I was finally able to spend a little time on the exhibit floor at NECC, experiencing an abundance of demos and a plethora of expensive educational technologies.
The Good - Offerings this year were definitely far from sparse. My favorite exhibits included (in no particular order) those by TeacherTube, Brainhoney, Faronics, Google, and Elluminate - none too pushy, each offering a unique product.
The Bad - I was a little disappointed by Microsoft's exhibit. Last year, Microsoft invited patrons to experience their products while sipping on smoothies in their uber-hip lounge. This year, we had no such luck. The stale, all-business Microsoft was back to its usual uninviting practices. Perhaps Microsoft's shift in attitude reflects their recent confidence in Vista and Office 2007 (while last year they felt the need to calm their anxious customers who were tired of waiting for Vista's delayed release).
The Boring - I have to confess that (on the whole) I wasn't extremely impressed with the range of products offered this year. To be honest, there didn't seem to be a huge change from what had been offered at last year's NECC (same stuff, different city). Are companies really that short on productive, innovative thinkers? It's just that with this year's explosion of online AJAX applications, I had come to expect a lot more.
The "Best Give-Away Trinket Of The Conference" prize goes to Lightspeed Systems for their wonderful rubber-band powered rockets. A definite hit among bored Exhibitors, these babies were flying all over the place. I snagged several for my kids.
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