Best of the (FETC) blogs

Thanks to eSN’s Conference Correspondents program, educators can get a peer-validated sample of key concurrent sessions featured at the Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando Feb. 22-24. The result: Members and visitors at eSchool News Online have access to key advice culled from literally hours of conference sessions.

eSN initiated its Conference Correspondents program in November 2004. The idea was simple: Find educators attending sessions at major ed-tech conferences, and have them file reports for our readers who were unable to attend–or who simply want to review their favorite sessions.

Here’s a sampling of some of the best reports filed from this year’s FETC. For complete access to these and other Conference Correspondent reports, visit: Media Literacy: One of the Critical 21st Century Literacy Skills

“… [Speaker] Frank Baker entertained, as well as educated, us about the need for media literacy … At his web site (, you will find a wealth of information about media literacy. In fact, he calls it a media literacy clearinghouse designed for K-12 educators who want to learn more about media literacy, integrate it into classroom instruction, help students read the media, and help students become more media aware. … I look forward to exploring Frank’s web site to learn more ways that educators are integrating computer literacy in their classes.”

–Janet Bailey, Library Media Specialist, Richmond (Va.) City Schools Way Cool Tech Tools That Motivate Students and Save You Time

“ is a fantastic internet time-saver. It is a free service and makes hot links. FETC 2006 has been set up as an account for us to play with. Electronic grade books are also excellent time-savers. Excelsior was shown, and it has all kinds of neat features, like test-score bar graphs and full picture and name seating charts. You can also click one button, and only one child’s grades will show. … In BrainPOP, you can access two free [animated video clips] per computer, per day. FETC as username and password gives you a 30-day free trial to play with. …”

–Suzy King, Inclusion Specialist, Old Kings Elementary School, Flagler Beach, Fla. Copyright: Your Questions Answered

“… [Speaker Gary] Becker then gave examples of copyright court cases from 2005. The cases showed that nothing is finite; some cases [were] won by the copyright holder, others failed. Some information gleaned from these cases: (1) Even though a foreign copyright may have fallen into public domain in the foreign country, the U.S. copyright may still be in force; (2) ISPs are not responsible for how their services are used unless they promote that use; (3) Individual colleges and individual students are now being charged in peer-to-peer sharing violations; (4) … The reformatting of materials to a digital format is not legal without permission, as well as putting that material on a server; (5) Through the Teach Act, portions of copyrighted materials may be used for distance learning. …”

–Pat Bivin, Librarian, International Academy of Design and Technology, Orlando, Fla. Sticky Web Sites

“What makes a person go back to a web site time and time again? Web sites like Google, eBay, and Funbrain all seem to have the stickum’ that makes … users return over and over. Stickum factors include free, current, and easy to navigate. Here is some advice on making sure you have the stickum factor in your school web site: Remember why you created the web page, and the audience the site is intended [for]. … Keep the info current, make sure there are no dead or broken links, and check links every few weeks to assure the links still work. Recent pictures are also a reason people come back to your web site. [Speaker Patty] Turbeville went on to show us what appeared to be recent pictures but were, in fact, of students who had been promoted out of the school and of teachers who had retired. [Also shown:] a school improvement plan–from the 2003-2004 school year …”

–Patty Sibson, School Technology Coordinator, Duval County (Fla.) Public Schools Classroom Management Skills

“Looking for a new way to help develop classroom management strategies with your teachers? PEGS ( is a new simulation software program developed with a multitude of modules to help teachers recognize their classroom management mistakes and realize alternative approaches that work. In addition to independent use, this helpful teaching tool can be used with a group of teachers to provoke meaningful discussion about handling typical classroom behaviors. … For teachers who have grown up playing video games, this type of instruction will be well received–and for those of us who are older, it may be welcomed as a new approach to learning, versus the typical video or group discussion typically found in the college classroom …”

–Janet Bailey, Library Media Specialist, Richmond (Va.) City Schools

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