Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Highlights from PETE&C 2017

By Rachelle Dene Poth

Pete & C, the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference, was held on February 12th through the 15th in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Pete&C is a great event for learning about educational technology, and this year’s attendance grew to an estimated 3500.

Some of the conference events included workshops on topics such as Blended instruction, Certified BrainPOP Educator training, personalizing learning, instructional strategies, and best practices. There was also a Keystone Technology Innovator (KTI) pre-conference event held on Sunday afternoon, which brought together members of the KTI family and some of the nominees for this year’s Keystones Summit. It was a fun afternoon of networking, speed dating, BreakoutEDU, panel discussion, prize patrol and great cookies! (Thanks Jen!) This great event was organized by Scott Snyder and Jennifer Brinson.

The conference started in the evening with receptions hosted by companies including Alma, CDW-G, Edmentum, McGraw-Hill and Troxell Communications, who provided appetizers, environments for great conversation, and fun activities for the attendees. The night was filled with karaoke, networking, and gathering around the fireplace to enjoy time reconnecting or meeting for the first time.

The Keynotes

The keynote speakers this year were Carl Hooker, author of Mobile Learning Mindset, who shared his experience in implementing mobile learning in his classroom, focusing on the learning rather than the device. Dr. Mark Edwards spoke about “every child every day,” and shared lessons from his book Unstoppable Moment, coauthored with Michael Fullan. And the final keynote session by Dr. Luis Cruz, arguing, “Why our why is not technology, but instead working together to save student lives.” Each Keynote engaged the audience with thought provoking discussion and inspiration.

Carl Hooker, Zee Poerio during the opening night receptions before conference Kickoff

Session Highlights

Special Sessions, led by Beth Ziesenis, on “Star Trek was Right” focused on futuristic communication tools for the classroom and the secret tech weapons for school professionals. Aaron Sams led a session on Film School and Start up Mashup, and he engaged attendees through a friendly competition to create a movie and focused on edtech startups, helping attendees to develop ideas, and learn how to make a pitch.

Ignite Talks

Ignite talks were held for the first time this year, with titles including, “Living outside one's comfort zone,” “Frustrations that can come with learning,” “Learning is about more than just devices,” “Empowering students from learners to leaders to advocates,” and more.

Student Showcases

There were student showcases and a student inventors competition which took place on Tuesday. I had a group of students and as always, very impressed by their presentation, knowledge and professionalism. All students engaged and impressed attendees by showing their skills in areas such as 3D printing, digital tools for student voice and student empowerment, green screening, coding, and much more. It is so valuable to take the time to talk with the students to learn from them and seeing their excitement and energy in sharing what they can do is quite inspiring for educators.


Innovation Stations

The Innovation stations were new and offered topics including 3D printing, Bloxels, BreakoutEdu, programmable electronics, robotics, Touchcast and more. These extra sessions enable attendees to take in a lot of information in a short period of time. Deciding which sessions to attend can be difficult, so this is a nice way to learn a lot in little time.

Encore Sessions

Another highlight was the Encore presentations of sessions which had reached their capacity during the first session. Through the use of the Remind app, the Conference Committee did a phenomenal job updating program changes, adding additional presentations and more.

Looking Ahead

There was so much great learning at this year’s Pete&C, and the hard work and efforts of the program committee are greatly appreciated. I have been to Pete&C three times, and it gets better each year. It's nice to have an opportunity to spend time with your PLN and going to each other's presentations and learning from one another. Pete&C is definitely a conference to attend. If you couldn't attend this year, check out the Twitter feed, #Pete2017, the website for links to virtual sessions, handouts and presentations available. And look forward to #Pete2018 in Hershey February 11, 2018!

Rachelle Dene Poth is a Spanish and STEAM Teacher at Riverview Junior Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. She is also an Attorney and has a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology. She serves as the Communications Chair for the ISTE Mobile Learning Network, a Member at Large for Games & Sims, the Innovations and Resources Co-Chair for the Teacher Education Network, and the PAECT Historian. She also is a Buncee Ambassador, Common Sense Media Educator, Amazon Inspire Educator, Edmodo Certified Trainer, Nearpod PioNear, Recap Pioneer, TES Ambassador and ​ambassador for ​several other learning communities. She was recently named the 2017 Outstanding Teacher of the Year by PAECT and had a chapter published in the Edumatch Snapshot in Education book.


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