The first keynotes of FETC 2015 were led by personalities working at ground zero for the innovation happening in 3D printing and human-gaming relationships in the classroom.
Jane McGonigal, director of games and research development at nonprofit Institute for the Future, led the conference’s opening keynote speech Wednesday.
McGonigal has a Ph.D. in the study of gaming's effects on humans, wrote Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World, has been interviewed on The Colbert Report and led a TED talk in 2010 on how games can make the world a better place.
Throughout her speech at FETC, McGonigal chipped away at the myths surrounding gaming, namely that it is a brain-rotting pastime. Using studies and articles, McGonigal showed that gaming inspires 10 positive reactions in players. Topping the list is creativity.
— Diana Rendina (@DianaLRendina) January 21, 2015
Gaming is no longer a niche activity, McGonigal said. It’s narrowing the gap between boys and girls being invested in technology. Quoting statistics, she said 99 percent of boys and 94 percent of girls under age 18 play online games at least an hour each week.
“Soon we’ll all be gamers,” McGonigal said.
"12 Years From Now" with Yuri Salnikoff pic.twitter.com/cg4spVWlOi
— fetc (@fetc) January 22, 2015
Yuri Salnikoff, the head of marketing for MakerBot, led Thursday’s keynote. Salnikoff was filling in for MakerBot CEO Jennifer Lawton to discuss the value of 3D printing in schools.
The technology has made huge strides in accessibility at schools, thanks to the hardware becoming more affordable. The technology is helping educators bring abstract mathematical concepts to the physical world, he said.
Salnikoff said educators have been among the early adopters of 3D printing and that the company expects the technology will reach mass market adoption within 12 years.
Thursday also concluded the first FETC STEM Excellence Awards. One winning school was chosen from each of the three divisions, elementary, middle and high school, for innovation and excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs.
High School Winner
MAST @ FIU Biscayne Bay Campus
Miami-Dade Public School System, located in North Miami, Fla.
Middle School Winner
Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12
Mason City Community Schools, located in Mason City, Iowa
Elementary School Winner
TR Paul Academy of Arts and Knowledge
Charter School Institute, located in Fort Collins, Colo.
Follow EdTech: Focus on K–12 on Twitter to learn more about this year’s FETC. We’ll be tweeting conference coverage throughout the week.