FETC 2022 Preview: What’s Shouting the Loudest

In this article, I outline observations related to key education trends taking shape at FETC 2022 using my typical conference session analysis approach. The ed-tech conference season in the U.S. kicks off at the start of each year with a strong event, the Future of Education Technology Conference, which rotates it venue from Orlando to Miami, Florida. FETC always sets the tone for the year, showcasing what’s up and coming for educational technology in the U.S. market.

This year’s conference, which now in its 41st year and gathering in January in Orlando, will represent the first major ed-tech conference in the U.S. that is returning to a completely face-to-face format. Unless the Omicron upends their best laid plans.

In this (and my upcoming article) readers will find my quantitative post-pandemic gleanings for our Display Daily readers, gathered as a collection of whispers and shouts. ‘Shouts’ are recognizable or obvious trends or innovations that holler loudly in our ears, grabbing our attention with ease. ‘Whispers’ are those innovations that quietly coo in our hearing, amidst the cacophony and bustle of competing interests, yet somehow gurgle their way upwards in hopes of comfortably nesting in the limited bandwidth of our minds.

But today, let’s begin with the messaging that rings most loudly at FETC 2022, presented below in order of popularity and significance.

Remote Learning Rules. Interest in remote, distance or hybrid learning continues to roar loudly over the din of conference offerings, with a record thirty-nine sessions dedicated to this pandemic-driven theme at FETC 2022.

Equity Matters. Diversity-Equity-Inclusion (DEI) is a theme that promises to literally holler at FETC 2022, with more than thirty-eight sessions now scheduled.

Google is Back. Did they ever really leave? Yes, for a little while—the last conference or two. But Google “free stuff” is howling louder than ever at educators, with more than thirty-one sessions being featured at FETC 2022. And we all know how hard it is to compete with “free stuff”.

Coding is King. Yup, high educator interest in coding (programming, computational science, computational thinking) remains constant via the vocalization of twenty-nine sessions being offered at FETC 2022.

It’s always useful to discern the trends that are shouting the most loudly at education conferences. These (above) are defintiely the loudest. In our upcoming article, we will focus on some of the more hushed messaging, still quite important, at FETC 2022. Stay tuned.—Len Scrogan