FETC Recap: What’s Hot in Education Technology

fetc_2017_logoSunshine and palm trees welcomed teachers, technology directors, thought leaders and vendors alike for the 37th annual FETC during the last week of January in Orlando, Florida.

Technology is woven into almost every aspect of K-12 education. Tools and products help schools manage instruction, assessments, logistics, student information and everything in between. Key trends at the aptly named Future Education Technology Conference were using technology to save time, benefit the most students and glean the keenest insights for improvement.

The CB&A team joined more than 11,000 people to learn the latest trends and insights for the K-12 education market. Read on for what they found most notable:

STEM, robots and makerspaces in the spotlight

These topics dominated the programming. One of our media friends noted that nearly half of the sessions focused on how these technologies are becoming more popular and more crucial in K-12 classrooms.

Attendees packed sessions to learn about building a makerspace, using a makerspace for impactful learning, and identifying a makerspace’s key benefits to a student’s learning experience.

The education market is shifting towards hands-on learning, which is facilitated by technology that didn’t exist a few years ago. We are approaching an era where every classroom will be equipped with a 3D printer, myriad robots and products that teach coding to very young students.

But device management and virtual reality were a close second

As devices arrive in the classroom, products from companies like LocknCharge piqued the interest of attendees by offering an easy way to deploy and manage devices securely.

Virtual headsets were a popular gift this holiday season and they’re taking education by storm as well. Attendees lined up all day at the Nearpod booth for the chance to win a VR headset. With talk of virtual field trips and lesson plans to supplement them, VR is literally one of the most notable trends in K-12 education. 

Regardless of politics, educators are steadfast in doing what’s best for their students

Despite the volatile political climate, conversations amongst educators echoed their commitment to student learning. Their allegiance to each other and their students, demonstrated that they will continue to teach and make changes with their students’ best interest in mind.

Spirit of innovation is alive with Start-Ups

Throughout the conference, ETIN-SIIA hosted its Start-Up Pavilion and PitchFest. Similar to NBC’s Shark Tank, representatives from various education technology companies had five minutes to demonstrate and prove the worth of their products. Audience members then selected the top two “gamechangers” in education. Crowd favorites included:

CodeMonkey: This web-based game teaches students to code with the dynamic and fun premise of making a monkey find and eat its coveted bananas. CodeMonkey was crowned the winner of PitchFest and deemed by voters the gamechanger of FETC.

Permission Click: This team recognizes the headache teachers encounter when creating, deploying and collecting permission slips for field trips, activities, etc. By digitizing the process, educators send permission slips to parents electronically. Parents receive a push notification and provide their electronic signatures. This significantly reduces the amount of time spent retrieving the forms. In the past, receiving a signed permission slip could take up to a week. With Permission Click, teachers receive more than half of their signed permission slips within 30 minutes.

Moxie Reader: With a database of over 400,000 books, Moxie Reader is an app-based program allowing students and teachers to track reading progress simply by taking a photo of a book’s barcode. Students share progress with their teacher, while teachers track reading speed and genre preference, tailoring the overall reading experience to each student’s preference and ability.

What caught your eye at FETC and why?

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