The IBM Conference Center in Palisades, New York was the setting for this year's annual Fall Tech Forum event, where education thought leaders gathered for a rich, packed day of professional development sessions and networking with colleagues and industry experts. Topics included emerging technologies, ROI in education, 1:1 computing, data driven decision making, leadership, security, and more. With just over 200 attendees, the event encouraged intimate interaction among all within breakout sessions, participatory workshops and roundtable discussions, over table top displays, and during luncheon and end-of-the-day receptions.
Participating education technology leaders delivered keynotes, presented in sessions, moderated panels and were available throughout the day to chat with attendees over the dessert tables, around the lounge fireplace, and during breaks in hallways opening on to broad views of a pond, green lawns, and banks of multicolored trees.
On hand were Jeff Harrow, author of The Harrow Technology Report, whose keynote addressed the broad changes technology has effected over the past 20 years; T&L regular Kim Carter, who spearheaded a lively discussion of 21st century learning communities; and David Warlick, director of the North Carolina-based Landmark Project, who, alongside MIT's Eric Klopfer, explored technology innovations yet to come. Robert Richardson, editorial director of the Computer Security Institute, shared key stats from CSI's FBI-backed security survey; and leadership guru Peter Reilly, author and director of the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center, spoke on shifting the focus of technology leadership from "cables and chips" back to human beings (see this month's cover feature, "Leadership: Walking the Talk," page 20).
Additional highlights of the day included:
* Superintendents Herman Gaither and Tom Stapleford, along with Cleveland Municipal School District's former CIO Peter Robertson, addressing ways of "Maximizing the Educational ROI of Your Technology Program."
* Three perspectives on 1:1 computing--with Hartland Michigan teacher Mo Shorr describing the ways in which her students learn with handheld technology throughout the day; Corinne Carriero, director of instructional computing for Half Hollow Hills School District, sharing lessons learned from a long-term laptop program; and Technology director Joe Hofmeister describing why the Cincinnati Country Day School equips each of its students with a tablet PC. Says Hofmeister of the program, "It's the hardest, but best, thing we have ever done with technology. …