Tuesday, July 18, 2017

TCEA #Tots & Technology 2017

TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) is a great organization that promotes and supports the use of technology in education. TCEA provides a wide variety of learning opportunities, such as a statewide conference and local area conferences. TCEA also provides online learning options, including their Lunch and Learn series.

In 2015, I attended TCEA in Austin and reflected on it here. Plus, I attended TCEA Tots & Tech in Galveston and reflected on it here. This year I am thrilled TCEA Tots & Tech is in Arlington, which is very close by! Many teachers and librarians from our district are attending, which makes for great collaboration and deeper learning opportunities. Plus, it is a great time to continue to build relationships.
Some of the GCISD Educators at Tots

One of my favorite things about attending a conference is making connections with others. I've been in touch with another educator in the area for a while as she is looking to find the best next steps in her journey as an educator. We had the opportunity to meet face to face and chat today. It was great to meet the person I've been talking to on the phone and via text and email. One of the sessions today was called 'Birds of a Feather' which provided a room for same area educators to gather, connect, and collaborate. So, all first-grade teachers met in a room, etc. My group consisted of five instructional coaches. We were given questions to discuss then tweet, like a Twitter Chat. It was so nice to have time to meet others in a structured, yet flexible environment. We shared ideas, got connected on Twitter, and discussed challenges and celebrations from our year.
Our Birds of a Feather Group
There are so many opportunities for learning, and some sneak up and surprise you! While attending Miguel Guhlin's session on Blogging and Podcasting, he used me and a few others that were 'voluntold' to share our experiences with blogging in our classrooms. You know I LOVE to blog and had great experiences with my students blogging, but impromptu speaking is a HUGE fear of mine. However, I think once I got going, I shared our blogging story well. He recorded the conversation to share on Voxer, which I think elevated my anxiety; but afterward, I was pretty pumped to share more. I looked up the microphone he used on his phone and want to purchase one for recording students and teachers when I'm on campuses. It was a fun time and I will remember that presentation, for sure!
Me getting interviewed
Other topics included using QR & AR for Early Literacy (@techwnancy) with TONS of ideas and resources plus Lawsome Elementary's (@SusieTowber1 & @SeaLionLibrary) journey to "Playker" Spaces. The resources shared by other educators (blogs, books, robotics) are on my Amazon Wish List and I will share those ideas forward with others I work with. CISD Coaches shared the idea of having a 'Play Date' with teachers and admin to provide time to explore coding and robotics with support nearby as needed, making connections on how to integrate with the curriculum. Our team has InTech Coaching, which made me realize I need to be more intentional about using that time to expose others to the tools we use and learn about on a daily basis.

As silly as it sounds, another fun feature I enjoyed was TCEA provided good food and time to enjoy it with peers. By having food available, we didn't have to leave and waste time going somewhere else, plus we got to visit and enjoy time with people - building relationships and sharing ideas. In my role, I work with staff district-wide so it is wonderful to have time with others to get to know them and share ideas. Plus, it is nice to gain new ideas while hearing new ways to use tools we already love.

Be sure to check out #TCEA to see what kind of professional learning opportunities meet your needs and goals. In what ways do you enjoy learning and connecting as an educator?


  1. I love reading educators' reflections on conferences, whether I attended the conference or not. One reason I like to do this is because I like having my thoughts about conference validated. You said that "as silly as it sounds, another fun feature I enjoyed was TCEA provided good food and time to enjoy it with peers." I don't think that's silly at all. One of my favorite conferences to attend in Missouri is MOREnet. It's out of town at the Lake of the Ozarks, a fairly isolated town and it forces me and other educators to get together for lunch or dinner and get to know new people, make connections, and talk about our work. I find this to be some of the most valuable learning I do all year because I am able to talk and exchange ideas in an informal setting.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Erin!

  2. When I think about how I started my teaching career this is such a wonderful journey we are on, we meet our kindred spirits *before* we actually meet them. Teacher conferences in the golden age of social media are so much more powerful and are a chance to further a relationship with someone you have not met face-to-face YET. We are so fortunate!
    I agree with JP, I love hearing this validated. I am not alone, there are others out there like me. Thank you for this post.