FETC stands for Future of Education Technology Conference
The name says it all! Where is Edtech headed? Of course, no one has a crystal ball except possibly FETC leaders like Jennifer Womble, or is this conference magical because it is so close to Disney World? I’m not sure what it is, but FETC has succeeded in their selection process of speakers, workshops and vendors. This conference never disappoints! The preparation and information is always amazing. As a presenter at this conference for concurrent sessions and workshops I have always been highly impressed with the emails of information and the accuracy of the website. The Orange County Convention Center is gigantic and literally full to the gills of supreme presenters on an array of interesting and helpful educational technology topics. I don’t normally have FOMO (fear of missing out) but at FETC it occasionally gets the best of me. So many excellent presenters and creative workshops with several of my favorites each day like Dr. Monica Burns, Leslie Fisher, Jennifer Williams, David Lockhart, Kathy Schrock, Adam Bellow-Oh My! So many to choose from and let’s not forget my family of Apple Distinguished Educator presenters over in the Learn with Apple wing located on the north side of the conference center. Apple had sessions all day, every day, on all new topics and implementation of ideas to make adding these to your classroom a simple process. And if that wasn’t enough Apple also offered an Apple Support Desk, assistance with any Apple question you might have, or just hang out with your favorite Apple fangirl or fanguy. It was the BEST! Over on the south side of the conference center which was full of my friends from Cherokee County School District, the Microsoft learning area. Microsoft offered a wide selection of sessions and certification testing and much more. Another favorite activity of mine from the week was an edtech chat with the EduTechGuys. They have a fabulous live show all about everything Edtech and then they have the shows saved as podcasts so you can listen to them later as well. They are super informative and fun to listen to and chat with about all things educational technology related. It was an honor to be on the show and a highlight of my FETC week. Here is a link if you would like to listen in on my interview about teaching with iPads and creating clever content with students.
The vendor hall is high energy and always full of all things innovating and it is easy to navigate and well organized. When you need to eat, and there are plenty of options in there as well. If you are new to FETC or just want to see what’s new, be sure to go to the session created just for you each year. I attended my first year and it was super informative, helpful and entertaining.
My 3 best conference tips:
1. Plan ahead! Use the app or catalog and make a plan complete with backup sessions so you get to see everything possible. (plan time for the vendor hall)
2. Wear comfortable shoes, that you can keep on from sun up to sun down.
3. Bring snacks in your backpack or bag. I get in the life-long learner zone and I don't want to stop for lunch.
Everyone attending the conference and working at the conference is happy to be there, and happy that you are there too. The weather is beautiful and so is the Orange County Convention Center. It is well maintained and extremely clean. Each session I attended was well organized and the speaker was well prepared and excited to share their area of knowledge. The workshops are interesting and thoroughly planned so that valuable time is never lost or mis-used. FETC is also full of games and activities to encourage teacher collaboration to win prizes, and meet other teachers, to grow your own Personal Learning Network or PLN.
In the vendor hall I enjoy visiting companies that I have developed a relationship with, by using their product to increase the students' interest in learning and creating.
Brenthaven (my favorite iPad case)
TabPilot Learning Systems
Coding with Root (a new coding robot)
From workshops, tech labs, startups to poster sessions there is always something for everyone in every area of learning at FETC. You can teach littles or seniors and be tech savvy or serious about adding innovation and technology into your lessons. Either way you should add FETC to your conference list for next year. It will leave you pleasantly fulfilled but yet wishing it wasn’t over at the same time. Thanks for the amazing memories FETC! Big Hugs until next year, when we all meet again January 27-30th, 2019!
This summer was a whirlwind for me but I loved every minute of it. I started the summer in June by attending the amazing iPadpalooza conference in Austin, Texas. Since I started the iPad Lab at Woodstock Elementary four years ago, I have always wanted to attend. Attending this summer, was even more exciting because it would be my first chance to meet other ADEs from my new Apple Distinguished Educators family. I was selected in April to be part of the ADE class of 2017!
Being at iPadpalooza was incredible, to attend a conference all about iPads and how to teach children to use them to create cool content in your classroom-Genius. I met so many amazing ADE friends as well! I enjoyed listening and learning from so many brilliant educators, that I already followed, as part of my PLN online. Now I have the chance to meet them face to face and enjoying being in their learning sessions.
Later that month I flew to San Antonio, Texas for the amazing ISTE17 conference. Again such an inspiring group of educators all coming together to learn about new ideas and emerging technology. I was thrilled not only to attend the conference but also to present in several different environments. First, I started with giving a presentation about App Smashing in the #WESiPadLab. Next I was asked to be on on a panel discussion about game-based learning. Then, I helped in the ADE playground around the early childhood table. Finally, I was also asked to be part of the ADE (Apple Distinguished Educators) LIVE twitter chat. I was interviewed about using the accessibility features of our iPads with students and the audience responded live and also through posting on twitter using the hashtag #ADEchat. If you are interested to be part of an #ADEchat please join us on Twitter most Tuesdays at 9pm ET. This chat is moderated & attended by the ADE community but everyone is invited to attend and participate. Please join us! Starting January 2018 #ADEchat will become #AppleEDUchat.
The final visit for my summer of Texas was to Houston, TX to attend ADE Academy with my Apple Distinguished Educators class of 2017 and other educators from our ADE community. It was the most excited I have been to attend anything in my life! Being at Apple Academy was an incredible opportunity because I finally felt like I was completely surrounded by my tribe, other educators who want to use technology tools to teach students to collaborate, create, communicate, improve critical thinking skills, focus on digital citizenship and build character education. It was an experience I will never forget and it has empowered me not only with new knowledge and skills but also with so many ADE friends to collaborate with and discuss #edtech ideas together and plan for upcoming events, presentations and conferences. I honestly feel incredibly blessed to be an ADE. While I was at ADE academy, I participated in many awesome workshops but my favorite was the Clips App workshop with one of the app creators. While listening and learning with the new Clips App I realized it was going to be a game changing tool in my K-5th iPad lab. If you have not seen the Clips App in action please check out the student and teacher tutorial in this post. I created this tutorial to give my students something to refer to while creating their own Clips videos. It is a Clips Tutorial made with the Clips App.
If you are interested to become an Apple Distinguished Educator (I highly recommend it) please check out the Apple Teacher program and start working on earning your Apple Teacher badges on either your Mac or iPad. It is an amazing place to begin your own professional learning on your own time and your own pace. Also, it is full of excellent and easy to implement classroom ideas for teaching students how to create content using their devices.
Apple Teacher Link
K-5th Technology Teacher in our iPad Lab. I love what I am blessed to do each day!