After only one year as an instructional technology specialist, my edtech journey has been busy! With the help of my #PLN, I have grown exponentially! And from experiencing my first TCEA (TCEA15) to now presenting at TCEA16, my viewpoint on how the conference has changed just a little.
When I applied to present, I thought if I got an opportunity to share my passion for what I am blessed to do, it would be incredible. Then BEFORE I received the acceptance email, I got an email from TCEA promoting my session to an academy! WOW!
Helping teachers, supporting them in their classroom is the ultimate goal, but, at TCEA you can reach so many more educators, in a single session. And to my surprise, all three of my sessions were accepted!
The sessions (I presented)...
This year's Texas Computer Education Association Conference was all about sharing, collaborating and building relationships to continue learning from others. It was extremely exciting to be able to present multiple times and with some of my favorite educators this year.
My first session was, "What can Make your BrainPOP?" This session was a completely hands-on session and my first ever session at TCEA. (shhh...don't tell anyone, but I was more nervous to present here than I was to present at ISTE!)
During the session, I allowed all participants to experience BrainPOP as students, explore My BrainPOP, dive into Quiz Mixer, create and think-pair-share their Make-a-Maps and play one of the famous GameUp games. With over 30 educators in attendance, they left full of ideas of how BrainPOP could transform their classrooms, schools and districts!
This session, "How GOOGLE Forms can Transform the Life of an Instructional Technology Specialist" was a true collaboration with my colleague and friend, Kharima Richards. Since we both are Google Certified Educators and work in a school district that uses GAFE (Google Apps for Education) daily, we thought it would be great to share with educators (specifically other edtech coaches) ways that we use Google Forms on our campuses every single day! We created a sort BINGO card as our presentation and walked through what Google Forms are, several examples of how educators, skills specialists, and other campus leaders can use Google Forms instead of paper (copies) and pencil. Starting the session with a Google Form provided us with the data to help us direct the session to suit the needs of those in attendance. Creating a session that modeled how to use Google Forms turned out to be a success. With over 100 educators in attendance, we not only shared our knowledge, we walked away learning from several of the participants and we grew our PLN to continue the conversation well beyond our session!
My final session, "Let's Teach, Learn and Connect Around the Globe", was the most exciting out of all that I presented because it was the most unique experiences I have had the opportunity to share. This session was also a collaboration with a former colleague and friend, Anita Rudd. This was an unique session because I presented face-to-face at TCEA and Anita presented with me LIVE from Egypt! Yes, you read this correctly! We both had this discussed this format for a little over a year (where you could attend or present at any conference from wherever you are) and we were provided an opportunity when Anita accepted a teaching position in Egypt for the 2015-16 school year. We wrote up the proposal and it was accepted! We learned a lot--not just about the presentation, but also working with our classrooms and within our professions. Truly collaborating with educators globally takes patience, understanding and persistence. You have to be flexible with time zones, classroom schedules, communication and of course technology--accessibility is very different in different countries.
Even with all of these obstacles, we endured and shared how we love being global connected educators! We shared ways we started out connected with other educators (Google+, Twitter, and Facebook being just a few platforms) and we also shared about Nepil and Classroom PenPals and how to can help your students connect with others globally. Even with some of the technical issues--which there will always be--the session of over 75 participants was a true success as several dropped their information in our padlet to connect with many other educators!