Two sides of the coin
Shortly after posting all my "loot" from ISTE, I found this tweet by Glenn Wiebe entitled "Amen, on (not) missing ISTE 2013. Someone is purposely not (and happy about it) going to ISTE?! How can that be?
There is a good question brought up in what we trade for the stuff.
For me, I am purposeful in giving my work information. I can easily throw away junk mail at work and we have a good filtering on email (and it is easy to unsubscribe). However, it is a required trade...my information for their stuff.
Quality was another point.
Great point actually! I don't give much thought to the quality of things as I am cruising the floor. I am all in for the best junk that I can get. I figure the advertising on the side of a pen, is just like any other picked up pen. The toys are just toys for my kids to play with for awhile and then throw out.
However, I did hear one educator critique the venders product, as well as communicating their thoughts with them. We have to do this! It is good for us and them (if there are those brave ones to speak up). The one area that I will be looking at quality control is with iPad cases. I brought four home very purposely. To examine myself and for my preservice teachers to consider as well.
In general, I do think we need to examine, evaluate, and explore the products. Case in point the surface device. I am one that accepted the offer of the free device. Yes, I know the reports have not been all that favorable. In fact our IT department alerted us to some of the issues earlier in the year. This was a very smart move for Microsoft, in my opinion. Equip techie teachers with a free tech tool (one that has carried a somewhat bad rap). Not only that but offer a greatly discounted rate for additional device purchases.
Is it about selling? Of course! It doesn't seem like you can go to any conference without some venders and/or allure of a prize/free stuff. However, sometimes you will just about do anything to equip your classroom!
Will I return to ISTE? Yes I probably will. And if I do, will I return to the Expo? Yes. It is part of it. Part of the allure, part of the experience...for better or worse.