Denver Day One

by Dean Mattson

I’ve just got back to my hotel after my first full day at ISTE 2010. It went well. Things don’t really get going until tomorrow for me. Today, I tried to find my way around the city and figure out where everything is at the convention center.

Here are some highlights of Day 1:

* The opening keynote was not well received by the attendees. It was given by Jean-Fran├žois Rischard, a former Vice President of the World Bank. Which is too bad because he has a lot of expertise and knowledge. The basic message was that the world political systems are currently not able to apply solutions to very serious problems (or as columnist Thomas Friedman calls them, “suboptimum solutions”), so we’re going to depend on today’s young people to come up with innovations to save us. I mean, talk about adding relevance to our curriculum!

Unfortunately Mr. Rischard was not a very charismatic speaker. His presentation was full of lists and PowerPoint slides such as this one

which he went over in some detail. He has some good insights and I would’ve liked to have heard more about his past experiences as he tried to solve some of these problems. (Doesn’t the World Bank have some influence in these areas?) As it was, I really didn’t get a lot out of it.

* The Conference Kickoff didn’t break any new ground – it basically just went over all the great things ISTE does – but it was a lot of fun. Mario Armstrong, who covers technology for NPR’s Morning Edition, was an energetic host and the event reinforced my conviction to not let things get in the way next year. We have the infrastructure and the knowledge to make Edgemere a model school when it comes to using technology to help students build their own knowledge. Let’s do it!!

* This year I’m staying in an official conference hotel, which makes things easier because they provide shuttles that take me from the hotel to the conference site and back, saving me the trouble of driving or walking (or using Google Maps for the mass transit information, like I had planned.)

* The hotel I’m staying in is HUGE. It’s 11 stories big, has it’s own parking garage and seems to be bustling with activity all the time. The rooms are nice, but from the inside lobby it looks particularly ugly. Just rows of horizontal floors stacked to the ceiling, sort of like one of those old hotels but this is all inside.

Since every floor overlooks the lobby, it also is not the place with anyone thar has a fear of heights. I’ve developed a mild case of this and it freaks me out a little every time I have to leave my room!

Here’s a picture I took looking down towards the lobby. It’s as close as I could get to the ledge.

I have a feeling Alfred Hitchcock could’ve made good use out of this hotel a movie. Freaky!

* Before I left, I purchased the GPS Drive HD app for my iPad to help me to get to my hotel and anyplace else I would want to drive to. It was my first time using any type of GPS device and it was fun. It was amazing how well it kept track of exactly where I was in the city. The information on the map was clear, the voice directions were loud enough and I had enough information at the right time to figure out what to do. Being in a different city, there was one time where I was in the wrong lane to go to the street I wanted to, but the app quickly figured out a new route and everything worked out.

* Since I’m going to do all my writing for this conference on my iPad, I decided I needed to go to the Apple Store so I could get a wireless keyboard. So I decide the best time to go is Sunday morning, right when the store opens at 11 AM. I end up getting to the store at 11:05 and although the mall itself is fairly empty, the Apple Store is already bustling with activity! I wonder if that’s normal or if it’s because of all the conference people in town like me. ;)

Anyway, I find the keyboard and I can’t figure out how to pay for it. There’s not one cash register in the whole store. Finally, I ask someone how I’m supposed to pay for it. She points me with someone and he starts putting in information on his iPod Nano, even using it to scan in my credit card. Finally he goes off to print my receipt and that was it.

* The wireless keyboard works great by the way!

See you tomorrow!

Location:California St,Denver,United States