Actor and activist Ed Begley Jr. opened the 30th annual Florida Education technology Conference Jan. 13.

Actor and activist Ed Begley Jr. opened the 30th annual Florida Education Technology Conference Jan. 13.

Free online tools that can save teachers time, new innovations that could make online learning more accessible, and keen insight into how educators can let students take responsibility for their own learning safely were among the highlights at the 2010 Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando last month.

More than 7,000 educators and administrators gathered in Orlando Jan. 13-15 for the 30th annual FETC, one of the largest state ed-tech conferences in the nation. The conference also featured an exhibit hall with more than 400 ed-tech vendors.

Here are some of the highlights from this year’s show. (To read about each topic, click on the headline.)

Free web tools can save time and effort for teachers

While technology can be a powerful educational tool, many teachers still worry that it’s just not worth the effort. But thanks to keynote speaker Tammy Worcester, technology just got an “easy” button.

What every 21st-century educator should know

Keynote speaker Cheryl Lemke discussed what it takes to be a 21st-century education leader.

novemberNovember to educators: Let students use online social tools

The most important change technology brings to education is that it enables students to take charge of their own learning, said education technology consultant Alan November. Yet, this is happening in too few classrooms, he said—and one reason is that schools are blocking access to the very tools that allow such activity.

Visual learning a key strategy for helping students succeed

Software that takes a visual approach to teaching math has led to double-digit gains in the test scores of Orange County, Calif., students—and the software’s maker was one of several ed-tech companies demonstrating new visual learning products at FETC.

pearsoninformSoftware shows students’ full test history

School data systems are getting more sophisticated, a perusal of FETC exhibitors suggested—and at least two companies now offer systems that show teachers the entire history of their students’ test results, including the results from prior school years.

New tools will make online courses more accessible

Florida Virtual School, a pioneer in K-12 online learning, is adding to its reputation as a national innovator with the introduction of read-aloud functionality and other accessibility tools in its online courses.

HP-MiniFETC 2010: Hardware

A multi-touch netbook, an entry-level workstation that is priced like a desktop, and a USB-based virtual computing appliance were among the new hardware innovations launched in Orlando.

FETC 2010: Instruction & Assessment

Software that facilitates peer reviewing of student papers, a scaled-down (and less expensive) version of a popular data logger for science classes, and a media player for accessing more than 10,000 digital resources from the NBC News archives were among the new instructional technologies unveiled at FETC.

3dprojectorresizedFETC 2010: Audio-Visual Systems

Three-dimensional projectors, control systems that tie together multiple devices from a single source, and a digital “TV-station-in-a-box” were among the AV highlights.

FETC 2010: Online Learning Communities

Software platforms for delivering personalized instruction, teaching with laptops, and communicating with stakeholders were showcased.

fujitsFETC 2010: Security

Read about a new anti-theft computer system, network safety technologies, and a biometric security system that reported is 100 times more accurate than fingerprint technology.

FETC 2010: Training & Consulting

A new tool that gives school district employees an anonymous way to report fraud, an online training course for using SMART Board interactive whiteboards, a support system for meeting the needs of students with autism, and more.

FETC 2010: Exhibitor Index

Looking for coverage of a specific company from FETC 2010? Use this handy index to find the information you need. Clicking on each link will take you to the story where that company is featured.