OK! So, I just finished my two days at the TCEA Tots and Technology Conference in Galveston and my brain is overflowing with great ideas and things I want to try next year. I saw some awesome presentations by some awesome presenters and really felt like it was money well spent (yes, out of my pocket). I would like to recap what I learned for my teacher friends who read this but more for me to have a place to put all that I learned so when, in August, I go back to school and can’t remember a thing, I can look here for inspiration.
My first session was an IPAD session. It was the perfect way to start off my experience. The presenter, David Hernandez, was a former teacher who now works for Apple, helping teachers implement them in their classrooms. There were some A-HA moments about technology in general, and some great apps that I have never seen before. He was very calm and chill, which at 8am is the only way to get me onboard, that is for sure.
My next session was a Birds of a Feather session. It was really like a twitter chat but in the room with the people you are chatting with. I could have lived without that one but it was my first opportunity to witness people resisting what was going on. Maybe because I paid for this myself, but I was going to get everything I could out of this and wasn’t going to complain about how I’d rather be at the beach.
My third session for the morning was probably one of my favorites. I was about to enter the J2 world, with presenters Janet Corder and Joan Gore. These ladies are professional presenters, but you can see their love of being in the classroom a mile away. They were hilarious, like an old married couple. Their session was on Green Screen Magic. Now some of you know I jumped in to using green screen a bit at the end of the year with my kids’ research. But now, there is so much more I want to do. I can’t wait to get my green gloves (another take away from a different presentation) and paint my pizza box green and do a Three Little Pigs puppet retelling. Yes, I am going to do this at home. Because if I am that excited about trying it, then I need to work out the kinks before I introduce it to my kids in the classroom in the fall. But more than great ideas, I was genuinely excited about being a teacher. These two ladies really know how to make being a teacher seem like the best job ever (and sometimes it can really be). The wealth of information that they shared from blogs to ideas was mind-boggling.
My next session was on Doodle Buddy. I had used this at the urging of my coteacher this year but only really for one activity. Peggy Reimers, from TCEA, was an awesome presenter with a great sense of humor and a joy in using this app with kids. I came away with multiple new ways to use doodle buddy, from using it for context clues and inferencing to using it to make a self-portrait at the beginning of the year. This is one of the tools that is already loaded on my IPADS so I am ready to go with this next year for sure.
Now, let’s talk about lunch. This was no box lunch conference. The food provided by the Galveston Convention Center was awesome, as were all the employees there to serve us! Sorry, it had to be said.
My first session after lunch was another presentation by J2. Not once but twice in one day. At this point, the Convention Center Wifi was having issues, so we spent a lot of time waiting on things to load up but honestly, I barely noticed. I might possibly be able to listen to these two go on all day. Many of the tools like Go Noodle and Kahoot I had used in my classroom already. But I hadn’t used Quizziz because I felt like it was too much like Kahoot. Then I was given some mind-blowing information. The app has added the function to read the question to the child, along with having everything in one place unlike Kahoot which uses a device and a board. I also was reintroduced to Shadow Puppet which I really need to explore more. They shared a cool bingo making site, and there is so much they didn’t even get to that I need to go back and read. Again, I walked away with at least two new tools that I can use right away.
My next session was Give Your Literacy Stations a Tech Inspired Makeover. Cue, energy overload. This presenter was fabulous, just what I needed at the midpoint of a long day. Brittany Adcock is a first grade teacher in Texarkana and she is a bundle of fun. I teach primarily reading in my classroom, so it’s no surprise why I chose this presentation. I learned about Epic Pals and really need to use Epic in my classroom next year. It’s free for teachers. Why am I so resistant to these things? I have no idea. I also learned about (and purchased on Amazon right there) Tiggly. I can’t wait to get this later in the week and begin to play with it. My kids are going to love it I am sure. On an interesting side note, she just started her Master’s at Lamar so the DLL program is really growing and getting stronger for sure.
My last session for day one was Classroom Crashers by three Birdville ISD technology gurus. I really enjoyed hearing their idea of how they crashed some classrooms in their district and helped some teachers find a tool to use to solve a problem they were having in their classroom. I would love to be a part of something like this in my school. I think that it’s not enough to just share my ideas (cue Appy Hour) but to actually show up in the room and help the teacher use the tool instead. Maybe someday, if I am ever out of my own classroom, I can use this idea to spark a change in my own school.
That’s day one in a nut shell. I learned so much, had so much fun, and met so many nice people. The perk for me is that I was just down the road from home and didn’t have to go back to a hotel like most of the other participants. I really look forward to what tomorrow will hold….