By Corey Murray
ORLANDO, Florida (February 11, 2003) –In search of ways to meet the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), thousands of educators came to the 23rd annual Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) Feb. 4-6 in Orlando. What they found was an evolution in thinking–from one-size-fits-all technology solutions to customizable, online services tailored to individual student needs.
Despite a bleak fiscal landscape, attendance at this year’s event was estimated at more than 12,000 educators, vendors, and other stakeholders, all told an increase of some 20 percent over the previous year, according to conference producers. Attendees who eventually made their way out of the sun and into the exhibit hall at the Orange County Convention Center got to test-drive new technology solutions from more than 500 educational vendors, take part in any of 200 sessions, and network with colleagues during any of the 67 hands-on workshops.
While such products as the Tablet PC and personal digital assistant (PDA) arrived on the ed-tech scene with great corporate fanfare, it is the less publicized, internet-based applications used to create personalized assessments and individualized learning experiences that might provide the clearest indication of what the future holds for technology in America’s schools.
News from the Exhibit Floor
Linkonlearning Inc. showcased Canada’s first virtual elementary school. Students up to grade eight have access to more than 10,000 lessons, spread over nine courses, at three progressive educational levels. The interactive lessons are aligned with Canada’s national educational goals and are written by certified teachers in all major subject areas. Teachers have the ability to monitor each student’s progress by way of an online report card. While the lessons are geared toward Canadian standards, U.S. instructors still can use a great deal of the material, especially for supplemental instruction or additional practice, the company suggested.