So far I’ve been fairly impressed with
all most of the sessions I attended. I got up early for the Eye-Opener session with Willard Daggart, which proved to be the least interested. Daggart’s presentation was full of bombast, and seemed bent on shock value, and I seriously doubted some of the numbers and statistics he was pulling out of the air. I completely agree with this blog posting on Weblogg-ed entitled Fear and Loathing at FETC…
FETC is without question the "If We Don’t Start Teaching Our Kids 21st Century Learning Skills We’re All In A Boatload of Trouble" Conference. Just about everywhere you look you see a reminder that this is indeed the 21st Century and that we’re teaching to 20th Century standards with 20th Century techniques. It’s almost the message from a lot of the featured speakers is like, "ok…you had six years to figure out that the Century actually did change…why haven’t you changed anything about how you teach?"
When Daggart stated that it wasn’t until the invention of the World Wide Web that you could send e-mail, he lost me completely. I might would have been more lenient had it not been so early.
My first concurrent session was on sound reinforcement in the classroom. After hearing this guy, I was ready to sign a contract with his company. One of the most compelling statements he made was as follows:
We don’t use a single bulb at the front of the classroom. Light is distributed throughout the room. Why shouldn’t we do the same for sound?
Some of the points he made about return on investment and the relatively low cost of this technology make one wonder why all districts don’t do this in every classroom.
Second session was a primer in Podcasting by Dan Schmidt. This is obviously a hot topic for this conference as the room was packed 30 minutes before the presentation was to begin. Dan’s opening comment was, "Let’s get started while there’s still oxygen in the room."
Dan provided rationale for using Podcasting in the classroom. I’m still concerned with the tremendous amounts of bandwidth and storage space this would take up. I also came up with a couple of ideas for my own podcasts, if I could ever get the time to put them together.
After the first several sessions I headed down to the vendors again. I think I had serious discussions with more vendors at this conference than at any others. When I go to EdTech, I have already pretty much established relationships and drawn the lines with those vendors. Here there were new things to see, and since Florida isn’t that far from SC, for them it really was the possibility of new business.
One really weird thing happened at the vendors. I spotted a booth for Brite White Papers, and there was the guy that we had bought our house from in Greenville! Talk about a small world!