Educational technology tips for teachers, librarians and schools.

The Best of FETC 2015: EdTech You Can’t Miss

The Best of FETC 2015: EdTech You Can’t Miss

By Terra Cochrane

The Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC) isn’t your typical education conference. It has a pulse of it’s own. First-time attendees eagerly seek out quiet corners to recover from the bright lights and masses of people. Hundreds of education vendors fill the exhibition hall, vying for the attention of the thousands upon thousands of attendees flooding through the doors, all seeking to be inspired.

The scene, repeated once annually, is remarkable.

FETCLast week, the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando, played host to the 2015 event. Educators flocked from beyond the borders of Florida, including neighboring states, Canada, and the Caribbean.

Exhibitors at FETC 2015 truly ran the gamut for technology solutions, showing products that ranged from networking systems to exciting new classroom apps and classroom door security.

There has been a surge of investment in the EdTech industry in recent years, which was evident by way of some rousing new products being showcased at this year’s show.

If you couldn’t make it, don’t worry; I came back with a few standout products on my brain. Get a glimpse of what the class of 2015 at FETC experienced first hand.

More: How to Empower Students in the Digital Age

Learning Bird

The best way to describe Learning Bird is that it delivers digital, educator-curated content for teacher lesson planning and student studying. In addition, they offer teachers the opportunity to contribute their own content and get paid for it. The catch is, the content is paid based on performance. Once the content is created, it’s matched to students who rate and recommend it. Get a good rating—get paid. Get a bad rating—no money for you.

Parents pay for their kids to have access to the lessons and resources with a monthly subscription fee. An algorithm matches the content to the student, and continues to refine matches for that student based on their ratings and feedback.

The program starts to act like a private tutor for that student, providing information specific to their needs. We know kids learn differently, and this provides a huge pool of educator-created content to address the variety of learning styles.

EPSON – BrightLink 595WI Interactive Projector

EPSON is keeping the smart-board companies on their toes with a new interactive projector that makes any surface interactive. ThEPSONe same functionality that has only been achieved through a Smart TV mounted on a wall is now available on any surface the projector is pointed.

The projector uses touch technology. This allows you to use your finger as a pen to mark up what’s projected on the screen or create visuals from scratch. It allows for up to 6 “touches” at a time, which is exciting when you consider how it can positively impact student involvement in class discussion. If combined with pen technology, you can have up to 8 people working on a single projection.

Just like on a smart-board, the work done on the projected surface can be saved and exported for future reference.


We’ve all read the research: engaged parents positively impact the academic success of their child. Despite the research, we still struggle to achieve this in a meaningful way. Enter FreshGrade. A first-time attendee at FETC, they offer parent engagement delivered through student digital portfolios. The icing on the cake—it’s free.

Authentic assessment is a large part of the FreshGrade offering. Using FreshGrade on a tablet or mobile device, teachers capture learning with video, picture, audio and anecdotal notes. After tagging the student, or group of students, the work is automatically saved to secure individual portfolios for each student. Upon saving, teachers have the option of sending a push notification to parents to notify them of the portfolio update.

Parents and students have secure log-ins to view portfolios, make comments, and collaborate with the teacher. The student access also allows the students to upload their own work or self-reflect in the portfolio.

The web-based app is responsive on a tablet, and a new iOS mobile app is available for download in the Apple App Store.

More: 6 Ways to Boost Parent-Teacher Communication


Nearpod is another innovative classroom app reimagining typical classroom lesson delivery. The app gives teachers the tools to create and execute lessons that promote engagement and interaction from the whole class.

“There has been a surge of investment in the EdTech industry in recent years, which was evident by way of some rousing new products being showcased at this year’s show.”

Teachers access the Nearpod tools when they want to create interactive lessons, share content, post questions in real-time, and assess the students as they work. Watch this short video to see Nearpod in practice.

Content sharing is another attractive feature of this product. You can share your presentations with the Nearpod teacher community and access to presentations from other educators and publishers. This alleviates the need to build a whole library of interactive lessons right when you start.

Nearpod has been developed for mobile devices, mimicking technologies that are already used in the classroom.

Feature photo via

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