Very soon I’ll be leaving to attend the ISTE conference, which begins Sunday in Chicago. I’m going as much to see some old friends and explore the city as to attend the event. But it’s a good excuse to do both.
While planning for the trip, I realized that the last time I was in Chicago was 2001, a visit that also included the conference then known as NECC. The bag shown in the pictures above was given to every attendee that year and is illustrative of how things have changed in 17 years.
For one thing, the bag is faux leather with embroidered logos and was stuffed full of paper, including a thick, ad-filled conference program. As opposed to the flimsy bag made of recycled material and containing much less paper we’ll probably be getting at registration this year.
No complaints about the more ecological approach, however, although the heavier canvas bags of ISTE/NECC past do make wonderful reusable grocery bags.
NECC in Chicago 2001 was also memorable for the opening keynote speaker, Steve Jobs. As I recall, the speech itself was not very good. He did a lot of promotion for the then relatively new iMac and other Apple products, and offered very little visionary inspiration. But I’m not sure most other ISTE keynoters are much better.
Jobs’ appearance and the expensive conference bags his company paid for were only part of Apple’s high profile at the conference. They also occupied a huge booth on the vendor floor and I still have one of the polo shirts (mere t-shirts were not good enough) they gave away.
Apple will certainly have a presence at this year’s ISTE but mostly in the form of the wide use of their devices by participants and many vendor sessions (with long lines) on using their products.
They won’t be in the expo hall. The large space at the main entrance they used to have will now be occupied by Google. Which also illustrates how things have changed in the business of edtech over the past two decades.
Both companies are selling millions of devices into the classroom, but only one is making most of it’s profits from them. The other is in the business of selling ads and data. It should make you wonder why they’re such a major presence at an education conference.
Anyway, that’s a rant for another day. I have some packing to do.
I should also charge the many batteries I’ll be taking to Chicago. Another big difference between now and 17 years ago. Did we even have wifi in 2001?