A teacher's power as a classroom leader and technology innovator will be a major focus at FETC 2012.

Thousands of educators nationwide will have an opportunity to explore new technologies and an ed-tech marketplace when FETC 2012, one of the largest conferences in the nation devoted entirely to education technology, opens with keynote speaker Tierney Cahill, a Nevada teacher, author, Congressional candidate and subject of the upcoming film, “Class Act.”

As FETC’s opening-session speaker on Jan. 24, Cahill is expected to discuss her experience running for Congress while working as a sixth grade teacher and having her class act as her campaign management. Cahill’s dedicated herself to running for Nevada’s District 2 Congressional seat to show her students that anyone can run for office. Although she lost the election, her experience winning the primaries inspired her to write a book that is being developed into a feature film starring HalleBerry.

Cahill leads an array of distinguished featured speakers, including Michael Wesch, a cultural anthropologist, researcher in digital ethnography, and associate professor at Kansas State University. He will discuss new types of conversation, exchange, and collaboration created by new media. He will explore what is at stake, what is possible, and how to create new learning environments for students and teachers to move beyond simply being knowledgeable to being knowledgeable (able to find, sort, analyze, criticize, create, and collaborate) in new media environments. Other internationally-recognized featured speakers include Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Marc Prensky, Julie Evans, Elliot Soloway, Rushton Hurley, and Meg Ormiston.

FETC’s 32nd annual conference takes place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 23 through Jan. 26, and features dynamic speakers, exhibitors, and events designed to provide K-12 educators and administrators with an unparalleled opportunity to explore different technologies across the curriculum while increasing their familiarity with the latest hardware, software, and successful strategies on student technology use.

FETC 2012 will present more than 210 concurrent and “BYOD” (bring your own device) sessions in addition to 132 ticketed professional development workshops focusing on hot-topic areas, such as digital content, future and emerging technologies, teaching and learning, administration, and accountability.

The FETC Exhibit Hall, a dedicated educators’ marketplace, will enable attendees to see and purchase the latest innovations in classroom technology from more than 300 companies, including education and technology powerhouses like Epson, Edmodo, Insight Systems Exchange, and AVAI. This hands-on, interactive environment is a key component of the FETC experience, allowing conference attendees to access the cutting-edge software and hardware transforming today’s education landscape.