I attended the MicroK12 Tech Fest in order to get more acquainted with current technologies used in schools. The overall feel at the Lynnwood Convention Center was very relaxed. Upon arrival I signed in at the front booth situated outside the main showroom and was informed about the breakout sessions that would be taking place down the hallway. There was not a lot of pressure to do anything but browse and chat with some of the company representatives.
Right away it seemed overwhelmingly obvious that most of the technologies offered at this conference were related to teacher presentation in some way. SMART Boards and projectors ruled the roost as every other booth had a different company with a similar product. Each varied in design but the application of each of these products was relatively the same.
In the breakout session that I attended, emphasis deviated from the showroom and focused on audio enhancement. The presenter talked about how audio projection had the most basic and importantly profound impact on student learning. Whether the student is hard of hearing or one of their neighbors is making unnecessary noise, audio enhancement allows each student to hear the teacher equally and clearly.
I found it interesting that there weren’t any subject specific technology represented here. There also weren’t a whole lot of studies or information on how these technologies improve learning and test scores within the classroom. It seems that if this were a convention selling cars or boats, I’d be able to plainly see a chart of where I’d be saving money and how safe I’d be by buying a specific companies product.
The MicroK12 Tech Fest was a good experience in that I was able to see what current and fringe technologies are being used in classrooms to date. From here I can more evenly see how iPads can fit into current high school curriculum.