Jan 20 2021

FETC 2021: This Year’s Gathering Reflects Shift to Virtual and Hybrid Education

The Future of Education Technology Conference will take much of its innovation online as it embraces the lessons of remote teaching for its annual event.

The 41st annual edition of the Future of Education Technology Conference promises to look a lot different than the prior 40.

This will be the first virtual edition of the event, running Jan. 26-29, which gives educators and administrators a look at the latest trends in educational technology that can enable teachers and administrators to better do their jobs.

In the past, the event brought thousands of people to Florida, but this year it will aim for an immersive experience that relies on many of the technologies teachers themselves use to help students learn. The event will present important discussions for educators and administrators looking to move forward with remote and hybrid learning after a difficult 2020.

A Focus on Educator Resilience

The lead keynote session reflects the challenges of the past year: Marcus Buckingham, a motivational speaker and bestselling author who helps lead the ADP Research Institute, will discuss the topic of resilience.

A former senior researcher at Gallup, Buckingham will use his session to highlight recent research about the sources of resilience in two recent studies. He will also present strategies for measuring resilience and building it within yourself.

“We are excited to hear him share the relationships between resilience, optimism, performance and psychological well-being during this crucial time,” said Jen Womble, program chair for the conference, in a press release.

Educational leaders also need to understand a thing or two about resilience. CDW Education Strategist Doug Konopelko will join a session Jan. 27 to highlight the ways that educational leaders can effectively handle the shifts spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: Tips for ensuring that your virtual school board meeting is productive.

Helping Educators Make Sense of a Virtual World

A major focus of this year’s event will be the sudden move to remote environments, with sessions on the shift to hybrid learning, including the ways that technology infrastructures will have to adapt to current needs. Intel will discuss how these shifts create changes in product selection for school districts.

Speakers will also look at tactics for teachers: Zoom will offer a session Jan. 29 on how to create safe and engaging classes with videoconferencing technology.

Even in light of the challenges of the past year, there is still plenty of room for success. A session on STEM will show how schools such as Normal West High School in Illinois are helping to keep science and technology education alive amid the shift to remote learning.

READ MORE: Tech initiatives to prioritize in virtual classrooms.

Keeping School Districts Secure

Another strand running through this year’s conference is cybersecurity. On the final day of the conference, Lenny Schad, CIO and chief innovation officer for District Administration magazine, will discuss the cybersecurity challenges that face school districts, remaining a top priority for IT departments.

Meanwhile, Ron Watson, district technology director at New Jersey’s New Milford Public Schools, will discuss physical security in schools, sharing how his district uses cloud technology to help manage safety on campus.

EdTech will be covering FETC virtually, so bookmark this page for conference coverage. Follow @EdTech_K12 on Twitter for live updates, and join the conversation at #FETC.

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