FETC 2018 is in the books.
For me, the conference started with the EduTechGuys interviewing me about game-based learning at FETC. This was the first year FETC had a separate pavilion dedicated to education games. It was so popular it’s going to be expanded next year with more presentations and more games. Games mentioned in the interview are TeacherGaming, 3DBear AR, Agents of Discovery, Wibbu/Ruby Rei, and Amplify Reading.
If you listen, you’ll also learn that in Oklahoma, 25 times 25 is 225.
Speaking of games, I got to spend some time with Azi Jamalian of Littlebits. Playing with the different coded electronics parts is such a fun way to learn computational thinking, problem solving, collaboration, communications, and inventing to solve a problem while also experiencing electronics concepts such as power, input/output sensors, motors, servos, parallel and serial circuits, voltage, and capacitors.
Leslie Fisher did a brilliant review of Augmented Reality uses in education. She and I both agree that AR is poised to explode across the education spectrum. It immerses and engages kids, delivers compelling content, and also empowers kids to solve problems and create without requiring the purchase of physical objects.
One of her favorite applications is Aurasma, now renamed HP Reveal. You can make pages pop into life by creating an aura, which can link a trigger to text, 3D objects, or videos. Based on audience reaction, a second very popular application is goosechase, an AR app for scavenger hunts. Of course, Leslie has over 50 AR apps on her AR resources page on her website.
Poster sessions are always one of my favorite activities at tech conferences, because you get to spend real time talking to educators doing remarkable things with their kids. FETC had a special poster schedule for AR and VR apps.
The Academy of Holy Name in Windsor, CT has elementary students demonstrate their understanding of zoology by creating their own animals using Creaturizer. Middle school kids create bio domes using CoSpaces. And high schoolers create their own interactive historical adventures using Story Spheres.
Tampa Preparatory School has a 6 station VR creation lab. Computer science students create VR experiences using Unity 3D, while art students use Oculus Medium, Tilt brush, and the 3D scanner “Structure Sensor” to create 3 dimensional interactive art.
A conversation with Bob Dillon highlighted one of the mega trends at the conference. For a variety of reasons, federal and state policy is mandating, schools are demanding, and publishers are paying more attention to inclusive instructional design (or Universal Design of Instruction, UDI). Being able to accommodate students who have deficiencies or learning preferences is becoming required and commonplace, and publishers that do not have inclusive features baked in are seeing their products bypassed by curriculum committees at districts. This is a specialty of The ETIN’s Sarah Kloek, and she will be talking about how to comply with federal and state regulations at the SIIA Annual Conference in June.
And another conversation with TeamDynamix's Andrew Graf highlighted that security is the second biggest concern of superintendents nationwide. Districts have to contend with parents’, students’, and teachers' increasing expectations about immediate access to the content they want when they want it, and if there is a problem, that it be solved immediately, at the same time as they face resource constraints. Dynamix’s solution is to make it easier for users to fix problems on their own while also making it less labor intensive for the right expert to fix problems that require specialized knowledge.
And no conference would be complete without conversing with Tom Whitby. Tom and I planned out a series of Edchat Interactives on Wednesday nights that will drill down on the most popular topics of the Tuesday Edchat Twitter Chat. You can sign up for Wednesday, Feb 7 here, or see what is coming up here.