The 30th annual Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) opened with actor and environmental activist Ed Begley Jr. urging educators to inspire their students to make a difference — and with news that one of the nation’s oldest ed-tech conferences is branching out into online professional development.
Begley, star of the Planet Green series “Living with Ed” on the Discovery Channel (Discovery Education is a major sponsor of FETC), said the educators attending FETC–many of whom are from around the United States and abroad–are the reason the annual conference is so important.
“I wanted to come here and speak to you today not just to talk about environmental issues, but how you can influence students in your classrooms to make a difference in our world,” he said. “I hope that by sharing some of my knowledge with you, you will in turn help make the future a great place to live.”
Begley said helping to take care of the environment doesn’t always have to mean buying expensive solar panels and electric cars—it can be as simple as installing energy-efficient light bulbs in the classroom.
“Everybody can do something today,” he said. “By doing it one step at a time, we can solve the world’s global crisis. And not only is implementing green strategies good for the environment and can help teach kids community involvement, but it’s fiscally responsible, too. In hard economic times like these, being less reliant on energy and growing your own organic food can really cut down on costs.”
FETC organizers announced the launch of FETC University, an online program for K-12 educators to earn graduate credit for career advancement.
The program offers courses developed and presented by speakers at FETC 2010, as well as other leading industry experts. Key topics for FETC University will include the teaching of 21st-century skills, using emerging technologies in education, and social networking collaboration to improve instruction.
All courses are delivered online, are self-paced, and are available on demand.
FETC University is a partnership between FETC and Knowledge Delivery Systems (KDS), a provider of online professional development.
“We are always looking for additional ways to help teachers integrate technology into their classrooms,” said Michael Eason, executive director of FETC. “Technology is the key to ensuring that [high] quality education is accessible to every student, and FETC University will be an important tool to make certain that teachers understand and can apply the latest innovations in classroom technology.”
FETC University courses will include video content featuring lectures, classroom examples, teacher panels, presenter dialogs, and other interactive content. Additionally, courses will include PowerPoint presentation slides synchronized to the video, printable transcripts and resources, and interactive discussion forums where teachers can share thoughts and learn with other educators.
Although the virtual courses are meant to enhance the content presented at FETC 2010, non-conference attendees will not be affected, as all online classes are stand-alone courses and can be completed without conference attendance. Courses from FETC 2010 presenters will be available at the end of March, with the exception of Meg Ormiston’s “Teaching, Learning, and Leading in a Digital Age” course, which will be available during FETC 2010.
Courses will range from $149 for recertification to $399 for three graduate credits; however, discounts will be offered for FETC conference attendees.
Conference attendees also were urged to check out Qwizdom’s online Twitter feed to look for clues during the show and tweet their answers to earn a chance at $10,000 in Qwizdom classroom technologies.