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My PLN Keeps Growing
I’m just back from my trip to the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC), where my passion for all things ed tech was re-ignited. This conference exposed me to new apps, Web 2.0 sites, and software that will improve instruction and assessment in my classroom. The main advantage that comes from attending a conference such as FETC is the reflection and collaboration that occurs through my own ever-widening PLN.
Following FETC on Edmodo
At FETC, I was able to collaborate both before and after the conference with keynote speakers and attendees on sites such as Twitter and Edmodo. By participating in these sites, I was able to know about upcoming sessions, participate in thought-provoking conversations, and share resources with conference presenters. As part of Edmodo’s platform, I have access to every FETC session and workshop that I attended, which gives me valuable resources to bring back to my 1:1 laptop school.
One of the prevailing themes that I heard over and over again at FETC was related to relevance. The technology that we use in our classrooms needs to be relevant to our students’ lives. Our lives, as educators, have become dependent upon the web. But if we look at our students’ lives, they were born with technology in their hands and with social media as part of their daily lives.
And yet, when they enter the classroom, explained Jaime Casap, FETC keynote, we ask them to “turn off their phones,” or “shut down their devices.” We live in an age where we need to encourage students to take appropriate risks with technology to enhance their learning.
New Sites I’m Excited to Use
Some of my favorite sites that I learned about at FETC include:
- Popplet -interactive concept maps
- PicLits – digital storytelling
- ThingLink – interactive pictures
- VoiceThread – digital discussion
Most of the sites that I learned about are free or affordable sites that integrate well into any classroom without a learning curve.
Finally, one of the most exciting things that I was reminded of is that educators are “brain-changers,” so says Dr. David Sousa, FETC keynote.
We are the only profession that changes the brain every day. We can embrace school change in the age of high-stakes testing and accountability by effectively using technology in new ways that allow our students to process information instead of merely memorizing facts.
With technology, as with learning in general, it was widely accepted at FETC that school should be fun and inviting!