FETC is ongoing in Orlando, Fla. from Jan. 24 through Jan. 27, 2017.

FETC 2017: New Technology for 21st Century Learners Takes Center Stage

A keynote focusing on incredible innovations paired with a number of tech debuts showcases exciting updates to education.

Education experts keen on talking about the magic of ed tech have arrived in Orlando for the 37th National Future of Education Technology Conference.

The conference, which runs until Friday, opened with a keynote called “Awesome New Technologies” during which leaders in tech discussed (and demonstrated) various new innovations their companies have developed for the classroom.

Margo Day, vice president of U.S. Education at Microsoft, discussed how the company's Hacking STEM program, which was launched in 2016, helps all teachers integrate tech into their classes in meaningful ways. The goal: to get students prepared for 21st century skills like those involving data and analytics.

“If you’re a fourth grader, by the time you graduate high school the data that is accessible to you is 100 times greater than what is available today,” says Day in a video of the keynote posted to Twitter. “Awesome new technology needs to be positioned in the context of the future.”

Also presenting in the show’s opening keynote was Tyler Sussman, director of partnerships at Summit Learning, a free program that helps supports teachers with adding personalized learning through technology into their classrooms. Sussman says the best kind of ed tech tools are those that help address classrooms issues and give students independence.

“[Tools] shouldn’t be gadgets for the sake of being gadgets,” he says. “The students of the 21st century need to have the ability to self-direct their education.”

Throughout the show floor, well-known tech companies were also launching new products aimed to increase collaboration and active learning in the classroom. Here’s a rundown of the newly announced tech:

  • Epson is launching new PowerLite ultra-short throw presentation displays designed to boost collaboration and display content from multiple devices simultaneously.

  • AVer, a provider of video conferencing solutions, showcased interactive flat screen panels, in sizes from 65 to 85 inches, that can work with other classroom tech like notebooks and mobile devices.

  • Califone International, which creates audiovisual gear, announced the release of two new public address announcing systems, including the PA11, which is wireless and can be used indoors and outdoors — including on field trips.

  • Wahsega Labs, a company that creates IP-enabled speaker and streaming solutions, announced the launch of compact 2-foot by 2-foot ceiling speakers built to save IT departments money on installation costs.

  • Black Box showed off new educational device charging carts that can power classroom devices from Google Chromebooks to tablets.

  • Impero launched Education Pro 6, a suite of classroom and network management tools that will now have cloud-based analytics and reporting features to help administrators use data visualization to explore school safety statistics.

Thanks to the FETC Startup Pavilion, 19 new companies are showcasing their tools for virtual reality, e-learning, game-based learning and more, THE Journal reports. The startups will present their innovations at the FETC PitchFest, which culminates at noon on Friday.

Stay up on the latest news from the show floor by following #FETC2017 on Twitter.

bobbyuzda/Thinkstock
Jan 26 2017

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