Last week, I had the opportunity to attend FETC in Orlando, FL and learned about many new and excited educational technology tools for teachers and students.
Before the conference began, I attended a jam-packed session called the “Technology Shootout.” Very quickly, the four presenters demonstrated a variety of tools that can be used to enhance the classroom learning experience (click here for the links to their presentations). I learned how to add some Hollywood special effects into videos using the Green Screen Movie FX app and that the price of 3D printers will soon be reasonable for classroom use! The audience followed along with their mobile devices, again showing the potential of mobile learning and the need to integrate these tools into classrooms.
The opening keynote, by Tierney Cahill, was an inspiring story about how real-world experiences can enhance students’ understanding of big concepts, like “democracy.” Ms. Cahill ran for Congress with a world-class campaign staff… her students! After the keynote, we had dedicated time to visit the exhibit hall; here, I was able to see, up close, the new technologies that schools are using for curriculum, assessment, classroom management, and more.
I also attended sessions throughout the conference focused on tools for teachers and integrating mobile devices. In Shannon Miller’s session, she provided tools that help students collaborate with one another. I learned about Collaborize, an online community that allows teachers and students to engage in discussion groups. Peter Lange, of AVAI (the maker of the really cool FETC app), explained to district administrators how prevalent mobile devices are among students and parents, and that schools need to have a plan for interacting with these stakeholders.
My mobile track provided great opportunities to hear about how mobile devices are being used in schools. Smartphone and tablet use is clearly growing in classrooms; educators now have the daunting task of putting these devices to use effectively. Over the coming months, I will be reaching out to our teacher community to learn and share best practices for integrating StudyBlue’s online flashcards and other mobile features into classrooms. If you have ideas you’d like to share, email me at zach (at) studyblue (dot) com.