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FETC 2019: Designing the Global EdTech Blueprint

FETC registered logoThe second annual Blueprint for Technology in Education Summit at FETC brought together the education technology community to rethink the logistics of the global classroom and modern learning environments. Dr. Matt Harris, an international edtech consultant, spearheaded the day’s event, leading an interactive discussion about the intersection of technology and education, and continuing his work to develop global technology standards to drive academic and operational success. The six-part, day-long workshop featured panel discussions with international education leaders, as well as group discussions to engage in productive conversations that surfaced the unique and shared experiences of those in the room.

The Global Landscape of Educational Technology — Trends and Successes:

Harris and Vincent Jansen, the Director of Technology at SouthPointe Academy, kicked off the summit with compelling success stories that illustrate technology’s promise for enhancing access and outcomes. The conversation continued with an overview of the current and emerging trends within the global landscape of educational technology that included a quick dive into the recent expansion of technology ecosystems and new partnerships, the importance of offering digital literacy to all school members, and questioned the lack of formal legislation in the US to protect student data privacy.

Featured quote: “One of the major goals of the Blueprint is to help school leaders move out of reactive planning to more intentional and strategic implementation of educational technology.” -Matt Harris

Advancing a Global Blueprint for Technology in Education:

The summit continued with Harris and Jansen discussing the design of the Blueprint, which aims to develop a global framework for effective technology usage and provide a centralized resource to help educators gain insights into all the touchpoints of technology in schools and an understanding of the progress toward implementation of global best practices. The goal is to help educators facilitate a dialogue about the impact of edtech to begin evaluating current practices and using this information, coupled with global research, to inform future technology initiatives.

Featured quote: “As the workforce increasing changes over time, the education sector must become fluid enough to help equip students with the competencies to meet the needs of today’s economy, as well as the ability to adapt to the changing needs for the future.” -Jianli Jiao

Putting the Learning Before the Technology:

During this panel, Harris and Vincent were joined by Jianli Jiao, Director of the Future Education Research Center at South China Normal University, and James Russo, Senior Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Orange County Public Schools to share how schools can make the most out of their technology. Each panelist leverage their unique experiences to highlight the importance of identifying and developing a set of intended goals and learning outcomes to drive technology implementation.

Featured quote: “How many of us feel like we’ve heard ‘technology is the solution’ but don’t have a clear understanding of the question? There needs to be specific purposes and outcomes in the form of definable goals in place before the technology.” –Vincent Jansen

Making the Right Decisions Around Data System and Technology Tools:

Up next, Harris and Russo were joined by pioneering edtech researcher Dr. Sonny Magana and Alex Inman, President of Educational Collaborators, to share key insights into the numerous factors school leaders must evaluate to ensure technology tools are able to drive academic and operational success. Informed leaders lead to improved decisions that help to ensure selected data systems and technology tools align with school objectives.

Featured quote: “What kind of student are you seeking to develop?…If you start with citizenship in mind instead of firewall best practices, you get there faster and develop that common language.” – Alex Inman

What Does Tech-Savvy Educational Leadership Look Like?

For the final panel session, Harris, Jiao, Inman, and Magana started the session by analyzing the competencies leaders must exhibit to best leverage technology and support faculty and student development. With a variety of leadership styles in place, participants were invited to bring ideas to the table to help the international education community work toward defining what it means to be a tech-savvy leader.

Featured quote: “What if? That’s it. That’s all. ‘What if?’ is the question that drives innovation.” -Sonny Magana

Crafting Your Action Plan: Leveraging Technology in Our Schools:

The summit concluded by inviting attendees to begin drafting their own action plan for technology integration. Panelists worked collaboratively with educator attendees to begin applying insights gained and lessons learned from the individual sessions and develop plans to turn them into actionable strategies. Learn more about the Blueprint and get involved at https://edtch.co/BlueprintForm.

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