The 2006 Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) kicks off on Wednesday, March 22, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, and will bring together educators, administrators, and technology experts from Florida and around the nation. More than 8,500 attendees are expected.

The opening session begins Wednesday at 7 p.m., and Rudolph Crew, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, will deliver the keynote. More than 200 sessions are offered at this year’s FETC, and the exhibit hall will feature more than 500 exhibitors. The conference is sponsored by Cisco Systems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Company, Jasmine Technologies Inc., Pearson Education, Riverdeep, and The Princeton Review.

Some of the topics to be addressed by presentations at the 2006 conference include accountability, community connections, learners, learning environment, professional competency, system capacity, and technology capacity.

Featured speakers include education executives from technology companies, U.S. Department of Education officials, university and college professors, and state school district administrators.

Thursday and Friday will offer “Eye-Opening Keynotes,” and presenters will address questions such as what students will need to know about and do with technology in the year 2010, what the nation’s next president should do about education, and the technology skills that “Gen D”–the generation that has grown up with digital devices in a digital culture–will need to compete in an increasingly global work environment.

New for FETC 2006 are updated session topics, in which FETC opted to use focus areas similar to the Florida Department of Education’s School Technology and Readiness (STaR) Chart.

Seventy-nine professional development workshops, given by local and national experts, will provide training opportunities for attendees.

While at the conference, visitors can explore the latest in assistive and instructional technology in the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resource System’s (FDLRS) Hands-On Technology Lab. At the lab’s reading, writing, math, science, art, and music stations, attendees can preview programs that support differentiated instruction to match the needs of students with disabilities as well as general education students who are struggling to achieve learning gains. A Universal Access Station includes digital tools that provide access to information and curriculum content for all students, using Universal Design strategies.

Tours of Ocoee Middle School, Florida’s “state demonstration school,” will also be offered during the conference. In an effort to develop a “break-the-mold-technology-based” facility, this project was assigned to the state’s SMART Schools Clearinghouse, and began with extensive discussions on how middle-school-aged children learn and how technology can enhance learning.

Links:

Florida Educational Technology Conference
http://www.fetc.org