Sunday, March 29, 2009

Louisville - Saturday

By Saturday, most attendees seemed very pleased with the overall conference experience - though maybe showing some signs of tiring! 

There were several highlights on Saturday morning. The first was the TECA Manufacturing Contest - held in the Marriott. Many teams competed to see which could
 produce the most efficient "sorting" device. It was interesting and exciting to watch the manufactured
 pieces being put to the test. (One such test being shown here.)

Another highlight was the Teaching Technology Showcase (Technology Festival) held in the Convention Center. Quite a few
 teachers brought their materials to share with the crowd that attended. Pictured here is Tech Fest co-organizer, Curtis Funkhouser with Jerry Day from the University of Maryland - Eastern Shore. 

The culmination of the day, as well as of the Conference was the Awards and Recognition Luncheon. After an enjoyable meal, attendees were able to share in the excitement as a number of the highest professional recognition awards were presented. 

For those of you who attended the conference, we hope that your experience was educational, rewarding, and enjoyable. For those of you who were unable to attend, we hope you'll be able
 to make the trip next year to join your colleagues in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In a few days, the complete Louisville Conference photo slideshow will be available and a link will be posted here as well as on the ITEA website. Please be sure to check back.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Louisville - Friday

Friday morning kicked off with a live quartet of Kentucky-style music to go along with the coffee and breakfast. A large group gathered to watch and listen before heading into the morning's General Session. The Session itself had a memorable start with a race trumpeter to call the session to order. 

Many of Friday's big events centered around Nate Ball, host of PBS's Design Squad and our Second General Session speaker. Nate captured the attention of the large crowd by sharing his experiences as an engineering whiz from a young age - including blowing up his mother's kitchen with rocket fuel - complete with diagrams. Nate went on toMIT and is now a successful engineer, inventor, and TV host. After his presentation, Nate and Conference Honorary Chair were presented with customized Louisville Slugger bats by incoming ITEA President Ed Denton. 

Also at the Friday Generation Session, teachers from a number of states received the prestigious "Teacher Excellence" Awards. The winners are pictured here. Also presented at the same session were the "Distinguished Technology Educator" Awards.

Later in the day, Nate "dropped in" to the Exhibit Hall via his patented "Rapid Ascender." The ENTIRE Exhibit Hall stopped what it was doing to turn its full attention on Nate's multiple ascents to the very top of the hall, all the while explaining how the invention was developed as well as some of its very useful applications. 

The Exhibit Hall enjoyed a second full day of visits by attendees before closing at 4pm.
Immediately afterward, there were a large number of people in attendance at the "Tool 
Time" presentation put on by several members from Pittsburg State University. The session was greatly appreciated by the audience. 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Louisville - Thursday

The first full day of conference activities kept all the attendees busy in Louisville today. We kicked off the day with a memorable presentation given by Alfie Kohn. According to Kohn's website, his "criticisms of competition and rewards have been widely discussed and debated, and he has been described in Time magazine as "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores." Kohn had the very large general session crowd laughing as well as looking at the topics of assessment and standardized testing in a whole new light. He also directed anyone seeking further information about his work to reference his website at
Another highlight of the first general session was the much-anticipated presentation
 of the Program Excellence Awards. It's always inspirational to watch these teachers and 
their programs get this much-deserved recognition. It's also always impressive to see all the past Program Excellence Award recipients stand and be recognized. 

Immediately following the general session was the grand opening of the exhibit floor. Throngs of attendees flowed around the exhibits, spending time speaking one-on-one with vendors and learning about a number of new products. Thursday also including a full slate of special interest sessions on a wide variety of topics. 

There are so many interesting people here. Two who caught my particular attention are the ladies pictured below, holding their traveling companions: two "Flat Stanleys." 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Louisville - Wednesday

It was a rainy day in Louisville but Wednesday provided a steady stream of attendees all day long. Many attendees were involved in preconference workshops, but plenty of others were checking in and socializing in the registration area. 

If the number of free Advancing Excellence in Technological Literacy copies distributed were any indication, the number of attendees is fairly impressive. They were literally flying out of the Resource Booth. 

First thing this morning the Exhibit Hall was a giant empty shell. By the end of the day, however, it had undergone a transformation - one which will reach it's culmination tomorrow morning at 11 with the grand opening of the vendor exhibit area. (Pictures to come tomorrow.)
The official conference kick-off began with the Welcome Reception at the Marriott at 6pm. The reception was VERY well attended with a really big mix of people. Pictured below are Lauren Olson and some of her closest friends. 

Tomorrow will be another busy day in Louisville. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Welcome to Louisville!

Downtown Louisville is starting to fill with ITEA members! Today was a day of arrivals and preparation. The lobby of the Downtown Marriott (ITEA's headquarters hotel) was almost always busy with teachers greeting one another, often after a year or more. 

ITEA staff and volunteers spent much of the day making all the final arrangements and preparations for tomorrow's very full slate of events. 
Thanks to numerous hours of box moving and unpacking, the Registration Area and Resource Booth will be ready for business at 11am on Wednesday morning.  Pictured at right are former ITEA Presidents (and dedicated Resource Booth volunteers, Ron Yuill, DTE and Steve Moorhead, DTE.

It was a pleasant surprise to find that the thriving area of Fourth Street Live was literally
a short, one-block walk from the Convention Center. Full of great restaurants and various
other forms of entertainment, Fourth Street Live is a great venue for an evening out in downtown Louisville. 

The stage is set - let the conference begin!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Where to Eat in Louisville - a Local Perspective

Submitted by “Guest Blogger” and ITEA Past President, Andy Stephenson, DTE. Andy is a local Kentuckian.

All visitors to Downtown Louisville will want to visit 4th Street Live, which is only two blocks from the ITEA hotels. This is where the action is. Dining includes some traditional stops like TGI Friday’s and Hard Rock CafĂ©. However, there are also choices with more local flair such as the Makers Mark Bourbon House & Lounge, where bourbon is an ingredient in many dishes and most nights there is live Jazz. (This is one of my personal favorites, though it can be a bit pricey). Additionally, the Red Star Tavern boasts steaks, pasta and seafood and some unique drinks and microbrews. If you are looking for some fun and light food, there is always the Lucky Strike Bowling Alley with, in additional to typical bowling alley food, an extensive list of unique flavored items such as Tuna Lolllipops and Turkey Brie wraps. Sully’s Restaurant & Saloon is a local favorite for good food and fun. A great place to relax and enjoy the evening. There’s even a food court with fast food like Wendy’s and Subway for the budget-conscious.

You can walk two blocks north to the river and enjoy a fun meal at Joe’s Crab Shack. The Bristol on West Main Street is a short walk from the hotel and is a Louisville original featuring local flavor including the infamous Kentucky Hot Brown and an extensive wine selection. Great Food and moderately priced. If you try the Bristol, I personally recommend the Artichoke Fritters/w remoulade or the Green Chili Won Tons for appetizers.

Of course if you would like to experience Southern Hospitality at its finest there is always the Oak Room at the Seelbach Hotel—a short walk from the convention area. The Old Seelback Bar is a treasure just to see, not to mention the finest bourbon and wine selections in town. But the warm Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie is the ultimate in Kentucky desserts!

If you would like a breathtaking view of the city, there is the Rivue, a revolving rooftop restaurant with fine local cuisine located at the top of the Galt House Hotel on the river just a five-minute walk from the Convention Center. This is extremely beautiful after dark.

Finally, we hope that on Thursday evening, everyone will join us for the special private ITEA dinner event at the Kentucky Derby Museum. The Museum is located on the front steps of historic Churchill Downs and is one of Kentucky’s premiere cultural attractions. To participate, you’ll need to purchase a ticket from the ITEA Registration Area at the Kentucky International Convention Center prior to Thursday at noon.

Enjoy your stay in Louisville! 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

ITEA attends ASCD

The following was submitted by Guest Blogger and ITEA President, Len Litowitz, DTE:

ITEA recently exhibited at the annual conference of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ACSD) held in Orlando, Florida March 14th - 16th. Representing ITEA were Len Litowitz, ITEA President, and ITEA members Annette Rose (Ball State University), Jennifer Lee (Old Dominion University), and James Boe (Valley City State University).  The purpose of ITEA attending the ASCD conference and exhibiting at the convention was to help the ITEA build a greater presence for the Technology Education profession among the greater education community. Additionally, university representatives shared information about technology education teacher preparation programs and master's degree programs with interested conference attendees.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Louisville Preview

Here at ITEA headquarters we are "off to the races" in terms of conference preparations. It's been a hectic few months, but today the loaded truck of conference materials left our office to head off to Kentucky - where ITEA's annual conference will begin one week from today.


Based on our preregistration numbers, quite a few of you will be attending the conference, so I thought I'd post a few helpful links pertaining to Louisville. 


Since food is uppermost in many people's minds, I'll start with this helpful link to a site that allows you to search for restaurants based on a number of criteria (including location and type of cuisine). That link is:


The weather in Louisville today is 64 degrees and sunny - which is fairly typical for mid-March. For the latest weather forecast, as you prepare to pack, check the following link:


Another helpful site is called "Hello Louisville" ( Here you can look up a variety of information about the city including things to do, maps, restaurants, facts and places, and entertainment.


And just for fun, take a look at a live webcam shot of Fourth Street Live:


Fourth Street Live is a large complex of dining, entertainment, and shopping. According to the website (


Fourth Street Live! is Louisville’s premier dining, entertainment and retail destination located on Fourth Street, between Liberty Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard, in the heart of historic downtown Louisville, KY. Just a short walk from downtown hotels, waterfront park, Main Street, Slugger Field, and other major attractions, Fourth Street Live! is your one stop destination for dining, entertainment, and shopping!

Restaurant and entertainment venues include Hard Rock Cafe, Red Star Tavern, The Improv Comedy Club, TGIFriday’s, The Pub, Sully’s, J. Gumbo’s and the world’s first Maker’s Mark Bourbon House & Lounge.  Bars and nightclubs include; Tengo Sed Cantina, Angel’s RockBar, Hotel, Saddle Ridge, and Sully’s.  Live music is featured nightly at Howl at the Moon.

Fourth Street Live! also features a major food court with restaurants such as Wendy’s, Subway, and Rocky Rococo’s Pizza.  Retail amenities include Borders Books & Music, Foot Locker, T-Mobile, Ginny’s Hallmark, and GameStop.

Hopefully these sites will give you a taste of all the great things we'll be experiencing next week as we prepare to descend on Louisville. For last-minute conference-specific information, please visit ITEA's website at

The ITEA staff and Board of Directors looks forward to seeing all of you in one short week!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Technological Literacy vs. Technical Competency

Today's posting was submitted by "Guest Blogger" Dr. William E. Dugger, Jr., DTE 

Dr. Dugger is a Senior Fellow at ITEA and was instrumental in the creation of the technological literacy standards. 

There appears to be widespread confusion today between technological literacy and technical competency. They are NOT the same. Technological literacy is defined in ITEA's  Standards for Technical Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology (ITEA 2000, 2002,

 2007, p.9) as a person's ability to use, manage, assess, and understand technology. According to the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council in its publication: Technically Speaking, Why All Americans Need to Know More About Technology (NAE, NRC, 2002, p. 22), technological literacy is more a capacity to understand the broader technological world than an ability to work with specific processes of it. On the other hand, technical competency is one's ability to have a high degree of knowledge and skill related to one or more specific technologies or technical areas. Literacy focuses on breadth of understanding of the technological world while competence is concerned with depth of understanding and skills in a specific technical area(s). Having technical skills do not guarantee technological literacy. Literacy is what all people need while competency is what some people need in a technical a career.   

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

‘2009 Global Marathon For, By and About Women in Engineering’

National Engineers Week Foundation’s Global Marathon For, By and About Women in Engineering is a 24-hour virtual event that strives to educate and inform women worldwide about opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

This year’s event, themed “Connecting Women to Engineer a Better Future; Because Dreams Need Doing,” will begin at noon Eastern time on March 11 and end at noon Eastern on March 12. The event, now in its fifth year, is a combination of live Internet chats and teleconferences, accessible to anyone around the globe.  

“According to a National Science Foundation study, men outnumber women 3 to 1 in all sectors of science and engineering careers in the U.S. First and foremost, the Global Marathon provides a forum to share information about opportunities in science and engineering for women; but just as important, the event raises the awareness of this critical issue.”

The Global Marathon brings together speakers from a variety of technology backgrounds, who discuss in 30- or 60-minute increments a range of topics related to women in technology and engineering. The complete schedule of speakers and how to access their presentations will be posted at

The event will begin in North America, then “follow the sun” for 24 hours through five other regions – Mexico/Latin America, the United Kingdom/Europe, India, China, Africa and the Middle East -- before returning to North America for the closing.

The closing session will feature prerecorded highlights of a day-long event to be held at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J. on March 9. Approximately 200 middle-school girls from the Girls Inc. of New York City program at the Urban Assembly Institute of Math and Science for Young Women, will attend the event, which is intended to raise the girls’ awareness about science and technology. 

Also on March 9, the girls will attend a special showing of highlights from “INNOVATE: Engineering Change,” a documentary that will air on public television beginning April 1. This special is a production of Creative Expansions Inc., presented by KCTS-Seattle Public Television and distributed by American Public Television.

The documentary takes viewers behind the scenes of the work of a diverse group of scientists and engineers who have developed turbines designed to generate electricity from moving water. The documentary profiles the group’s pilot project in New York City’s East River. All of the team members will attend the Verizon Business event on March 9 to describe their experiences with the turbine project and answer the questions of the middle-school girls, who will also attend.  Following the video and discussion, Spitz will invite the girls to write an essay on a famous female scientist and her contribution to society. A webcast, posted to Verizon Foundation’s Thinkfinity Web site, will highlight the winners and their essays. 

In addition to the Global Marathon’s 24 hours of virtual programming, the National Engineers Week Foundation is sponsoring a global text-messaging contest. Participants can take the perspective of an engineer or scientist and describe “The Dream You'd Do” in 40 words or less, then post their entries on the Global Marathon Web site. Those taking part worldwide in the Global Marathon can vote for their favorites. The winning entries (one per region) will be announced March 16, and each winner will receive a mobile phone.