FETC20: When Passion & Purpose Collide, Progress is Made

“Without leaps of imagination, we lose the excitement of possibilities.”

Gloria Steinem 

You know how you get full of anticipation when you see a date on the calendar representing an event or receive an invite to a party, or your favorite holiday is coming? Well, when I saw the reminder about my flight to #FETC I started to get butterflies of excitement. When I think about “excitement”, I think about words we can use to express our “excitement”. For example:

  • amazing
  • awesome
  • thrilled
  • delighted
  • charged
  • exhilarated
  • enthusiastic
  • overjoyed
  • ecstatic 

Excitement is a feeling you get when you know something is about to happen. You look forward to that something. You don’t seem ever to stop talking about it. For me, excitement for #FETC started when I was selected as a featured speaker (and incredibly honored), then when thinking about all the possibilities for connections and new learning.

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Then, I quickly messaged my PLN to see if they are going. 

  • Adam A. Phyall, III Ed.D: @AskAdam3 – IN
  • Steve Dembo: @teach42 – IN
  • Adam Bellow: @adambellow – IN
  • Jenallee @Jenallee1: IN 
  • Mike Washburn: @misterwashburn – IN
  • Felix Jacomino: @FelixJacomino – IN
  • Leo Brehm: @leobrehm  – IN
  • and recently Ann Kozma – @annkozma723 – IN
  • and so many more.

Excitement creates action! Have you registered yet? FETC will empower you to increase learning, challenge yours and other’s thinking, and, most importantly, have fun while doing so. Start each one of your days with the mindset of “I am going to learn something new today.” Then, reflect and share your learning with others. How will you share YOUR excitement? If you decide to join the conversation on Twitter, others would love to read those reflections and learn alongside you! Tweet to #FETC #FETC2020 @FETC or even me @matthewxjoseph to share your learning, and make connections.

Be strategic as you channel your purpose and passion during the conference. In the spirit of collaboration, I wanted to share a few of my strategic growth areas (in bold) as I plan to continue my learning. 

Challenge myself 

Many people like being the smartest person in the room. Think about it; if you are the smartest person in your session, you should change sessions! Do you personally gain from knowing more about the session than the presenter and interjecting your own experience? If you know everything in a session, move to another session to challenge yourself and grow.

Be Motivated 

By challenging yourself to meet a new goal, you’ll be motivated to continue. I always set goals as high as possible, taking the mindset “if someone doesn’t laugh at my goal, it is not set high enough.” Be motivated during this event, and push yourself to set a goal. Maybe start a blog to write about new learning. Tweet something daily (or more). Keep a video record of thoughts on @flipgrid. Make a new connection by building your professional learning network (#PLN).

Embrace the Unknown

If you challenge yourself and find new (or renewed) motivation, you will find yourself in unfamiliar situations. That’s a GOOD thing! Push the boundaries of your comfort zone! Allow yourself to become more innovative, experimental, and more inventive! We don’t learn much in our comfort zones, so move along into the learning zone. When you expand your thinking, you also increase opportunities to share this knowledge with your PLN. 

Boost My Belief in Innovation

Setting goals and challenging yourself to meet them while celebrating your small achievements along the way will do more than make you more successful. It will boost your confidence and remove any negativity that surrounds your abilities. Your time at #FETC could include anything from learning a new app, buying a new book (Modern Mentor is a good option:), networking with people across the county (or outside of it), or rewriting your PD plan with new ideas learned at FETC. Small changes and celebrations will make you feel like you’re progressing and help you maximize your abilities.

Increase my PLN

This is self-explanatory, but being at FETC gives us all an opportunity to broaden our perspective by meeting tons of new people. It’s inevitable! You’ll find yourself talking to many educators who will strengthen and diversify your PLN. That’s another perk to having confidence: people will be drawn to you, and then the collaboration begins!

I am excited to have an opportunity to present and share at FETC. Below is an overview of what I am doing and the time and location of sessions. Stop by and introduce yourself! 

I hope you find (or expand) your passion and purpose at FETC. Moreover, I hope you share that growth with others as we all continue to build and grow our learning and partnerships. Feel free to Tweet me (@MatthewXJoseph) your ideas, challenges, or thoughts! Keep checking in to @FETC to collaborate, learn, and share. 

See you in Miami! 

My Sessions and Times 

Innovative Leadership 

Tuesday, January 14 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Room: Lincoln Road C

Session Description: Supporting digital learning and innovation in schools is challenging. Join the presenter, a veteran building principal who recently moved into a district technology leadership role, to identify key elements critical to putting innovative leadership into action. An innovative leader should try to create new ideas, but it is more important that they create a culture of innovation. Explore methods to empower your teachers with a shared vision and a safe and supportive environment of risk-taking, trust, and swift implementation. Innovative leaders not only “think” differently, but they “act” differently. Now is the time to act and put these innovative characteristics into action. This session will empower YOU to build a culture of innovation.

Blended Learning for Active Learners

Tuesday, January 14 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Room: 204

Session Description: One of the keys to academic achievement is active learning. Personalized, collaborative, and connected learning experiences enhance student engagement, which in turn drives student success. By integrating blended and digital learning into the classroom, educators can take learning experiences to the next level and improve student performance. Apps don’t teach, TEACHERS teach. Technology does not replace educators. Digital learning is an instructional strategy for enhancing and engages learners. It’s important to know what tools we have and what they’re capable of providing to enhance student learning. This session will focus on some blended learning tools that can increase engagement that educators can use for instruction. BYOD. 

How District Data Analytics Can Maximize Instructional-Based Spending

Wednesday, January 15 2:00 PM – 2:40 PM

Room: Lincoln Road B

Session Description: District budgets are tight, and when looking to maximize dollars and incorporate edtech solutions, the well dries up fast. However, having tools and systems in place to analyze, evaluate, and make data-informed decisions will let school and district leaders maximize spending while organizing an efficient edtech menu of solutions and initiatives.

Moving From Consumption to Creation

Wednesday, January 15 3:20 PM – 4:00 PM

Room: 203

Session Description: We often talk about engagement and students having an active role in learning. However, if you look at the classroom of the 50s, you would see desks in rows, a teacher in the front of the room doing most of the talking, books out on the desks, and students consuming the lesson. Should schools in 2017 follow this same model? The answer should be a resounding, very loud NO, but that is not always the case. In today’s classroom, do we teach by telling information that students are expected to consume? This session will focus on tools and strategies to create active thinkers and learners.

Creating Transformative Schools

Thursday, January 16 12:00 PM – 12:40 PM

Room: Lincoln Road B

Session Description: The need for innovative leadership comes from the rapid pace of educational change and the need to keep our learners engaged, not focused on content distribution. The skills needed to teach change today so fast, and we need innovative leaders to lead this charge and become like startup CEOs. Most importantly, the radical changes in our society mean that young learners need new kinds of skills, many of which are not even fully understood or codified for learning. Come learn some of these new skills to implement in your district.

Meet the Author

FETC is hosting a “Meet the Authors” Booth in the Expo Hall at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Come meet the authors of best-selling education technology books. Take selfies, ask questions, purchase books, get your books signed, and discuss hot topics with the authors. 

Thursday, January 16 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM


  • Meet Tisha Richmond, author of Make Learning Magical.
  • Meet Jacie Maslyk, author of Connect to Lead, Unlock Creativity, Remake Literacy, and All in EDU.
  • Meet Kristen Nan, author of All in EDU.
  • Meet Matthew Josephauthor of Modern Mentor and Power of Us.

Hot or Not? Trending Topics in EdTech Judged by… YOU!

Thursday, January 16 2:00 PM – 2:40 PM

Room: Grand Ball Room A

Session Description: Hot or Not? Swipe left or right? You be the judge in this fast based presentation featuring the coolest topics in EdTech shared by some of the hottest presenters in Miami! We’ll be sharing what we think are the topics, tools, gadgets, and apps that you MUST know about, and you’ll have the chance to decide…. does it bring the heat? Or should it sail off into the sunset? The choice is yours!

Ed Tech Coaching in Today’s Classrooms

Thursday, January 16 4:00 PM – 4:40 PM

Room: 211

Session Description: Too often, schools launch new technology without a plan for supporting and coaching teachers through the process of using new technology effectively in their classrooms. One key to launching and supporting the marriage of ed tech and curriculum is increasing the opportunity to support teachers and help them raise student achievement. Today’s students’ needs vary as they are growing up in the digital learning age. Knowing how to integrate existing tech with today’s instructional best practices and strategies engage students to maximize learning. Supporting educators on this journey is a critical step. This session will focus on creating an edtech professional development roadmap for success.

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