This year’s Future of Education Technology Conference landed in New Orleans, and the conference was abuzz with post-pandemic learning recovery tools, solutions to promote equity among students and parents, strategies for digital access, student mental health, social and emotional learning tools, and more.
Here’s just a glimpse of what we learned about during FETC 2023:
AVer Information Inc. USA, announced the launch of the A30, the world’s first All-in-One Camera with AI Audio for the Classroom. The A30 is a multi-functional classroom tool that enhances the teaching experience by combining a document camera, web camera, microphone, and speaker. With easy-to-use plug-n-play connectivity, the A30 speaker connects to computers, IFPs, and monitors to provide clear classroom audio up to 20 feet away.
Beanstack, an edtech platform that helps schools encourage kids to read through gamification, demonstrated the importance of engaging readers. Beanstack helps educators and librarians encourage reading by making it easy to create and promote reading challenges for their communities. It motivates people to reach reading goals by tracking when, how much, and what they read. The company has built several tools to do that, including a customizable reading challenge platform and a mobile app, reading challenge templates, and diverse book recommendations.
BenQ, an internationally renowned provider of visual display solutions, delivered a demonstration of all the features and benefits of its BenQ Boards. Teachers from Citrus County Schools highlighted the ease of use and intuitiveness of the BenQ Board smart boards. BenQ also highlighted its family of BlueCore laser education projectors and InstaShow WDC20E education wireless presentation system (WPS).
ClassVR/Avanti’s World ensured that educators know that everyone can come to Eduverse.com. Eduverse.com is a revolutionary online learning environment providing a safe and secure ‘metaverse’ for K-12 schools. Eduverse allows teachers and students to harness the power of the metaverse and explore immersive virtual worlds in a safe and inclusive environment. Eduverse offers a new way to learn, enabling students to collaborate in engaging virtual spaces where the impossible becomes a reality.
The Cook Center for Human Connection facilitated discussions about the importance of student mental health awareness and youth suicide prevention–and the critical role parents play in these efforts. The organization partners with ParentGuidance.org, which offers education and therapeutic support to empower and give parents hope as they support their child’s mental health. The mission of the Cook Center for Human Connection is to bring together the best organizations, programs and products to prevent suicide, provide mental health support, and enhance human connections essential for people to thrive.
FEV Tutor explored what it means to truly engage students and make virtual tutoring equitable. To counter ongoing unfinished learning, many districts are seeking evidence-based interventions such as high-impact tutoring programs. But what is high-impact tutoring and how can administrators find the right program for their district and schools? Lisa Wills, executive director of curriculum and instruction for Ector County Independent School District (ISD) in Odessa, Texas, answered these questions and more in a 45-minute session at FETC. In her 34 years with Ector County, Wills has worked in all areas of education, from classroom teacher, curriculum specialist, assistant principal, principal, and director of literacy to executive director of curriculum and instruction. In her current role, she works directly with the district’s online tutoring programs, including FEV Tutor, to accelerate learning for students.
FTW Robotics displayed its drone technology in booth #518 that is currently in 1K schools throughout the United States. For The Win Robotics focuses on fostering critical thinking and lifelong curiosity through the power of experiential STEM and computer science education through drone technology. FTW reaches more than 1,000 schools across the United States with its drone-centered STEM and computer science programming that is available for every education setting — from K-12 classrooms to college campuses, afterschool programs to summer camps.
Impero showcased Impero Wellbeing, a holistic view of student safety and wellbeing that provides cloud-based keyword detection tools to capture, record, and identify early warning signs of harmful online behavior. Combined with Impero Backdrop’s free digital safeguarding tools, Impero Wellbeing allows schools to manage and record student concerns in online and offline environments from a single, safe, and secure interface.
Intelitek’s learning solutions have provided learners across the globe with the competencies needed for in-demand careers in production. Driven by its pedagogic commitment to students’ career readiness and lifelong learning skills, the company develops state-of-the-art tools and technologies for engineering, manufacturing, automation, and robotics technologies. These technologies, along with Intelitek’s programs, empower instructors and inspire students to pursue careers in cutting-edge businesses. The emergence of new industrial technologies has caused such rapid changes in manufacturing that employers are in constant need of workers who are technically advanced, process savvy, and natural problem solvers. To help develop this workforce, Intelitek, a worldwide CTE leader, has released SmartCIM 4.0, a modular training environment featuring industrial working components for computer-integrated manufacturing education.
Kajeet introduced Kajeet Private Wireless, its next-gen, cloud-based, private 5G and LTE platform delivering fast, secure, and reliable broadband connectivity for students in remote areas and communities underserved by public wireless options.
KinderLab Robotics‘ KIBO connects the arts with computer science – without the need for screen time. With KIBO, educators bring lesson plans to life, while kids use their own creativity and self-expression to bring KIBO to life. They investigate their world, trade and share discoveries, develop their computational thinking and STEAM skills, solve problems, and so much more.
Learning.com, a provider of digital skills and computer science curriculum, has acquired Codesters, an online platform and coding curriculum. The purchase bolsters Learning.com’s position as a provider of comprehensive digital literacy and computer science curriculum for K-12 schools. “Across the country, there’s a growing movement to provide computer science education to every student, in every school, at every grade level,” said Learning.com CEO Keith Oelrich. “Our strategic acquisition of Codesters accelerates Learning.com’s expanding presence in the K-12 computer science market.”
Lenovo announced new hardware, software and services solutions designed to inspire and enable learning anywhere. The latest Lenovo Education portfolio includes new laptops, running Windows 11 or ChromeOS, built to help students and teachers embrace next-level hybrid learning. The latest enhancements to the Lenovo VR Classroom solutions create an immersive educational experience through engaging visuals, meaningful content, and explanatory audio that sparks a connection with each student. Lenovo also introduced a new collaborative feature for its LanSchool Air classroom management solution. Co-teaching allows teachers to share their classes with other educators such as paraprofessionals, student teachers, counsellors, and school administrators to provide more cohesive lessons.
Leo, Tutor.com’s soon-to-come new academic support platform, is purpose-built from the ground up by learning experts, teachers, and web developers in collaboration with K-12 and higher-ed leaders. It is designed to meet online learning needs in K-12 and higher-ed schools, from scheduling, management, and delivery of academic services to a virtual classroom experience that inspires students and drives learning outcomes.
LG Business Solutions spotlighted a full range of education-focused solutions, headlined by the new LG CreateBoard (model TR3DK), a purpose-built solution to address a variety of needs for in-person, remote and blended learning. LG also unveiled its expanded training programs through the LG Academy, with a new course set to launch specifically for LG CreateBoard line in the first quarter. The CreateBoard course will be followed by additional comprehensive training resources released in coordination with a third-party provider.
Linewize announced that Qustodio, its new parental control app, is now available for all School Manager and Classwize customers. As part of Linewize’s broader Community platform, Qustodio extends visibility, reporting and controls to parents and guardians into how their children are using school-issued devices, both at school and at home. Qustodio provides parents with access to a variety of tools and resources, including a CIPA-compliant content filter enabled for school-issued devices at home, ongoing visibility and insights into their child’s online activity and device usage, and expert advice and guidance from digital safety experts.
Malwarebytes, a global leader in real-time cyber protection, today announced the upcoming Malwarebytes Mobile Security for Business, extending its award-winning endpoint protection capabilities to professional mobile devices. From corporate organizations to educational institutions, the increasing number of connected mobile devices introduces security risks to users and networks. Over two-fifths (42 percent) of SMBs who said that their organization had experienced a mobile-related compromise in 2021 said that the effects were major—the other half said that the repercussions were lasting.
Navigate360, provider of holistic safety and wellness solutions, demonstrated its model that spans the full spectrum of safety, including threat detection and prevention, mental health and wellness, and safety management and preparedness – backed by research and developed by industry experts.
OverDrive Education announced that the Sora student reading app is piloting a new Sora Extra that connects students to interactive reading resources from TeachingBooks.net. This new feature provides easy access to engaging learning materials that can deepen conversations about favorite books among students, educators, and families.
ParentSquare, developer of a unified school-home engagement platform for K-12, has acquired Gabbart Communications, a website and content management system (CMS) business. With the acquisition, ParentSquare provides K-12 schools and districts with expanded offerings to elevate family and community engagement experiences, including the ParentSquare platform’s new integrated school website module, Smart Sites. With the integration of Gabbart Communications’ school website tool, the ParentSquare platform now offers Smart Sites, a new module that enables educators to publish posts and alerts directly to website pages and social media channels from ParentSquare. Smart Sites users can add information to ParentSquare and have the module automatically furnish the new information on their website and in social media posts and messages to families and community members, ensuring content consistency.
Presence, provider of online therapy solutions for children with diverse needs, demonstrated how Kanga, its all-in-one therapy platform, helps schools, districts, independent practitioners, and agencies reimagine the work of their clinicians. With Kanga, clinicians have access to award-winning technology to provide engaging, best-in-class, and personalized therapy to each student, either onsite or remotely. Presence believes that technology should enhance, not replace, the human connections between educators and students. Built by clinicians, for clinicians, its therapy platform is designed with this vision in mind. With features like a collaborative workspace, customizable games and activities, and digital tools for documentation, it is built to enhance the therapy experience.
Project10Million, from T-Mobile, is an initiative aimed at delivering internet connectivity to millions of underserved student households at no cost. Partnering with school districts across the country, the program offers free high-speed data and free mobile hotspots–and access to at-cost laptops and tablets.
Promethean showcased its new ActivPanel 9 with ActivSync and the Symphony Classroom digital assistant by Merlyn Mind. Promethean’s latest ActivPanel powered by the company’s patented ActivSync technology responds to an evolving educational environment by breaking down barriers between devices, enabling increased connectivity and collaboration, and supporting hybrid and in-classroom learning. Promethean also highlighted Symphony Classroom with Merlyn, a complete education technology solution from Merlyn Mind that includes an AI hub, software platform, and remote control. This unique AI-powered digital assistant enables teachers to use voice commands or a remote to control their devices, browsers, apps, and more.
Propello announced its launch, offering a way to empower all schools with access to high-quality instructional tools, curricula, and teacher support. As educators face the looming challenge of closing learning gaps that grew during the pandemic, the Propello platform helps school districts provide teachers with the comprehensive curriculum, scaffolding, and insights they need to support wide-ranging student needs.
Qualcomm discussed with attendees how educators can and should embrace AI–and what platforms like ChatGPT mean for education. Thought leaders also chatted about why school districts like LAUSD are partnering with Qualcomm to shift to LTE-ready laptops for its students versus solely Wi-Fi-based laptops and hotspot solutions. The importance of enhanced cybersecurity for schools as the FCC considers modifications to the E-rate program also emerged as a must-know.
Reading Horizons shared how its education customers are using its solutions to target pandemic-related learning gaps and reading deficits at all grade levels. The company is committed to partnering with educators to eradicate illiteracy, and in November it launched the Science of Reading Collective, a free, online community designed to help teachers confidently and effectively implement the science of reading.
Samsung Electronics America, Inc. provided a first look at the new Samsung Education Community Platform. The free-to-join platform will offer educators an online discussion forum, access to peer and expert coaching, and free, self-paced professional development courses, enabling them to develop new strategies for leveraging technology that can enhance classroom engagement and learning outcomes for all students.
Savvas Learning Company showcased its newly enhanced Savvas Realize learning management system (LMS) and other new PreK-12 learning solutions. Savvas Realize was updated for this school year with enhancements that deliver greater simplicity, shareability, and seamless interoperability with more than two dozen major edtech tools that school districts use most. The platform recently won the 2022 Supes’ Choice Award for best LMS from the Institute for Education Innovation. New Savvas products highlighted at FETC include: Savvas Now Literacy, a K-5 supplemental digital resource library; Savvas Essentials: Foundational Reading, a K-2 supplemental program aligned to the Science of Reading that targets key foundational skills; Magruder’s American Government Interactive, the new edition of the premier high school program, now with continuously updated digital resources complementing a foundational textbook; Civics Interactive, an all-digital civics curriculum for grades 6-12; and enVision Mathematics, the nationally recognized math series for grades K-12 that has been updated to engage students with even more hands-on, problem-based learning.
SchoolStatus demonstrated how its solution integrates all student data into a digital student card so teachers can learn about historical assessments, benchmark data, disciplinary issues. SchoolStatus helps Accountability Directors visualize benchmark and state data in one platform, and often in one report.
StickTogether showed attendees how its inclusive activity helps students relax, be themselves, connect with others, and be part of creating something special. Students can create colorful Pixel Art with a free tool, download a coded worksheet, and use stickers to bring their vision to life. Sticker poster kits begin as a mystery and become more clear as everyone works together. StickTogether’s Virtual Stickerboards accommodate a handful–or hundreds–of participants as they work together on their own devices or an interactive whiteboard (for free) to create an image together.
Spectrum Enterprise educated attendees about recent federal legislation that includes funding for K-12 schools and districts to support connectivity. Spectrum has eligible solutions that support long-term technology plans–no matter where learning takes place.
TutorMe partners with schools and districts to provide 24/7 online tutoring that increases equitable access to personalized learning, supports teachers, and addresses learning loss. Researchers and assessment experts have said catching students up academically from the pandemic will be a multi-year effort that lives well into 2023 and beyond. Tutoring is an intervention strategy many schools are implementing in response, and TutorMe discussed the demand for evidence supporting online tutoring as an effective instructional intervention.
VEX Robotics demonstrated its VEX GO and VEX 123 solutions. VEX GO is an affordable construction system that teaches the fundamentals of STEM through fun, hands-on activities that help young students perceive coding and engineering in a fun and positive way. VEX 123 is a programmable robot that teaches real programming without a computer through the use of the VEX Coder and physical cards.
Wacom spread awareness about the importance of using industry-standard equipment in CTE programs. Making connections from K-12 to higher ed and industry is critical for students, and when students are exposed early to the tools and skills they’ll rely on in their careers, they’ll enter education programs and the workforce at an advantage.
zSpace, a Silicon Valley education company, announced the expansion of math software offerings to include a new application, Martian Math, and an update to the Let’s Cook application on its augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) laptop, Inspire. The zSpace Inspire is an AR/VR laptop that does not require a head-mounted display or 3D glasses. A broad range of STEM and Career and Technical Education applications is available on the Inspire, as well as applications for esports, modeling, and simulation. Learning these skills with the power of augmented and virtual reality from the zSpace Inspire brings education to life, allowing students to better understand hard-to-visualize concepts and practice navigating situations that would be difficult, impossible, counterproductive, or expensive in the real world.