In a previous life, I was a sports reporter and copy editor. Now, you might think being a sports journalist has nothing to do with covering educational technology, but at this time of year, I can’t help but draw comparisons to my former line of work.

In the sports world, the NFL’s Super Bowl is generally considered the biggest event of the year, and there’s certainly no doubt it’s the most hyped. Everyone who has ever worked in a sports department will tell you this. In fact, many sports journalists refer to the biggest event in every other sport as that particular sport’s “Super Bowl.”

And now that it’s June, the world of educational technology coverage is ramping up the same way the sports coverage ramps up every January. It’s because the ed-tech world has a “Super Bowl,” too.

It’s called the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC). And, with all due respect to the other major ed-tech conferences, NECC really is the big one.

No Super Bowl would be complete without all kinds of bold predictions beforehand. So in keeping with the sports metaphor, here’s my prediction for this year’s NECC in Philadelphia: No other publication’s web site will cover NECC with as much depth and passion as eSchool News Online.

By the first week in May, eSN Online already had launched its Conference Information Center coverage of NECC. We have schedules, speaker biographies, and much more. You’ll also find out how you can join us in Philadelphia as a Conference Correspondent and have the chance to win an AlphaSmart Neo computer companion.

During the conference, we’ll have the most complete, real-time coverage imaginable, including reviews of hundreds of sessions. This unprecedented degree of coverage is made possible by generous financial support from our 2005 NECC Conference Information Center sponsors: AlphaSmart, American Education Corp., Dell Inc., Sunguard Pentamation, and HP ProCurve. If you haven’t seen our advance coverage of NECC yet, you can find it all at:

http://www.eschoolnews.com/cic/

Another exciting component of our online NECC coverage will be video reporting by the winners of our inaugural Student Video Discovery Awards (see Page 53 for more details). As you follow NECC on eSN Online, you’ll be able to view documentary video shot by the high school students who won our contest. You’ll not only see the technology that is redefining the education landscape–viewed from a student’s perspective–but you’ll also see how skilled today’s students are at using it. We’ve already posted student-created videos from all seven awards finalists in our new Video Resource Center at eSN Online, and I can promise you’ll be amazed by the quality. Check it out at:

http://www.eschoolnews.com/vrc/

Last year I made my first trip to NECC, just a few weeks after I began working for eSchool News Online. In the past 12 months, I have learned so much about the ed-tech landscape, and I want to thank all of the educators and colleagues who have contributed to my education so far. The influx of technology into schools in the nearly 20 years since I finished college is amazing.

Over the past year I have learned that while schools often are the first places where students are exposed to new technologies, there are still too many administrators and instructors who don’t know how to use it to their full advantage–even though this knowledge is more important than ever. At the same time, there are incredible educators who have managed to make learning relevant to a whole generation of kids because they are not afraid to take risks and be creative with the technology.

These are among the most powerful tools ever available to any creative mind, but in the end they are only tools, and it is up to human beings to unleash their power. At eSN Online, we document the evolution not just of the technology, but of the people who work with it. There is no shortage of great stories, and my hat’s off to everyone who makes up this exciting world that was completely unknown to me just one year ago.

New content this month

Our Educator’s Resource Center series has expanded yet again with the addition of a new resource titled “Presentation Technology in the Classroom.” Thanks to financial support from ELMO USA, we have put together a collection of our best articles related to new presentation solutions. You’ll learn more about everything from interactive whiteboards to Internet2. Don’t miss this chance to liven up presentations both for students and stakeholders. You’ll find it here:

http://www.eschoolnews.com/resources/reports/presentation2005/index.cfm

And speaking of presentations, NECC will be full of great ones. So if you’ve never visited eSN Online, stop by early and often in June, as we build up to the Super Bowl of ed tech.