If you ever have an opportunity to attend one of the conferences or workshops sponsored by The Martin Institute in Memphis, Tennessee, definitely go! This past September at their conference, educators in attendance won FIVE brand new Apple iPads along with several Flip Video cameras as door prizes. Now that’s what you call Christmas in September!

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A second outstanding thing about the 2010 Martin Institute Conference was the clear way every presenter was asked to share their permissions for photography, blogging, and videography. As you can see on the official conference schedule, each presenter’s session included easy-to-identify graphics showing what permissions had or had not been granted for recording and sharing IN ADVANCE.

Session Recording Permissions

Each presenter was provided with a PowerPoint / Keynote slide template to utilize in their presentation as well, which clarified granted recording and sharing permissions with these same icons. I think this procedure should become a “best practice” not only at educational technology conferences, but at other conferences as well.

A third thing I loved about this Memphis conference was that EVERY session was streamed live over Ustream and recorded / archived. Check out my October 2nd podcast interview with Martin Institute Executive Director Clif Mims for more background. Ustream archives for each session are available on the conference wiki. (There may be a couple of sessions that were missed, but I think almost ALL of them were Ustreamed successfully.) Clif is @clifmims on Twitter.

The most controversy I’ve seen over recording and sharing was at EduBloggerCon 2008. Prior to the NECC 2008 conference, ISTE actually issued a blanket BAN on all podcast recording without the explicit permission of conference session presenters. ISTE did revise that policy, but the issue of recording and sharing conference sessions can be a touchy one not only for ISTE but other conferences / organizations / individuals as well. I think Clif Mims and his MICON team did a great job modeling how presenters can be asked about their recording preferences IN ADVANCE of a conference, and the conference program itself (as well as presenter slide decks, if used) can reflect those preferences in a clear, consistent manner. Hopefully we’ll see more conference organizers follow their lead in the months and years ahead.

The Martin Institute’s fall conference was adjacent to the Tennessee TeachMeet, which is a regular “unconference” event similar to EdCamp. These kinds of grass-roots, free, face-to-face conferences are also WONDERFUL and thankfully on the rise. I hope we an have an EdCampOKC next Spring sometime. Similar in spirit to the free and virtual K-12 Online Conference, these face-to-face events are all about educators sharing innovative ideas with each other. Those are powerful ingredients indeed!

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  • http://www.DarrenWilson.net Darren Wilson

    I couldn’t help but comment in the “no blogging” icon in the session description. It actually says “Sharing not allowed” on the conference webpage when you hover over the icon. I am absolutely perplexed by that statement. Why would anyone in this day and age volunteer to present at a conference and NOT want their ideas shared? Weird.

    Two of the three instances I saw were from higher ed. Another head-shaker. Sad.

  • http://gbraddock.blogspot.com Gail B

    I too thought that the Martin Institute was a class conference as a presenter and attendee. I was impressed how Clif “mobilized the troops.” I know he had a great deal of help from Presbyterian Day School and Martin Institute “fellows.” Congrats to Clif and the Martin Institute’s first year. I hope they garner continued success!

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