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The Merger Continues


In the fall of 2022, ISTE and ASCD announced they would be merging. At the time, I ranted that it seemed like an odd combination.

Eighteen months later, it still does.

And the process of merging the two organizations continues despite my puzzlement.

Last month ISTE sent us members some “exciting news”: starting in 2025 they will be “co-locating the ISTELive and ASCD annual conferences!”.

Now I completely understand the savings that might result from holding two events in the same place at the same time. But it sounds like the combination goes beyond just “co-locating”.

By registering to attend either ISTELive or the ASCD Annual conference, you automatically unlock access to both conference programs covering innovative teaching, leadership, and learning across all instructional roles. In addition, you’ll enjoy a series of joint learning experiences featuring exciting mainstage programming, an integrated expo focused on learning, and a series of blended content at the intersection of curriculum and digital innovation.

But there’s much more to this merger beyond simply mashing together two programs and “integrating” the vendor halls. I’m more curious about how the leaders of these organizations plan to combine two very different cultures.

The ISTE conference has always been something of a carnival, with an emphasis on flashy, new, and largely unproven edtech. That was especially true in the decade before the pandemic as the expo floor expanded and the influence of the vendors massively grew.

ASCD national meetings, on the other hand, are smaller with a focus much more on instruction and school leadership, with content presented more by the membership than from publishers and companies.1

Anyway, I will continue to have many more questions about this combination than the organizations are currently providing answers to. Just combining the two vendor floors at the conference should prove very interesting.

I may have to be in San Antonio next June to witness this for myself.

The photo shows the poster session area of the ISTE Conference in San Antonio 2013. That is a relatively small part of the overall event that probably drew 20,000 participants.

1. That’s an outsider’s impression. I could be wrong.

1 Comment

  1. Jennifer

    I think your sense of ASCD’s annual conference is pretty solid. Having attended both (although it’s been a few years since I’ve been to ISTE’s conference), I am having trouble wrapping my head around how this is going to work. It made the ASCD conference in DC a few weeks ago feel a bit bittersweet as it seemed like the end of something.

    I’m not thrilled by the ‘co-locating’ or by the idea of being in San Antonio in late June, but I’m thinking it’s worth my effort to see how it all plays out.

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