February 02, 2014

Revisiting FETC

The 2014 Florida Educational Technology Conference hosted over 9,000 leaders, educators, and technology experts that traveled from across the globe to network, attend workshops, and see the innovative practices being supported by Ed Tech. I had the privilege of attending with Laura Gleeson, Kyle Tuck, Planboard's, William Zhou, and my thesis and Ed Tech Internship adviser, Dr. Camille Rutherford. I represented both Brock University and SesameIO, an educational technology startup committed to making learning visible.

While it was nice to get a break from the cold and snow that seemed to litter the Hamilton area while I was gone, an international conference is far from a vacation! You quickly realize that you'll be in "work mode" for the majority of your trip...and the rainy weather in Florida made sure I did. That being said, to attend a conference of this magnitude was truly an eye-opening experience. My biggest takeaway was how different the acquisition processes behind educational technology were in the United States from Canada. It seemed as if there was a distinct financial and technical focus that filtered through the sessions I attended on procurement and less emphasis on student learning and professional development. It was clear that many of the people administering the sessions were representatives from the financial sector and not educators, so I appreciated that they stuck to what they knew. However, I did realize this was a gap that I could perhaps see myself filling as I study policy, acquisition, and finance in the M.Ed program, while still working as full-time tutor with a school board and as a teaching assistant at Brock.

Connecting with fellow educators, at varied levels of experience, was also a conference highlight. Those conversations are so refreshing and it makes me grateful for Twitter, as it allows me to keep up with the insights of my colleagues year-round. Thanks goes out to Mindshare Learning, Remind101, and Lightspeed Systems for the wonderful events they put on. While this year's FETC had me soaking up more knowledge than sun, I was truly grateful for the entire experience!

*Look out for the Brock Dream Team's podcast on FETC to be uploaded soon!

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