssion became lively by those I follow on Twitter.  With the conference beginning in just over a week, little time remained to follow old school means of addressing this issue. From my understanding this policy is a recycled policy from previous years. This policy was not clearly advertised last year as I recorded several presentations I attended last year in Atlanta. As I previously noted, I am not sure exactly when this policy was made public prior to last Thursday. I submitted a proposal at the beginning of the school year, my proposal was rejected but that is a topic for another post, and I do not recall any literature on this issue at that time. From the reaction of those on Twitter it seemed as if ISTE had only recently published this policy.

As a teacher one of my responsiblities is to teach my students to made use of all proper channels available to them. The limited time available prior to the start of the NECC conference stressed an immediacy to those opposed to this policy. As a result, many leaders in educational blogging began to publish postings clearly identifying their opposition to this policy. Example of these are here, here, here, here, here, and here. The previous is just a sample of the blog posting I read within hours of the orginial conversation on Twitter. In additional to the posting many of these bloggers addressed the proper chain of command and made good use of their ISTE memberships and emailed the decision makers within ISTE. I agree with the positions of these and other educational bloggers and intended on send an email and post the email to this blog on Friday. By the time I returned to my laptop and concluding a wrestling camp I was pleasently surprised to find out that ISTE had addressed the issue. As a result of the grassroots efforts, to rehash another election season phrase, ISTE changed the outdated policy.

To me, this is a great example of members of an organization who oppose the decisions of the groups leaders having a meaningful conversation. I am aware that some people do not full agree with the quick reaction of many of these bloggers, but to me this was a proper response. I do not agree with the claim that the changed policy was outdated and overlooked. I feel that it is the responsibility of both the leadership and the members of a group of bring awareness to policies that have expired their need. This incident reminds me of a website that my college roommates and I would use for entertainment. Dumblaws.com is a website that lists laws, according to this website, are still on the books in the indicated states. While some of these laws have lost their neccessity, others are simply ignorant and harmful to our progress. It is our responsiblity to bring awareness to our leaders when these policies exist in a time when they should no longer.

Enjoy your day,

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