Repeat attenders: Why they say FETC ‘is needed now more than ever’

FETC 2023 is quickly approaching. Here's a look at what several long-time attendees say they look forward to each year.

For more than 40 years, the Future of Education Technology® Conference has equipped education leaders with the latest knowledge of new technologies and best practices through the voices of those on the front lines of innovation.

With more than 700 sessions planned, next year’s conference will truly inspire and motivate those whose goal is to create a school environment that models success.

For those who are first-time attendees, you may have a lot of questions and uncertainty about what to expect, so here’s a look at what some of FETC’s most loyal attendees look forward to most this year.

Susan Bearden, edtech and IT consultant

Susan Bearden attended her first FETC back in 2009, and she’s returned every year since. She attributes her persistence to the diverse content available each year.

“I really appreciate that FETC offers content for such a broad range of education stakeholders, from classroom teachers, instructional coaches, librarians and administrators to IT leaders and technical staff,” she says. “I don’t know of any other conference that is as intentional about providing targeted content to all of those specific audiences. Because I’ve been attending FETC for so long, it feels like a reunion of old friends!”

Not only is Bearden an attendee, but she will be presenting her own sessions as part of the Future of EdTech Information Technology track.

“I’ll be presenting a session and a workshop aimed at helping schools and districts build their capacity for leveraging education data,” she explains. “‘Data-driven instruction’ is a popular catchphrase, but most school systems lack the technical and human capacity to make use of their data because it is siloed in different systems. Data interoperability—the seamless and secure transfer of data between systems—can help make this a reality.”

To Bearden, FETC is a way she can establish relationships and stay up-to-date with the realm of education technology. In her words, “it is needed now more than ever.”

“FETC is a great way to make connections, improve your professional practice, and stay abreast of what is happening in education technology,’ says Bearden. “Schools deployed a lot of technology during the pandemic but didn’t necessarily have the time or the bandwidth to help educators leverage it in meaningful ways. FETC can help school systems make the most of their technology investments and help educators leverage technology in educationally meaningful ways.”

“High-quality professional learning around education technology has always been important, and after the pandemic, it is needed now more than ever. FETC is unique in that it provides great professional learning opportunities for a broad spectrum of education roles.”

Ryan Imbriale, vice president of education solutions for PowerSchool

FETC happens at such a crucial time each year, says Imbriale, who has attended at least eight times over the course of his career.

“It’s so important to stay up-to-date on the trends in educational technology and have the opportunity early in the calendar year to network, engage and learn from innovators in the field,” he says. “FETC offers all these things and more. At PowerSchool, we serve over 45 million students globally, so it is critical that we are taking advantage of FETC’s opportunity to tell our story to educators.”

Imbriale says he’s most looking forward to hearing directly from teachers and education leaders about what their top concerns are for the 2023 school year.

“PowerSchool released a report in August 2022 on top district priorities and shifts in education,” he says. “And as we look toward 2023, FETC offers the opportunity to listen to educators talk about what we need to pay attention to in K-12 and the issues district leaders consider the most pressing.”

Like Bearden, he says FETC has a tremendous influence over the work he does each day, citing the importance of getting to the heart of the issues important to those on the front lines of education.

“FETC’s wealth of educator-led workshops and the large exhibit hall provide an opportunity to really get a pulse on the state of education technology to kick off the year,” he explains. “Hearing from educators who are in the trenches provides valuable feedback for us at PowerSchool as we continue to innovate and ensure that every student gets the absolute best opportunity to be successful.”

View the full program agenda and register for FETC 2023 here.

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Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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