Our colleague, Micheal Edgren VP of Marketing at Renaissance Learning, just returned from the National Educational Computing Conference with this report.
“NECC has been on an upswing for years now. There was a time when shows like FETC (Florida Educational Technology Conference) were a national draw for educators interested in technology, but the attention has clearly moved to NECC. Reported attendance was 12,850. Although this is down 4% from 2008 attendance they’ve done significantly better than other educational conferences. Some, like IRA (International Reading Association) had horrendous years due mostly to the necessary belt-tightening on the part of our public school systems.”
“NECC was held in Washington, D.C.this year just before the 4th of July. You might think that there was something special in their thinking, but this show is always held just before the 4th. It is remarkable how successful they are considering that the vast majority of educators are on vacation or working second jobs at this time."
"The exhibit floor of NECC is everything an exhibitor might hope it would be. Attendees are hungry to learn what’s new. They are serious minded and willing to spend quality time to learn. About 2/3 of all exhibitors seem to understand how to engage these educators, while the remaining third just don't seem to get it. The best create highly interactive and engaging presentations that more often than not involve a hands-on experience. Entertainment can work but only to the extent that it is backed by solid information. Something we learned last year when we started each presentation with a 3-minute very physical comedy sketch that mixed The Matrix with Back to the Future and half a dozen other sci-fi fantasy films."
“This year, we (Renaissance Learning) scrapped the entertainment and did just as well without it. Exhibitors that don’t seem to get it often have conventional overbuilt structures that are foreboding, overdress their employees (suits and ties don’t get visited, polos and t-shirts with friendly sayings do, particularly if there is a chance that the visitor might score said t-shirt), or overstaff their booths.”
"It is a terrific show, very well run, and gets better each year. ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) that runs the show is to be congratulated. Here’s hoping education budgets improve and we can see 15,000 or more in Denver next year.”"
Thanks, Mike, for a very complete report. It's great to hear from exhibitors that get it and know how to use shows to their full advantage.