Thoughts from the PETE&C…
By Tiff Setzler

Thoughts from the PETE & C 

I have just returned from the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference, held in Hershey, PA.

Kristen Milanovich from the Freedom Area High School presented Learning to Program with Alice, and invited me to present with her. I was grateful for the opportunity to present with Kristen. She did a wonderful job, and it was a pleasure to work with her.

This is the first conference targeted specifically to K-12 that I have attended in several years, and it was a very valuable experience. In my former life, I was a high school computer science teacher and tech director, and attended many conferences like this.

I am still digesting all that I saw, heard and experienced, but here are a few initial first impressions.

  1. I was very happy to see the number of attendees, the number of exhibitors, the number of presentations. It is clear that there is a lot going on in K-12 technology education.
  2. However, what I would consider computer science education seemed to have a relatively small presence. If the CSTA was represented here, I missed them, and it seemed that this would be a place that they should be visible.
  3. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) seems to be the current acronym receiving the most attention at this conference. This refers to students bringing their own computation devices (smartphones, tablets, netbooks, laptops) to schools. Some thoughts on this in another post.
  4. I heard, more than once, textbooks in K-12 are dying. This was not really surprising, but I get the impression it is happening much faster than I might have anticipated.
  5. I was surprised, in the exhibits floor, to see how many software companies and titles were NOT (this NOT was missing form the original post, and it is sort of critical to my thought ;-0 ) represented. Have we learned that specific software packages for education do not work (or from a developers point of view, do not pay?).
    • A lot of presentations during the conference on apps and resources available on the internet. Not surprising, I guess
    • Developers seem to be concentrating on course management systems, and complete curriculum packages.

Over the next several days I will highlight some of the more interesting presentations that I had the chance to sit in on, and perhaps think some more with you about some of these impressions.

From under the bridge,