Deena Kimmel, Marketing Specialist

Texthelp’s List of Recommended #FETC 2017 Sessions

The Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) is taking place in Orlando Florida from January 24 - 27. It is the “largest, national, independent education technology conference” that brings education and technology leaders together from around the globe...including Texthelp! If you are interested in the latest education technology, as well as best practices and strategies for educators, technologists, administrators and more, this is the conference for you.

To help you navigate the incredible list of sessions, we’ve highlighted a handful that we’re most excited about. Below please find the list of Texthelp-recommended sessions.

Tuesday, January 24:

11:00am EST: The Assistive Technology Top 10: What Every Educator and Administrator Needs to Know
Mike Marotta, RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional, Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC

AT expert Mike Marotta will identify 10 critical best practices for using assistive technology in K-12 settings to provide quality services for all learners. Mike will offer strategies to help you consider and evaluate AT as well as to make wise use of both Open Educational Resources and Accessible Educational Materials. Through hands-on learning in this BYOD workshop, you’ll explore AT quality indicators to help you address special ed student needs in reading, writing, executive function and communication. The customized web resources that Mike shares will be valuable for educators, administrators and support staff.

2:00pm EST: How to Engage and Include Diverse Learners on All Devices Across Curricula
Diana Petschauer, Assistive Technology Professional, AT for Education
Luis Perez, Inclusive Learning Evangelist, Eye On Access

In this hands-on workshop that highlights both Apple and Google resources, experts Luis Perez and Diana Petschauer will emphasize technologies and strategies that ensure learners with disabilities access and engage in the same lessons and assignments as their peers. You’ll learn about free and low-cost AT, apps, extensions, built-in accessibility and web solutions to help you personalize education and support UDL efforts for all students, including those with LD/dyslexia, physical disabilities, low vision or blindness and executive functioning challenges. These strategies and technologies will also support your efforts to help students improve research and study skills and complete assignments using literacy, media and math-related tools for elementary through high school settings.

5:00pm EST: App Smashing: Tips and Tricks For IT Professionals Using Google Apps and Add-Ons to Achieve Personalized, Blended Learning
Marcia Kish, Blended Learning Coach, DSD Professional Development

K-12 education leaders are consumed with achieving personalized, blended learning. And although they may not have a clear sense of the technical issues required, they rely on school IT staff to make it happen. In App Smashing, IT professionals will discover how to make it all work smarter, not harder. This hands-on, BYOD workshop will guide you through the process of integrating different applications to provide quick access, communication, and collaboration for teachers and students. You will learn how to “smash” together different applications for the desired result and explore how to use online applications, iOS applications and Google Add-ons to create easier ways for teachers and students to communicate, collaborate and create.

Wednesday, January 25:

8:00am EST: Collaborate and Create with Google Drive Add-Ons & Chrome Extensions
Ben Sondgeroth, Instructor, EdTechTeacher

Join this eminent national trainer in an extensive Google Apps for Education and Chrome Extensions workshop. This hands-on workshop will provide creative and collaborative learning opportunities for teachers and students using laptop, desktop, and Chromebook classrooms. Learn some of the best uses of Google Drive Add-Ons and explore helpful Chrome apps and extensions. You will explore all the uses of Google Apps for Education and see how to maximize its capabilities in the classroom. Learn about all the essential offerings available to you and how to implement them in your planning and classroom activities.

Thursday, January 26:

8:00am EST: Chromebooks for Students with LD: A Roadmap to Support Struggling Readers, Writers, Note-takers, Organizers
Brian Friedlander, Professor of Education, College of St. Elizabeth

As Chromebooks become more popular in schools nationwide, special and general educators must know how to use them to support struggling learners and students with learning disabilities. In this BYOD workshop on the leading Chrome extensions and apps, experienced AT consultant Brian Friedlander will guide you through a six-pronged approach to support such students in the areas of reading, writing, notetaking and organization. You’ll learn numerous practical, use-today tech strategies, including how to best utilize voice typing for students to input text as well as word prediction for students with writing disabilities. You’ll also learn how to use text-to-speech software for students with reading and writing disabilities, graphic tools and note-taking technology to assist struggling organizers, and audiobooks for students with print disabilities. Importantly, you’ll gain an implementation plan to maximize your assistive technology efforts, from upper elementary through high school settings.

10:00am EST: The Impact of Google Tools in Education
Jaime Casap, Chief Education Evangelist, Google for Education

A review of how Google tools are being used in classrooms all over the world.

10:00am EST: Keys to Understanding and Implementing Universal Design for Learning
James Basham, Associate Professor, University of Kansas

In this featured session, you will gain insights on the latest lessons learned in UDL implementation from James Basham, cofounder of the UDL Implementation and research Network. James will help you develop a basic understanding of core UDL principles -- including multiple means of engagement, representation of information, and action and expression of understanding – as well as identify critical elements you’ll need to support UDL implementation within your district.

10:00am EST: Navigating the Shift: How to Obtain Accessible Education Materials For All Students
Joy Zabala, Co-Director, National Center on Accessible Materials at CAST
Candice Dodson, Director of eLearning, Indiana Department of Education
Christine Fox, Deputy Executive Director, SETDA

Join this interactive session to learn how you can tap into the power of digital instructional materials to support teaching and learning for all students, including those with special needs. You’ll learn how SETDA and CAST are collaborating to increase the awareness and use of accessible digital educational materials that benefit all learners. 

1:00pm EST: Everyone Can Google: How to Help Diverse Learners Read, Write, Communicate
Dan Phillips, Director of the Technology Resource Center of Marin, Calif.

More students and schools are turning to the Google for Education products to intervene for students beginning at a young age. Statistics show that many students struggle with writing needs in particular—including with requisite production and organization skills -- and one in three students struggles to read and comprehend traditional text. The Google platform is filled with accessibility features that enable diverse learners to succeed in all areas of reading, writing and communication, from just "getting their thoughts down" to editing independently to staying on task. This session will showcase a wide variety of accessible apps, extensions and add-ons within the Google platform that assist distracted students and struggling readers and writers.

1:00:pm EST: The Future of Special Ed: Promising Practices to Support Students with Disabilities in Online and Blended Settings
James Basham, Associate Professor, University of Kansas

This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to gain first-hand insights on special education trends and promising online practices from James Basham, cofounder of the UDL Implementation and Research Network. In this featured session, James will discuss the current state of policy for students with disabilities, lessons learned across a variety of online environments, and emerging best practices to support all students in online settings. James also will help you identify resources to further understand and address the needs of students with disabilities in such settings, addressing implications for special and general education leaders, educators, and teacher trainers.

3:20pm EST: The Google Transition and District Buy-in
John Salerno, Director of Educational Technology, Newington Public Schools

As more and more districts are transitioning to the Google Apps for Education Platform, there is always a discussion of how to successfully implement the move to the platform and 1:1 devices. Strategic planning, persistence, consistency, and most importantly, creativity, are all important components. This session will discuss and share the many ideas and resources that Newington, CT implemented in their successful transition to GAFE and 1:1 devices.

Friday, January 27:

11:00am EST: Top Tech Tools to Improve Literacy: A Fast and Fierce Analysis
Nicole Feeney, Director of Assistive Technology Services, NEAT
Jane Lefante, Assistive Technology Specialist, NEAT

In this BYOD workshop, AT specialists Nicole Feeney and Jane Lefante will discuss and demonstrate a wide range of technology that can support K-12 students who struggle with reading and writing. This will include a continuum of low- and high-tech tools that can be used as part of your students’ digital toolkit – giving them better and easier access to your district’s curriculum. These supports will address struggles with decoding, reading fluency and comprehension, as well as idea generation and written expression.

12:00pm EST: Best Practices for Google Apps for Education Implementation
Tanya Avrith, Education Strategist, Gulliver Schools

How much does your technology plan influence instructional practice? Is your professional development flexible to meet the needs of your diverse learners (both students and teachers)? It is critical to have a plan in place that addresses the importance of cultivating a positive digital culture, workflow efficiency, and reflective/responsive professional development. This session will address how Technology Directors and School Leaders can begin thinking about building a roadmap to effectively implement Google Apps for Education.

So as you can see, there are lots of great sessions for you to attend with lots of great learnings for you to takeaway. If you are at the conference, don’t forget to pop by our booth (#958) and say hi to our Texthelpers. We look forward to seeing you there!


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