NECC is an occasion to take stock every year. These are the bottlenecks I see in ed-tech, or at least the part of ed-tech that I'm interested in (this probably isn't news):
- Utter chaos around privacy, safety and liability. The "practical" advice being promoted seems out of sync with empirical evidence, but much worse, there just doesn't seem to be any doctrine to guide decision making. I have absolutely no clue how we work our way out of this mess, because ultimately, the problems are driven by anxious parents, who aren't exactly rational actors.
- Out of control web filtering. Again, what's the doctrine? There seem to be no professional guidelines. We've got a situation akin to letting the clerks in the purchasing department decide whether or not the books ordered by teachers and librarians are acceptable. This one at least could be addressed by some of our professional organizations, if they're willing to show some spine and dive into this mess.
- The economic model of ed-tech. How is this market even supposed to work? Just look at something like games in education. Explain to me how this works economically? Really. It is 2007 and every teacher doesn't have a school-supplied laptop. WTF? We need fewer people reading management gurus and more figuring out ways to make the accounting work.
Everything else we talk about at NECC doesn't matter much until we solve these.