Contributor: Rachelle Dene Poth, Language and STEAM Teacher at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA.
Conference season is coming up quick and the first big edtech event of 2019 will be FETC. For the past two years I have attended this fantastic conference and it has become a favorite. A conference like FETC provides so many diverse and personalized professional learning opportunities in emerging trends, making it a must attend event. Preparing to attend can be overwhelming at first, with so many learning strands and session types to choose from. But have no fear, you can’t go wrong because there is so much to take in and the choices are everywhere. Sometimes the best experiences at a conference have been by not sticking to a plan and staying flexible throughout each day, looking for new opportunities and time to spend networking.
For me, one of the most effective ways that I have started my planning is to think about my professional learning goals and finding out which members of my PLN are attending. I recommend that anyone attending get a start by looking at the FETC website and following in the #FETC Twitter feed, even posting some questions to get involved in the excitement and conversations leading up to the conference.
Here are 5 recommendations that I would make for FETC 2019:
- Make time to connect: I recommend that you get your week started by planning some meetups with your “edufriends.” Find out which members of your PLN are attending, especially if you have not yet met face to face, and plan some time together. It is nice to have a core group to connect with during the conference. It makes it more meaningful and provides a good way to share ideas, have fun and learn from each other. If you don’t have members of your PLN to connect with, don’t worry. As my good friend Rodney Turner (@techyturner) says, just find someone and begin a conversation.There is always someone else looking to connect, so take the opportunity to build PLN.
- Keynotes and New Sessions: Not to be missed this year are the Keynote speakers and the new Mega Sessions format. Salman Khan will kick off the event on Monday with the opening Keynote, “The One World School House—Education Reimagined.” Six mega sessions will be presented and enable attendees to learn from some great presenters including Leslie Fisher, Michael Meechin, Matt Miller, Kasey Bell, Erin Klein and Steve Dembo.
- Check out the new products: The expo hall always has so much going on that it if your intention is to make a quick trip through it, don’t be surprised if an intended ten minute stroll turns into an hour long exploration. So many new tech tools to see and why not take the time to really learn about them there! Be sure to stop by the poster sessions too, a great way to gather a lot of ideas in a short span of time.
- Workshops and Concurrent Sessions: I enjoyed being able to attend and learn from members of my PLN, so I always check the program to find out where they are presenting and try to get into the session. It is so helpful that FETC is divided into five strands, making it easy to select a focus and follow that program, or simply create your own plan based on your professional learning goals. New trends are with Augmented and Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence, two topics that I am presenting on but looking forward to learning from the other presenters!
- Networking and Social Events: Learning doesn’t stop when the sessions end. Make sure you add time in to attend some of the social events planned by the different edtech companies and other meetups like the #coffeeedu. These are great opportunities to continue conversations, share ideas and just a nice opportunity and environment for building PLN.
While I have attended many different edtech conferences over the past few years, FETC has become a favorite and I look forward to it every year. When January comes and goes, I am already counting down the days until the next time. The best part is being able to spend time with friends, learning and growing together. I am looking forward to presenting, and this year will be another opportunity to present with my PLN. See you in Orlando!
Here are some of the sessions I will be presenting at FETC 2019: