By Rachelle Dene Poth @rdene915
It is hard to believe that #FETC (The Future of Education Technology Conference) has come and passed so quickly. This was my first time at FETC and I was fortunate to present a workshop of my own on Blended Learning, and had the opportunity to speak at the Buncee and Kidblog booths. The conference offered so many great opportunities for attendees to connect, to learn, to grow, and to get exactly what they needed from the conference.
Preparing for the Future
With so many choices, figuring out your schedule can be difficult, and sticking to it can be even more difficult because of the opportunities that pop up while you are there. When deciding on how to spend your time, I recommend that you start by talking with your PLN. Whether or not you've actually met your PLN face-to-face or come to the conference with friends, or are traveling alone, don’t worry about being alone for long. Events like #FETC are a great place for making connections and building relationships above anything else.
Some of the best parts of these conferences are the times spent with your PLN or “edufriends”. I started to notice such a difference last year with connections made through social media and a Spark (Check out The Summer Spark Experience). Connecting with a core group generated through Facebook and Voxer, anticipating ISTE, and then meeting some friends at USM Summer Spark, brought an even bigger group together. The excitement of seeing friends again and definitely of meeting in person for the first time cannot be put into words. It’s during the time along the way, during sessions in the expo hall, at networking events, and at early morning #CoffeeEdu when learning truly increases. The opportunity to share experiences, exchange session highlights, and also get to know about each other can not be given a true value
The People#FETC gave me another great opportunity to spend time with and learn from ISTE friends, Twitter friends, and have the opportunity to really get to know these people and take in the conference together. It was also great to see my friends leading the sessions, a truly inspiring opportunity. I spent the week with Jaime Donally, Rodney Turner and Mandy Froelich, who added so much to my experience and made it a great week. We are already planning our ISTE agenda!
The ProgrammingThe five different program tracks set up for FETC made it easier to target a specific area of learning: Future of EdTech Leader, Administrator, Information Technology, Special Education and Early Learning. This helped attendees to easily navigate the program and create an agenda that met specific personal and professional needs.
The “EduTechGuys”In the South Concourse, the “EduTechGuys” invited attendees to be interviewed for their podcast on the #FETC conference experience, and it was a lot of fun. I didn’t know anything about this until my friend Jaime Donally posted a photo on Twitter of her interview with them. This reinforces how valuable social media has become for keeping people informed, connected and able to take in so many more of the opportunities out there. You can find these podcasts and the interviewees on their EduTechGuys Youtube channel.
The ActivitiesBesides the daily conference events and sessions, there were a lot of activities into the evening. Several companies had events planned for their ambassadors such as Edmodo and Amazon, which provided great opportunities to connect with other ambassadors. The event hosted by Participate Learning was well attended and everyone enjoyed the chance to meet up with PLN and meet F2F. Florida EdChat invited conference attendees to join in the live chat and this is where I had the opportunity finally meet face-to-face with some Edumatch Snapshot co-authors. And of course there was the EdTech Karaoke put on by Symbaloo, which is always a great time--this year was no exception, talented singers, lots of fun and definitely entertaining.
Rachelle Dene Poth is a Spanish Teacher at Riverview Junior Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. She is also an attorney and earned her Juris Doctor Degree from Duquesne University School of Law and Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology from Duquesne. Rachelle enjoys presenting at conferences on technology and learning more ways to benefit student learning. She serves as the Communications Chair for the ISTE Mobile Learning Network, a Member at Large for Games & Sims, and is the PAECT Historian. Additionally, Rachelle is a Common Sense Media Educator, Amazon Educator, WeVideo Ambassador, Edmodo Certified Trainer and also participates in several other networks. She enjoys blogging and writing for Kidblog and is always looking for new learning opportunities to benefit my students. Connect with Rachelle on Twitter @rdene915.