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Ed Tech Thoughts on the Space Coast

FETC Take Aways - First Edition - The T-Shirt Discovery

Cut to the chase Shupester, don't bore me with the story of how a t-shirt led to your new discovery!
Growing up in a beach surf culture in the 1970's engendered an extraordinary interest in t-shirts. Promoting rock concerts and doing rock radio in the 80's just reinforced my obsession and collective hoarding. What a fun way to show whose tribe I belong to, what products I like, what jams I listen to.

So when I am at a conference, watching for interesting t-shirts is a part of the experience.

It is hard to go to FETC and not feel enthused about creativity and innovation. For four years, Tim Wilson, other ADE friends and I produced a popular podcast series called Conference Connections where we tried to capture some of the most powerful messages and innovations of Ed Tech Conferences. I am determined to continue in that tradition in a series of blogs reflecting on what I took away from FETC 2015.

Sure, maybe t-shirts are less professional but I find them way more interesting than ties with button-downs or frilly blouses. Usually I am drawn to the snarky t-shirt humor, clever play on words, geeky cultural references – but this week my attention was drawn to a simple font and single word on a white t-shirt:

So I saw the fellow wearing this shirt in the Thursday morning, and wondered if it was a thought–provocative saying, educationese, a new software product or what. Right away, it was making me think. I Like that!

The youthful man wearing the shirt was busy on the phone, so I didn't want to interrupt him. I figured I would keep my eye out for another
formative shirt and look around in the (massive) exhibit hall. Mind you there were several thousand attendees and over 500 exhibitors. I didn't find this logo anywhere else, but late afternoon, I passed by him again and he was on the phone (again). However, this time, I told him that I really liked his shirt and he said "thanks - so much!" He seemed genuinely pleased that I noticed it and heard him say to whoever he was talking to "This guy just said he liked our shirt!".

So, I figured that was the end of it. At least I had made someone happy that I noticed their shirt design. Happy

Yet, we were destined to meet again. I had sent out a invite for a Apple Distinguished Educator / New Media Consortium meetup outside the Apple Classroom for a late dinner. I stayed behind while some of the Apple folks went on to the restaurant. Looking across the way, I saw this t-shirt fellow sitting at a table by himself.

Craig Jones told me that this was his second FETC, and that Rushton Hurley had helped get him there last year (good endorsement!). This year he was here to promote the just released web project:
GoFormative. When he described it as a student response system/formative assessment, I was skeptical… especially about the response system part. Wasn't that already a saturated market? Isn't that reinforcing, "One answer, quick can you guess what one answer I am looking for?!!?"

So with a live demonstration and the toughest questions I could ask answered, I urge you to take your own look at this. No booth, no concurrent session, but a very innovative web platform for live response formative assessment. And it is free!

This is going to be a website for my teachers to try and one for all of us to watch: Check it out and leave me some comments!

I admit, I am cheap… but also skeptical when someone says something is free. So one of my questions for GoFormative is how are they going to monetize this service. He explained to me that they were in good shape for several years at least as a member of a startup investor sort of foundation for Education:

This Fall, the Formative team began in Silicon Valley, working out of the famed accelerator, Imagine K12.  Nicknamed “the Y Combinator of Education,” Imagine K12 has helped launch several noteworthy classroom products to date, including ClassDojo, Remind101, Educreations, NoRedInk, Plickers and many many others.

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