Sunday, January 30, 2011

The FETC 2011 Preview

It seems like just the other day that I was heading back to Tallahassee from FETC 2010, and here I sit at Starbucks putting the final touches on preparations for FETC 2011. As I type, some are already arriving in Orlando to catch the pre-conference workshops and meetings that begin tomorrow morning. Others will use tomorrow as their travel day, and I'll leave Tallahassee early Tuesday morning - in time to catch Hall Davidson, Leslie Fisher and John Kuglin for A Technology Shootout at 11am. It should set the tone for the next two days, as it did in 2010.

In 2010, I made my first trip to FETC and was able to enjoy it as an attendee. I had been accepted to present a paid workshop session, but had my session nixed due to a lack of interest in my session. After the initial blow to my ego, I realized that the cancellation was a blessing in disguise. I was able to attend free from the stress that comes with preparation and presentation.

Not one to take rejection lying down, I again submitted a proposal for a half-day workshop and was again accepted. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I found out that this year I did acquire the neccesary number of registrants (not sure what that number is). Whew! I'm not sure if I could have handled a repeat of last year.

While it often seems as if the most difficult about presenting at a conference is waiting to find out if your proposal has been accepted, the real work/stress begins with session preparation. What should I include? Will it be relevant enough? Am I qualified to teach my peers? And so on, and so on. My workshop is a Bring-Your-Own-Laptop (BYOL) hands-on session entitled Transforming the Secondary Classroom with Web 2.0 Tools. So the question about what to include was all too real for me. So many tools and so little time.

My goal is to send teachers away with the tools needed to implement meaningful lessons as soon as they return to their classrooms. I expect that most (if not all) of the teachers that have registered for my workshop are beginning tech integrators. My plan is to focus first on building a web presence and PLN - teacher websites, social networking, etc. Rather than use the web 2.0 "shootout" format (lots of apps in rapid-fire), I'll focus on just a few. I believe that this is the best approach with newbies.

Beyond my own session, I'm looking forward to catching sessions by some of my favorites and hopefully expand my PLN with some new faces. James Gubbins (@JMGubbins) is back this year with Untangling the Web (Wed. at 9:15am).

Lee Kolbert (@TeachaKidd) always does an awesome job. This year she'll be doing VoiceThread (Wed. at 12:30) again with David Fisher (@davidfisher65). David is also doing Let's do the Flip! (Wed. at 3:10). As a classroom Flip user, I'm looking forward to that one.

With nearly 200 concurrent sessions to choose from, it really does take some time to study the schedule. As always, I'll expect a healthy Twitter stream (#fetc) to allow many to virtually attend sessions that they can't get to physically. Edmodo will also be a major part of this year's conference, with groups set up for all sessions and workshops.

Not going to FETC this year? It should be easy enough to keep up with everything FETC by following the #fetc Twitter feed, as well as the many blog posts that I'm sure will emanate from the Orange County Convention Center - including several from right here.

If you do plan on attending in person this year, don't miss the Tweet-up Wednesday evening at 5:30 - TGI Friday's on International Drive.

My next post should come from Orlando. Back in a couple of days!!


Lee Kolbert said...

Thanks for the shoutout! I'm looking forward to seeing you and learning a lot this year. Each year it seems like there's less and less time to do more and more at the conference. Enjoy the conference and see you there!

James Gubbins said...

Thanks for the plug. I'm sure it helped fill my session! It was great seeing you again at another successful FETC. We need to get the Fearless Foursome of @jswiatek, @JMGubbins, @Fernandezc4 and @stephenveliz together to either rock a session or a workshop. It would be nice if FETC offered two hour session slots next year. 55 minutes is rarely enough time to cover any topic properly.