TCEA 2017 Recap My collection of sessions/workshops from conference

image by Blue Ridge ISD

This sessions was full of useful Google resources (Extensions and Apps). However, I was expecting more information on their 1:1 rollout. With that said, I was able to come away with extensions and apps that I can immediately use.

Here are some apps and extensions I found useful.

Here are Add-Ons for Google Docs

image by Nancy Belton & Julia Solnek

This sessions was very helpful because they are full in using Google Suite (G Suite) which is beneficial because we have begun our implementation of G Suite. The emphasis was on Google Classroom. Dville has begun using it so I was able to get lots of helpful information.

One of the takeaways from this session was learning about the ability to differentiate classes in Google Classroom. This is an option that I've been waiting to come to fruition. As a teacher, I can create a class and create assignments for the whole class and/or create seperate assignments for a select group of students. Differentiating work in Google Classroom is easy to do within the teacher interface.

image by Carissa Talk & Charla Wilson

One of the main focuses I had for TCEA this year was getting more information and ideas to improve our technology trainings. The use of Flipped PD here is not necessarily as in flipped learning, but in flipped as in turning traditional PD on it's table, per say. This session was a great session with chock full of ideas on providing meaningful and efficient professional development.

One of the biggest challenges in professional development as a trainer is not the prep work or development of training (sometimes it's a headache), it's the moment when delivering the training and facing a room full of teachers whose first thought is, "Do I really need to stay for this?" Think if one of your 6th grade students comes in and asks you that same question. Makes for a tough audience at the get go. So then as a trainer or leader at a campus, then we gotta ask, "Do they have to stay if they already know it?" Flipped PD is an approach that allows for the learner, in this case the teacher, to personalize their experience. Here are some great ideas from this session.

Personalized Professional Development

First of here are several tools for creating personalized PD. Create videos, presentations, or slideshows. Some are free while others have other a subscription or one-time fee.

A way to personalize PD was by having teachers request what they need help with. For example, use a Google Form to asks, "I need help with the following. Check all that apply." Great idea for meeting teachers needs. Another idea was holding afternoon sessions, Afternoon Wonders, based on teacher request. Lastly, teachers can share their own expertise and be listed as a superpower contact on a specific topic or content.

image by Deer Park ISD

Another goal I had at TCEA was to find out more information about a badge system for professional development. This session called SMART Badges presented by the Instructional Technology team at Deer Park ISD. The team described their efforts for creating a reward system to recognize the hard work teachers are doing in their classroom. This was a very impressive endeavor. Most badge reward systems I have seen had only used digital or electronic badges to add on ones email or digital social media profiles. In addition to digital badges, this team used old-school badges that teachers would earn and place them on a lanyard. They also created stickers that teachers would place on a sticker sheet to keep track of the badges they have earned. It was a great way to show students the progress teachers have made to earn technology badges.

Teacher badges and stickers - PC: Deer Park ISD

Gives a whole new meaning to go big or go home! Well done Deer Park ISD!

image by Jaime Donally

Where do I begin? If you are interested in Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR), you need to check this site out! My friend, Jaime Donally, is a phenomenal person to follow and connect with. AR/VR are becoming more and more relevant in the classroom. I've seen the cost of AR/VR lenses drop, making them more affordable. Which in my opinion will see an increase educational settings. If you want to get started with AR/VR, here are 10 great ideas to getting started in the classroom.

image by Steve Dembo & Adam Bellow

Truth be told. I am a fan of the comic book and AMC Series, The Walking Dead. So when I saw this title, I was drawn to it like Zombies to brains! Not to mention that Steve Dembo is a great presenter. Double-bonus!

As stated earlier, a goal I had in this conference was to get ideas to make our technology professional development more interactive, interesting, and less traditional. I mean, who wants to sit through this type of training?

This is exactly the type of training I want to avoid! Seriously, this is something to fear! Fortunately, our PD is not this bad. If we don't change things up and improve our work as instructional technology coaches and trainers, we can fall into the mundane and boring! As stated in this session, PD should not be done to you, PD should treat you like a professional!

There were plenty of great ideas to make PD more engaging. I particularly enjoyed a strategy called Snowball Fight. Basically, you take a piece of paper, write down a response to topic or question. In our case, we wrote down a source of PD you use not provided by district. Next, you crumble it up and throw it across the room. Yes, we all stood up and threw crumbled paper across the room. Paper snowball fight! You then, pick up another crumbled paper and read it. Add a comment or question. Crumble it again and throw it. Continue as long as you want. This method allowed us to share with others different places to access PD. Grant it this is using "old" technology, so simple yet powerful, engaging, and fun! Who thought PD can be so fun!

Created By
Claudio Zavala
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All photos by Claudio Zavala except where noted.

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