Shauna Hanna

FETC 2019: Texthelp Takeaways

The weather was a bit of a disappointment in Florida last week, but FETC certainly was not!

FETC (The Future of Education Technology Conference) is one of the largest in the U.S.,. The conference format allowed attendees to join in hour-long sessions, 20-minute quick talks, poster presentations, blogger’s cafe’ all whilst dipping in and out of the exhibit hall conversing with vendors! It is one of the most exciting places to learn so much from so many different people, companies, organizations, and students.

Texthelp team at FETC

Similar to previous years, there were hundreds of insightful and educational sessions that focused on a wide range of topics revolving around education technology. Though we couldn’t attend all of them, we’d like to share our major takeaways from our time at the conference.

Inspiring keynote

The conference kicked off with an inspiring opening keynote from Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy. His idea of education in the future is very different from conventional schooling. He envisions a future of active, mastery-based learning. It’s an environment where technology is instrumental in tracking student progress, letter grades are eliminated and students engage regularly in creative work. The classroom is both interactive and hands-on. 

Sal Khan, keynote speech at FETC

After attending a handful of additional sessions, as well as speaking to teachers that visited the Texthelp booth, it became clear that education technology is already helping to facilitate the path to a more diverse, creative, and collaborative learning environment.

Learner Agency

It is also clear this year that there is a significant and growing demand for learners to be able to do more than receive instruction, follow a learning path designed by educators and complete problems and assignments presented to them by their teacher. 

Kathleen McClaskey talks about the seven elements that contribute to learner agency: voice, choice, engagement, motivation, ownership, purpose, and self-efficacy. 

Learner Agency is all about the power to act - empowering those learners to understand how they learn with support from their teacher.  Through agency, they are empowered to take their own action and lead their own learning without over-reliance on the direction and control of others.  

Shaking things up with Kasey Bell

We also had the wonderful pleasure of hosting a book signing with long time friend of Texthelp, Kasey Bell AKA Shake Up Learning.  

Kasey Bell Book signing at FETC

Kasey’s book, Dynamic Learning is all about going beyond the traditional bounds of the classroom and leveraging new technology to make learning more dynamic . What FETC is all about! It’s a must-read book for teachers!  

EdTech Trends for 2019

FETC attendees visit the conference each year to learn about the latest, most innovative uses of education technology to drive positive results for students, as well as the solutions that are just over the horizon.  Our CTO, Martin McKay gives just a little glimpse of what he thinks is coming this year:

Information overload?

As you walk away from this conference, it is easy to feel overwhelmed with the tons and tons of information and new ideas in your brain.  But in the words of Matt Millar (Ditch that Textbook)  - “overwhelmed isn’t having too many options, it’s not knowing where to start.”  He offered some great tips on how you can start to process some of that information:
  1. Start small, start with something you think is going to move the needle in your classroom
  2. Make your case - maybe on some of those lessons that isn’t so great and gather results - like a scientist.  As you build your results, your building your case to try new things.
  3. Don’t use it all - be choosy.
  4. Stay connect to other like-minded educators.  Find your mothership!
  5. Find a pipeline for ideas

If you missed out on a signed copy of Kasey’s book, then don’t worry.  Tell us in the comments below what your highlights or key takeaways were from FETC to entered into a special one-off drawing.  We look forward to hearing your thoughts!



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