Sunday, February 7, 2016

TCEA-Totally Awesome Technology Conference!

I recently attended TCEA, in Austin, Texas.  Each time that I attend this conference, I leave rejuvenated and inspired.  This year did not disappoint!  I wanted to share some of the highlights of this trip, and to also shine a light on educators and innovators who inspire me daily!

We arrived in Austin on a Tuesday, and started our day at Le Cafe Crepe.  It was the perfect place to start our day!

I attended a few sessions on that day, but one session stood out for me!  The session was titled "The New, The Old, the NOT-so-Obselete", and it was led by Lauren Kallail and Brandon Hunter.  In this session, they introduced a tool called Touchcast.  With Touchcast, teachers are able to use broadcasting tools to present information.  It also fosters creativity and collaboration amongst the students.  Check out this video about Touchcast!  Can't wait to use it with my kids!

Wednesday brought an abundance of information and inspiration!  The first session that I attended was about project-based learning.  It was led by Wendy Dickerson.  I am in my second year as PBL facilitator, and this session gave me so many great ideas on organizing and supporting these lessons!  Here is the presentation link.  My biggest take-aways from this session, were the additions of workshops into the PBL topics/units and the "hook"!  We are starting a new PBL project tomorrow, and it is all about soil.  I will post the hook soon!  Kevin Honeycutt was a huge help in developing an idea for this topic!

Another session I attended, was lead by Janet Corder and Joan Gore, J2!  I never miss a session led by these two wonderfully hilarious educators!  This session was titled "BYOD Activities That Work".  One tool that was shared was Quizizz.  As soon as they introduced it, I emailed my staff, and shared it!  It is that good!  Quizizz is pretty similar to Kahoot, with a couple of exceptions. Students can work at their own pace, and the questions appear on their devices. It is awesome! Another cool one was Bingo Baker!  Check it out here!

Tammy Worcester Tang is another leader that I never miss!  She always shares the coolest tips and tricks!  She shared how you can use your lightening cable and Quicktime to share your iPad or iPhone screen!  Crazy how I never knew that you could do that!  Here is a quick tutorial on it!

Thursday was a day at TCEA that I was totally looking forward to!  I was finally going to get to meet and listen to George Couros.  I have been following him on Twitter since I met and connected with Kayla Delzer.  He truly is an inspiring and innovative educator with a heart for students and authentic learning experiences!

Every word...every single word inspired me!  Here are some of the quotes from that session that have stuck with me since.

"If students leave school less curious than when they started, we have failed them." @gcouros

"What would you want to spend the whole day learning in your own classroom?" @gcouros

"Are kids doing this because of school or in spite of school?" @gcouros

"Innovation often begins and ends with empathy." @gcouros

"We need to make the positives so loud that the negatives are almost impossible to hear." WOW, right!? @gcouros

And my absolute favorite-"Kids often defy expectations when you give them the opportunity." @gcouros

Doesn't all of that just make you want to change the world!?  Check out his book, The Innovator's Mindset.  I can't wait to read it!!

Another person that I could not wait to meet on this day was Jaime Donally.  I recently participated in #digcitathon and Edcamp Global, and she was a huge part in both!

Her session was about virtual reality!  VR is something that I have been excited about since Google Cardboard came out!  I have a class set, and the students love to take virtual field trips!

I had no idea that Nearpod had virtual experiences that you can add into the lessons!  So exciting!  She also talked about Augthat and Google Spotlight Stories.  I have plans to GH (Google Hangout) with the creator of Augthat this upcoming week!  So many great things shared in this session, and I was so excited to finally meet her!  Can't wait to reconnect soon!

TCEA is a conference that I look forward to each and every school year!  I hope to one day be able to present at it!!!  You should make plans to be there on February 6-10 next year!!

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