This morning I headed down to Orlando with my friend and colleague Jessica to attend FETC. I haven't been there in years. Last time I went I had a pass like I did today. The pass would get me onto the Expo Floor and possibly a few sessions.
The last time I had that opportunity, it was perfect. I was able to browse, listen to sales pitches and pick up some free software on CDs. It was all I needed or desired at the time.
Today was a great day and I am still happy to have had the chance to go. I am thankful to my school for finding a way to make that happen. But I did notice some changes...in the conference, and in me.
Software on CDs are a thing of the past. The Expo Hall was interesting to walk through. We played with Google Cardboard, saw 3D printers and robots, chatted with educators about Maker Spaces, compared Mimios and Promethean boards, and Learning Systems were everywhere. I realized as we walked, I have a different hunger than I did from last time I came. I was searching for two things: connecting and learning. I wanted to meet some of my PLN face to face and I wanted to sit in sessions to learn, grow and connect.
I loved what I learned in a session about Brain Pop. I have used it for years. However, I didn't know I can now have my own account and so can my students. I can create quizzes and give feedback. There are games, mind maps and so much more than I knew. I am excited to dive in and find out more. You can do the same...just go to Brainpop.com and head to the bottom of the page. There you will find Brainpop Educators. Inside there you will find all the training you need. Check it out! You are missing some valuable things.
I also found a new math app/program to check out, Prodigy. It looks like a motivating tool for students to practice math and had some great teacher tools as well. I will be checking that out. I will let you know how it goes.
I am thankful I did run into a few of my PLN, including Jeannie Wright. She is the person responsible for getting me using Twitter with purpose, a decision that changed me as an educator. I had to laugh today when someone said they recognized me...as "@firstatbat...you're famous on Twitter." Ha! Truthfully, that made my day!
I come away wishing I either knew how to use the pass I had to full potential or even better had the opportunity to engage in a full week of learning and connecting. It was a little overwhelming to be in such a place, with little direction and feeling a little lost. However, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!