FETC for a Newbie

Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy recently sent a delegation of school personnel, from both campuses, to the annual FETC convention in Orlando. Among the HT attendees were Susan Bearden, Teresa Schultz, Cathy Koos, Brenda LaJeunesse, Susan Fletcher, and Brad Meyer. The following post was written by our new 21st Century Learning Specialist, Brad Meyer after his first time attending the conference.

The Florida Educational Technology Conference, or FETC as it is known to the ed-tech faithful, is one of the nation’s premier educational technology events. It is held annually every winter in Orlando. All of the major vendors of software, hardware, and curriculum materials are present. All of the biggest names in the field (like our very own Susan Bearden) are there, presenting keynote speeches and conducting workshops. In addition to checking out all the latest and greatest, attendees also get a chance to learn valuable new skills. As the new 21st Century Learning Specialist at Holy Trinity, I was lucky to be “penciled in” at the last minute, and grateful that I had a chance to attend.

Wednesday’s keynote speech by Dr. David Sousa was a great way to start the day. He was energetic, exciting, and had some great insight into how the brain works and some easy ways educators can improve their effectiveness. He also reminded us of the importance of laughter. After the keynote, it was off to the exhibit hall. Talk about sensory overload! Banners, flat screens, lights, and demonstrations were all simultaneously vying for one’s attention. The latest in projection hardware, learning software, tablet computing, and so much more were on display in a hands-on fashion. That was one of my favorite aspects of the show, the chance to actually try things out, not just take a look online or use a trial version. Even the mighty Google was there! Anybody who uses Google products (which is just about everybody, isn’t it?) will appreciate the fact that I was actually able to speak to a real, live Google employee and have some questions answered.

The final aspect of the conference was the workshops. I attended sessions with titles like “Creating Content for the 21st Century Classroom” and “Tech Tools for the Flipped Classroom.” I also learned some great new blogging skills and design techniques. All told, the conference was an excellent learning experience, and I already have a version of one piece of software I tried at the conference (IXL Math) being tested by one of our teachers. I am already looking forward to next year’s event!

Bradley Meyer

Bradley Meyer
21st Century Learning Specialist
Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy

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