Deena Kimmel, Marketing Specialist

FETC 2018 Recap: EdTech is Leading the Way to Diversity, Creativity and Collaboration

Last week, a group of Texthelpers flew down to sunny Florida to attend the Future of Education Technology Conference, or 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.

The conference kicked off with an inspiring opening keynote from Sir Ken Robinson. He spoke about the need to revolutionize education. As he explained, the current testing system promotes a learning culture of “conformity, compliance, and competition”, which aren’t how humans prefer or enjoy to learn. Instead, Sir Robinson encouraged the audience to promote a learning culture of “diversity, creativity, and collaboration” - all of which will lead to achievement.

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 leading the way to a more diverse, creative, and collaborative learning environment.

Edtech is one of the key tools that educators use when implementing personalized learning, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and differentiated instruction - all education frameworks that support diversity, enable students to think and learn creatively, and encourage collaboration as a useful learning tool.

Take Mike Marotta’s session, for example, which focused on Chrome apps and extensions that promote Universal Design for Learning. As he presented, these tools support ALL learners in the classroom, assisting students with everything from reading, writing, and math, to time management, organization, focus, and more. Through these tools, educators can encourage students to learn in the way the best suits them - promoting diversity in the classroom.

In Monica Burns’ session on Meaningful Formative Assessment with Technology, she highlighted 12 tips and tools for gauging student understanding before, during, and after a lesson. It may be hard to imagine how educators could take a creative approach to assessment, but with the education technology that Monica highlighted in her session, enabling students to provide creative responses that incorporated imagery, hand-drawings, notes and more was a piece of cake. Through the edtech, students have the creative freedom to express themselves and their knowledge in their own, unique way.

Even at the Texthelp booth, educators were sharing with us the ways that they use our tools (or plan to use them) to support diversity, creativity and collaboration. In particular, math teachers were excited about the collaboration possibilities of EquatIO mathspace, a digital, shareable whiteboard that enables students to work on math and science problems together.

So, although it may seem like a daunting task to revolutionize education, it became evident at FETC that educators, tech integration specialists, IT directors, and more are already enacting change through the introduction of education technology in their schools and classrooms. The future of education looks bright, in large part due to the future of education technology.

Thanks to FETC for putting on a fabulous conference and to all the presenters that inspired and engaged us throughout the week. We’re already looking forward to next year!

Did you attend FETC? If so, what were some of your key takeaways from the conference?


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