ORLANDO, Fla. — The 35th annual FETC conference wrapped up in Orlando on Jan. 23 after welcoming roughly 8,500 visitors over the previous four days. The event is the largest of its kind on the East Coast, and offered educators, administrators and technologists from across the country and globe and opportunity to explore new and emerging technologies aimed at improving education.
The event included 150 workshops targeting communication and collaboration, educational policy and leadership, instructional design, mobile learning, online and blending learning, technology infrastructure, digital teaching tools and various curriculum aids. Attendees also had access to more then 400 sessions and nearly 500 interactive vendor exhibits from companies like HP, Casio, Lenovo and Aver, as well as STEM-, maker- and game-based learning events.
Jane McGonigal, director of games research and development at the Palo Alto, Calif.-based Institute for the Future, kicked off the event with a keynote address exploring how games are transforming the way people live and how they can challenge players to approach real world problems. CEO of MakerBot Jennifer Lawton also spoke on how 3D printing technology will impact students throughout their education, and David Moinina Sengeh, a biomechatronics engineer at MIT, delivered the innovation keynote entitled “Youth as Learners, Makers and Problem-Solvers.”
Former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise, who is now president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, headlined the closing keynote. Joined by Adam Bellow, founder and president of eduTeacher and eduClipper, and CEO of GameDesk Lucien Vattel, Wise lead an engaging discussion on the future of education technology.
Institutions at the primary, middle and high school levels were also recognized for excellence and innovation in the field of STEM education at the FETC STEM Excellence Awards. T.R. Paul Academy of Arts and Knowledge, a Fort Collins, Colo. charter school, was honored in the primary school division. The school integrates both STEM and STEAM curriculum, and offers a number of extracurricular programs based in science, problem solving skills and the arts.
Lincoln Intermediate School in Mason City, Iowa was the middle school division winner. The school has built an extremely popular robotics program that tripled in size within its first year and also encourages students to explore skills like coding.
MAST (Math & Science Technology), located on the Florida International University Biscayne Bay campus, was recognized in the high school division for offering a rigorous curriculum infused with technology and university resources like internships, guest faculty presentations and career exploration. Click here to view a full list of winners and finalists
Sponsors for the 2015 event included Microsoft, the Consortium for School Networking and Amazon Education, among others. The 2016 FETC conference will take place in the Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center Jan. 12-15.