After a very poor night of sleep, the first day of ACTE Vision 2012 started. ACTE generally holds great conferences with excellent sessions and this year has not disappointed me. The only problem that I have had with the conference is its lack of free WiFi. Part of the opening session promoted free online tools that participants can use to enhance their conference experience, but with WiFi costing $15 per day, those tools aren’t really free.
This is the first major conference I have attended in the last three years that did not provide free WiFi. If one of the goals is to inform educators about what is happening in CTE and share it with other educators, why is the best tool for sharing with those who could not attend not available without a $15 charge?
There were great resources, suggestions, and ideas presented today, but many attendees won’t share those ideas as they happen because of the cost of using WiFi. Hopefully, these ideas will get shared later via Twitter and blog posts, but there is nothing like tweeting during a session to get the full impact of the session. With so many great sessions, being able to find a thread about a session is essential to keeping all educators informed of what is going on around the conference. ISTE is a perfect example of how social media can be used to keep attendees and other educators informed about the great things that are happening in education. I love attending ACTE conferences, but the next step is not to have great mobile applications to enhance the experience, it is to provide reasonable, if not free, Internet access. It worked great last year in St. Louis, but it is a little disappointing in Atlanta to not have free Internet access. Hopefully, the free WiFi will be back when the conference visits Las Vegas.