Monday, February 3, 2014

My FETC Experience

Jason Riberio and I. 
I had the pleasure of attending the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) this past week in Orlando, Florida. I was given this opportunity from Dr.Camille Rutherford, my edtech internship advisor and was happy to be able to represent Brock University at such a large conference. I travelled to FETC with Dr. Camille Rutherford, Kyle Tuck and Jason Riberio of Brock University. Also in attendance was William Zhou from the educational technology start-up company Vetica,  with who I am completing my edtech internship.

 FETC was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Not only did this trip give us all a slight break from the cold winter in Ontario, but it also gave us the opportunity to network with passionate edtech people from across the world.  I was thankful to get the chance to engage in edtech conversations with many people and learn about the different experiences they have had with technology in education.

 The conference offered numerous concurrent sessions for the attendees to go to and there was something of interest for everyone, no matter if you were a teacher, IT specialist, business owner or administration. I focused my attendance in these sessions on the theme of iPads in the classroom and technology leadership.  It was reinforced that it is not too late to become a technology leader within your school and to embrace the possibilities edtech has to offer! To go along with my research interests, I attended sessions that discussed iPad tips and tricks, deployment projects and popular iOS applications. The biggest take away from these sessions was that it is important that teachers understand that there is not necessarily one application that will answer all your questions or solve all your problems.  You might have to use more than one at a time in your instruction! Simple K12 outlined 40 top free applications in their session which was very beneficial for my research.

 The exhibit floor hosted over 1,500 booths of technology gadgets, programs, companies, publishers and start-ups. A little overwhelming at times, I was able to engage with many companies which have created applications I have included in my research (which was really neat!). I quickly realized there is SO MANY different areas of technology and numerous companies that support those. A few of the big names on the exhibit floor was Google, Lenovo, Samsung, Pearson, SMART and Edmono. I also attended TechShare Live, a presentation of the latest and greatest technology devices, gadgets and programs – drool!

The team from Brock University had the opportunity to connect with Canadians attending the conference at the O’Canada Tweet-Up hosted by MindShare Learning. Also, we attended different events hosted by Lightspeed Systems and Remind 101. Over the week at FETC, I learned some important information to take with me to shift our thinking when it comes to technology in the classroom. Devices, like the iPad, should not drive your instruction in the classroom, but support the learning of 21st century students.

Thanks again to Dr.Camille Rutherford and Brock University for sending me to FETC, I had a blast!

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