Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 1 Post 4 - A breath of fresh air!

 As an educator who teaches in a highly technical industry, sometimes I find it difficult to get companies on board with the fact that the students in my classes are the future of the industry, and their future customers. Maybe I'm biased, but if I were a company in a highly competitive, yet somewhat small field, such as entertainment design, I would be wooing future customers in any way possible. Yet, many times over the past 10 years I have been ignored when discussing the need for industry support in education.

Well, that seemed to change this weekend. I'm not sure what spurred on the change, but I will gladly accept the outcome. I had the opportunity to attend the annual Live Design International event, held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. This event is a week long set of conferences, round table discussions, and expo floor where manufacturers show off their latest and greatest equipment for use in the show production industry.

I was truly shocked at the interest that manufacturers showed in education this year. When I approached different booths, I was actually greeted with open arms this year, instead of closed doors as has been my experience in the past. As an educator, I'm usually on a mission at this show to gather assets that can be used in my classroom, whether it's something simple such as pictures or equipment manuals, or more complex media such as dvd's showing footage of productions. Companies always seemed very unwilling to allow this content to find its way into the hands of education and students, but this year was different. I had multiple companies giving me access to media, and three different companies actually gave me password access to their website that is usually reserved for their distributors and employees, allowing me to use any and all graphics and manuals for classroom use.

So what changed? Honestly, I have no clue. Maybe the economy has had such an impact that large companies are willing to do anything to get new customers. Or maybe these companies finally realized what I've been telling them for years: that my students are the future of their business. But whatever it was, I'm pretty excited about the openness shown by many companies to assist me in teaching my students.

 "House Lights...Go"


  1. Shawn, I had a similar experience when attending InfoComm earlier this year. The focus on education was certainly impressive and you can see that many companies view this as a lucrative vertical. It is wonderful to have an influx of intest in our field but atthe same time I'm always concerned about the ways money can influence educational policy. It is certainly better than the alternative but I think we have a responsibility to maintain those relationships with a measure of caution. Loved reading your post, thanks for sharing your experience.

  2. Wonderful turn of events... Hope that they do realize the resource your student can be for them.