Roboticist and Engineer Dr. Ayanna Howard to Give STEM Keynote at 2018 Future of Education Technology Conference

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla.―The National Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) announced today that Dr. Ayanna Howard, an educator, researcher, and innovator noted for her ability to make STEM fun and accessible for children with disabilities, will deliver the closing keynote address on Friday, January 26, 2018, at the 38th annual event. The conference will take place January 23 – 26, 2018 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. Howard, who is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Zyrobotics and a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), has been recognized as one of Business Insider’s 23 most powerful women engineers and was named a top young innovator by MIT Technology Review. She has made significant contributions in the technology areas of artificial intelligence, computer vision, and robotics, and specializes in intelligent technologies that must adapt to and function within a human-centered world.

Howard’s FETC keynote, “The Value of Inclusive STEM Education: Robots and their Role in our Future,” will take a look at the recent upsurge in attention given to robots and artificial intelligence (AI) and their future role in our society. How do schools make robots―which, with intelligence, are advancing into beneficial, life-saving machines for assisting us in our everyday lives―accessible for the next generation of diverse students? Through lessons learned building robots that assist children with special needs, Howard will discuss the elements of intelligence, trust, and emotional empathy robots are emulating. The keynote will conclude with advice outlining how educators can best prepare students to embrace the inevitable future.

“Throughout Dr. Ayanna Howard’s career, she has demonstrated a consistent commitment to many of the key ideals of FETC―among them innovation, invention, and inclusive education for all learners―and has done so with consistent success and much-deserved acclaim,” said Jennifer Womble, program chair of FETC. “We are honored and excited that Dr. Howard will share such a timely and forward-looking keynote with our 2018 conference attendees and we can’t wait to hear her insights on robots and their role in the future of society.”

Zyrobotics, which Howard founded in 2013 as a Georgia Tech spin-off, provides inclusive mobile technologies that make learning accessible to all students. The company is currently licensing technology derived from her research and has released their first suite of mobile therapy and educational products for children with differing needs.

In addition to her position as CTO for Zyrobotics, Dr. Howard is Professor and Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Endowed Chair in Bioengineering in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds the position of Associate Chair for Faculty Development in ECE and Director of the Human-Automation Systems Lab (HumAnS). In 2015, she founded and now directs the $3 million traineeship initiative in healthcare robotics and functions as the lead investigator on the National Science Foundation undergraduate summer research program in robotics. Prior to joining the faculty at Georgia Tech, Dr. Howard was a Senior Robotics Researcher and Deputy Manager in the Office of the Chief Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

FETC will be kicked off with an opening keynote from sought-after speaker and record-breaking TED Talk presenter Sir Ken Robinson. Robinson will challenge attendees to personalize learning for all students and put students in an environment where they can operate creatively and discover their passions. Throughout the conference, educators will have the opportunity to choose from more than 600 learning opportunities focused on providing solutions to schools’ most pressing challenges and technological implementations. The conference’s five Future of Ed Tech program tracks―Administrator, Information Technology, Educator, Special Education, and Early Learning ― present specific, targeted content for each attendee’s unique learning needs and make it simple for participants to identify relevant sessions and develop a customized schedule.

Registration is now open for the 2018 Future of Education Technology Conference. For additional information and to register, visit or call toll-free 1-800-727-1227.  The Super Saver rate is available until November 17, 2017.