Student engagement and empowerment were evident at FETC 2020 in Miami, FL. Topics ran the gamut from the latest tech tools and personalized learning strategies to funding, supporting, and sustaining district technology initiatives.
FETC 2020 offered sessions and workshops, interactive spaces, an extensive expo hall, and purposefully-chosen dynamic, energizing, and inspiring keynote presentations. More than 20,000 attendees from around the world experienced unlimited opportunities to network, learn effective teaching strategies, share resources, and be inspired. Even though the Miami sunshine was enticing, attendees moved excitedly from session to session, eager to soak up all that the conference had to offer.
STEM and STEAM
In the early years of STEM and STEAM adoption, students’ hands-on experiences were limited to isolated classroom activities and computer labs. This stand-alone model did not engage the entire school community, nor was it transferrable to content areas instruction.
With sessions at FETC 2020 such as “Coding, Robotics, Project-Based Learning and Mathematics” and “Cross-Curricular STEAM Integration for Every Classroom,” attendees learned how innovative educators are integrating STEM STEAM projects to connect students to real-world situations.
In the Expo Hall, companies such as Ozobot created “classrooms of today” to demonstrate how empowering teachers with a strong curriculum and products designed to engage students can help them incorporate coding and STEAM into social studies, ELA, math, and science courses. Even more inspiring was the STEM Theater, where throughout the conference, K-12 schools recognized as FETC STEM Excellence Award finalists showcased innovation, commitment, and visionary paths for their students.
Social and emotional learning
Empathy, self-regulation, responsibility, and relationship-building skills are human skills that are critical to the development of digital citizens. It can be challenging for education leaders to measure SEL programming’s success and impact on their students.
Edtech professionals at FETC were on hand to discuss how they’ve developed programming, strategies, and personalized options to allow classroom teachers, support staff, and building administrators to do just that.
Ed Tech Library Media Specialist and Future of Ed Tech Educator tracks highlighted sessions such as “Social and Emotional Learning in the Library” and “Social-Emotional Skill Building Through Coding and Robotics” that demonstrated how project-based learning increases student engagement and reduces behavioral management issues.
Software companies such as Everyday Speech were resources for school-based professionals and educators to use tools such as video, modeling, worksheets, and games to help students with social learning challenges. With new SEL content, Brainpop offered multiple sessions at FETC to incorporate social and emotional learning skills through modeling and classroom strategies.
Student safety and student data privacy were on every CTO, IT professional, and district administrator at FETC 2020. Sessions including “What Every District Leader Needs to Know about Cyber Security” and “Cyber Security Measures and Assessments,” highlighted critical strategies that every district should implement to combat cyber-attacks. The “How to Find Technology That Improves School Safety” panel focused on the do’s and don’ts when it comes to safety solutions.
Software companies such as Impero, Securly, Gaggle, GoGuardian, Mimecast, and Managed Methods offered district tech leaders optimal student safety options ranging from protecting student data to protect students from self-harm, inappropriate content, and potential violence.
With the advent of esports in schools across the country, FETC offered conference attendees a not-to-be-missed interactive experience. Encompassing a significant space in the Expo Hall, the Esports Gaming Arena, and the North America Scholastic Esports Federation staged an esports environment easily replicated in any school setting. Middle and high school age students invited attendees to experience and learn about how this program positively supports, impacts, and engage a population of students eager for this educational environment.
Underlining all the sessions, workshops, keynotes, sandboxes, and learning spaces at FETC 2020 was the commitment of every edtech company, classroom educator, IT professional, district leader, and CTO to ensure that students have the tools and skills to own their learning and to grow and develop into the curators of our future.
FETC will be back in Orlando, January 26-29, 2021, for its 41st year.