Dear EdTech Conferences. Try harder.

Got a notice today of an upcoming conference being put on by IMS Global called the Learning Impact Leadership Institute. I went to check out the website to find out more about the conference and saw the lineup of the eight confirmed plenary speakers.

CaptureNotice something?

Yep. All white. All male.

Now, just to be clear, this has nothing to do with who is on the panel. I don’t know any of these men personally, although there are names I certainly recognize and people whose work I follow. So, I don’t want this to come across as a criticism of the people in the photos or their work. It is definitely not that.

But it is a criticism of the event and the organizers who, in this day and age, cannot seem to find a single woman or person of colour to include.

In this case, I find the offense even more egregious because this event is being presented as a leadership event, and the message this sends is that the only people who are eligible to become members of the edtech leadership elite are white men.

That message gets reinforced even stronger when you scroll to the bottom of the page and see who the organizers have decided to include as representatives to provide testimonials about the conference.


Yep, three more white guys (again…this is not a criticism of these individuals).

This conference is a definite candidate for the All Male Panels Tumbler (thanks Tara for reminding me).

We need to do better.


Yeah, I know it’s 2016….



Clint Lalonde

Just a guy writing some stuff, mostly for me these days on this particular blog. For my EdTech/OpenEd stuff, check out


3 thoughts on “Dear EdTech Conferences. Try harder.

  1. Thank you for your comments. At IMS Global we are constantly working to improve diversity in leadership among education information technology – and agree with your sentiment that greater diversity is greatly preferred compared to today’s situation where IT in education is male dominated by 2:1.

    However, the web page you highlighted above was the “First Wave” of speakers in a very limited part of the program. Since the message was sent we have added four additional speakers and will continue to add new speakers right up until the Learning Impact Leadership Institute (LILI)

    Another important point is that the LILI Lightning talks are not typical conference keynotes. Note that the focus of the LILI conference is the intersection of technology, learning and IMS technical interoperability standards. IMS’s goal with the conference is to create actionable change among the 350 IMS member organizations ( Therefore, the selection process involves getting a set of market-moving organizations presenting. Those organizations decide who speaks for their communities – most of whom are very large and diverse in nature. But, IMS does not control who the organizations chose to speak.

    The conference as a whole, however, is a small, but very diverse event – typically 50/50 male/female –

    Thanks again for your comments, but I think you will find that IMS and this event are expanding diversity rather than limiting it.

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