FETC 2016Minnesota's bitter cold adds to the yearning to go to Orlando for a little professional development and hopefully a little sun. When I was accepted as a presenter at FETC (Future of Education Technology Conference and Expo ) I could not pass it up. My session was scheduled for the first night of the conference, during the opening reception. The opportunity to connect with colleagues was a highlight. A fellow Minnesotan, Mark, stopped by to say. Roger from Atomic Learning (a Minnesota based company) came by too. Jennifer stopped by as well. She was the first teacher our class "mystery skyped" with over a year ago.
When my presentation was finished it was onto the Polynesian resort to meet up with a few favorite people in my Twitter network. Thanks to Dr. Howie, we had a nice evening getting to know one another and visiting about our passions. My Disney Class is a project Dr. Howie is deeply passionate about. He is part of the creative team that keeps the project alive. The website is full of innovative design, storytelling, and collaborative ideas for your classroom. Check it out!
FETC can be overwhelming for the first time attendee. I found out that it helps to do a little planning ahead of time. I had about four different topics for each hour I wanted to attend on Thursday. My priorities were to hear Kathy Schrock, Shannon Miller, and Nicole Feeney share ideas. Below is a brief outline of resources that were new to me.
I have been following Kathy Schrock's work for about 20 years! I was excited to attend her "EdTech Hokey Pokey: Put Your Whole Self In" presentation. It is no surprise that there are many new technology tools that can aid student (and teacher) learning. A couple of the favorites Kathy referred to include the new Skype Translator (in Beta) and Mindwave available through Amazon,
Shannon Miller's AASL Best Websites - 25 That Rock Each Year was resourceful. A list of this year's best websites can be found on the AASL website. I can't wait to try out Flipsnack and Meograph with our students. Another site Shannon referred to was Storyboardthat. I had begun using this site with my fourth graders before the conference. I know why it made the list of best websites, they love it!
Rewordify.com was a website referred to by Niole Feeney during her Tech Tools for Students With DYSLEXIA presentation. I can think of many uses of Chrome's Speak It and the speech selection tools she referred to as well. Nicole mentioned The Prizmo app to use with text. The Start to Finish online accessible library (which houses leveled fiction and nonfiction books) is a tool I need to check out soon.
Another highlight was listening to Reshma Saujani, Founder & CEO of Girlswhocode.com. Girlswhocode work to inspire and equip girls with coding skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. Listening to Ms. Saujani reaffirmed my passion for trying to spark an interest in coding, robotics, and technology in my students!
I enjoyed my time at FETC! I came back with resources to use with my students, fostered my PLN connections, and expanded my thinking about technology.