Leave it to David Warlick to see the big picture, albeit in a small picture. David posted a photo showing the most frequently mentioned words in all if the conference sessions at the ISTE national conference in Denver which is about to start this weekend. So what stands out? As you can see for yourself, learning pops out as the most frequently mentioned word which is great because teachers and students are in the business of learning. Technology and digital stand out as well which makes sense since the ISTE conference is all about technology in education. I’m a bit concerned that students and teachers stand out a bit less than technology or classroom though. Students and teachers should come first because, after all, they are the learners. And what about classroom standing out as a top phrase in conference sessions? I have been to many ISTE conferences and I know that there are tons of sessions with titles like “Blogging in the Classroom,” “Digital Cameras in the Classroom,” and “Podcasting in the Classroom.” These sessions titles say “Look, this technology stuff even works in the classroom.” I certainly believe that every classroom should have digital age tools, but let’s challenge ourselves to think beyond the classroom. Let’s use these digital age tools to help our students reach out and connect with a world of learners. There is one thing that I am really disappointed to see – the word leadership is in the smallest font on David’s word cloud. Leadership is really, really important. Do I say that because I am a school principal? Well… yes. Do I say that because I am presenting a workshop at ISTE in a few days on 21st Century Leadership. Definitely, yes. But I also say that because I truly believe that schools need excellent leaders to help bring them forward. We all know that a principal or superintendent who is either a top down demigod who leads through fear, or a principal or superintendent who ignores what students or teachers need and leaves learners stranded in the wilderness will never really support increased student learning. I am still psyched about traveling to Denver in a few days and I know I will meet many inspiring school leaders. I would like to see leadership take an even more important role in future ISTE conferences.