January is almost here, and that means FETC. For those of you who aren't familiar with this epic event, it's the Future of Education Technology Conference that takes place in Orlando every year.
About ten years ago, probably more, I went to my first education conference which also happened to be FETC. I was one of the chosen few from my school in Kissimmee, Florida to go for one day to take in all that was new in EdTech at the time. It was overwhelming but amazing to sit in on sessions and learn about things I had only heard about. Interactive white boards were starting to appear in schools, document cameras were changing classroom practice, and I was thrilled at the possibilities.
I have since been to many conferences, but there is one session I attended that I still vividly remember. Global Education expert, Silvia Tolisano presented a session about a bear that traveled with her to China to help her students understand and interact with the world. That was my first foray into global education, a field in which I spend most of my days immersed. It was those seeds along with my love of travel and desire to connect my students with the world that began the journey of where I am today. This year, I'll be escaping the frigid temperatures and seemingly constant snow of Vermont for the mild sunny climate of Central Florida in a much different role blogging about my experiences.
FETC has something to offer everyone in education, but here's what I'm excited about:
One of the keynote speakers is Sir Ken Robinson author of many books including Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution that's Transforming Education. In it, he shares stories of innovative schools and individuals who are rethinking what education is and should be. This topic is something very near and dear to my heart and something I strive for in my own work in education.
One of the things I'm most curious about is how FETC will view global education and its connection to technology.
I was happy to see that there are many sessions devoted to global learning and student voice including:
- Global Engagement: Using Tech to Connect Students With the World with Matt Harris, Rod Berger, Nancy Conrad, and Steven Anderson
- Going Global with Jaime Donally and Rachelle Dene Poth
- The Highly Connected Global Educator with Lucy Gray
- Social LEADia: Moving Students Beyond Digital Citizenship to Digital Leadership with Jennifer Casa-Todd
I'm also really interested to learn more about micro-credentials and how they can be used to differentiate professional development and support the needs and interests of individual teachers. Like this one from my pal Jennifer Williams called Create Customized PD Paths for Schools With Micro-credentials and Badging.
Trends in EdTech for 2018
And I couldn't write about FETC without mentioning new tech trends for 2018, so I'm looking forward to exercise my critical thinking skills to evaluate whether or not the tools and devices will support deep learning and quality instructional practices or become another in the long list of "cool toys."
I'm headed to Tech Share Live to "see technologies in action that involve learners in creating, making, programming, coding, producing, innovating, inventing, designing, problem solving, publishing, and more!" from Adam Bellow, Hall Davidson, Leslie Fisher, Kathy Schrock and how it all fits with Sonny Magana's T3 framework in his keynote called Disruptive Classroom Technologies: A Framework for Innovation in Education. Who doesn't love shaking up the status quo?
Most importantly, FETC provides the opportunity to connect with old friends and colleagues and meet so many new and inspiring people while getting fired up about an exciting year to come!