Why it Pays To Go To #TIA

#TIA is North Texas’ premiere technology conference and is located in Denton, Texas. I’ve been going to the last couple of years, but this year topped them all. Mainly, because our district had 20+ people join, including a few of our assistant superintendents.

It’s not only growing in numbers, but it’s a great local tech conference that is only about 15 minutes away from my house/district. Braswell HS was the new location and that place is gorgeous!

As far as conferences go, TIA is one of the most affordable! I add a note on my calendar every spring to be looking for the registration information. And this year, I took advantage when they sent out the call for presenters. If you don’t believe you have what it takes to present, go read this NOW! Teachers NEED you!

TIA not only had great keynote presentations from Dave Burgess and Eric Sheninger but also many of the teachers I’ve met on my Twitter PLN were there. I got to meet a few of them for the first time, including, Ryan Miller and Claudio Zavala, who are both fellow Flipgrid Ambassadors with me! And, of course, there were some of our closest PLN friends from Prosper, Texas: Miranda Hansen and Michelle Phillips

Why go to #TIA? FOR THE PEOPLE! I’m telling you, it will open up opportunities and ideas for you that you never imagined! I actually plan at least one hour a day for just networking! Relationships is one of my personal life values and so I’m intentional about finding and connecting with others.

On Monday night I was able to join Dave Burgess and Aaron Hogan for the Monday night #tlap (Teach Like a Pirate) twitter chat. THAT was an incredible experience to be there as it was happening live! I also met some great NEW people who I’ve added to my PLN like Lexi  and  Julie, who has the BEST #sketchnotes

Why go to #TIA? FOR THE MESSAGE! It isn’t alway about the sessions or the specific tools you learn about. Those things are GREAT (shoutout FLIPGRID) but the messages I walked away with EMPOWER me and get me ready to go back and empower my Ts and Ss. I, firmly believe, that what you surround yourself with is what you become. That goes for people, books, movies, music, etc. When you surround yourself with educators who do what you do, are challenged by the same things you’re challenged by, and are seeking to be better, you, too will be better.

One of the messages I took away this week was: “DON’T STOP BLOGGING!” I’ve kept a personal blog for almost 10 year and especially blogged our journey with #superJace and his battle with #childhoodcancer. I remember critical voices wondering WHY I would blog about that and reveal so much but this week I realized it was necessarily for THEM. It was for ME.

The same goes for this blog. If an educator is empowered by a post or a presentation I share with them here, then I’m thrilled! But this blog is also for ME to reflect and share and keep myself accountable. Thankfully, I can write a few posts at once and schedule them out with Tweet Deck.

Here’s a great blog on WHY to blog. See what I did there?

Another message I received was: Myths are just Myths! They only reflect our fears not our truths!  I’m just now reading Aaron Hogan’s book “Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth,” but I can tell you he is going to be speaking my language! Sadly, I didn’t make it to his session in time this week. They were standing room only and I ended up standing in the hallway! 🙂

Why go to #TIA? For the Growth! Anytime you get outside your classroom, your school and your district you’re guaranteed to be out of your comfort zone. I often tell my friends and students that when you start feeling uncomfortable you can bet you’re growing and stretching! In order to foster growth in our Ss or our Ts, WE HAVE TO GROW! There’s no other way around it!

This week I grew in the idea that I’m ME and that’s the best super power I can have. I have a 1% that is different from everyone else and if I don’t share that no one else can give it to them! Critics have often said I’m too happy, too excited, too joyous about change  and sometimes I’ve let those voices control me and hold me back. I’ve decided that is NOT how I roll anymore.

Top 2 Takeaways from #TIA17 in video form: https://flipgrid.com/006b89

Empowering Educators Everywhere,

Tisha (@txtechchick)

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How To Save Yourself From Isolation

Isolation is a choice. 

As a classroom teacher for 8 years, I remember feeling comfortable that I could control what was happening within the 4 walls of my room. I could focus on that and know that it was just about the only thing I could control.

While that is all well and good, hindsight is 20/20.

I waited on my district to provide those few days in August and a day here and there throughout the year to give me what I thought I needed professionally.

The truth is most of what I attended didn’t even apply to me!

(with the exception of things like Teaching with Love and Logic with is AMAZING and helped me parenting, too.)

I attended one content specific conference every summer for a few days and I guess I expected that to keep me inspired for the rest of the year.

Most of you already know the end result: it didn’t. 

Around 2008, I began my career as an instructional technologist. I took what I had learned from my Ss in the classroom and began creating social media accounts for whatever was popular at the time.

Facebook was first and Twitter was next. I was on fire to learn what was so intriguing about these sites according to my Ss and then wanted to figure out a way to make it productive for me.

My superintendent at the time also encouraged me to learn what “twittering” was all about.

Little did I know that would open the door for a type of learning I’d never experienced and the group of people that have changed my life.

I’ve been using Twitter as my personal learning network ever since.

There are several myths when I try to talk to and encourage teachers about using Twitter as a PLN:

  1. I’m Not Good At Technology.
  2. It’s Just One More Thing on my List
  3. I’m Not Here To Make Friends
  4. What I’m Doing Is Working. I Don’t Want to Ask for Help.
  5. I’m Not Experienced Enough to Share!

I’m actually never surprised because in my 9 years as an Instructional Technology coach, I’ve heard it all. I just narrowed my list of myths down to the ones I hear the most. 🙂

I love this video from YouTube because this lady represents so many of us who aren’t ready to change how we learn and who ask, “WHYYYYY?????”

We actually ALWAYS share the WHY of PLN, but many of you reading will already know the “Why?” Just in case here’s a preview: PLN Why (4)This week at #tia17 my fellow educator Deb Zeman and I presented on this topic.

Some of the truths we wanted to stress were things we’ve heard firsthand from those that have found the power of Twitter to empower educators:

  • “It’s a teacher’s GOLD MINE!”
  • “…one of the BEST career choices I’ve made!”
  • “More practical ideas than my Masters class!” 
  • “I’ve learned more in 10 minutes that I have in 5 days of typical PD.” 

We also shared the HOW with this document –> SMART PLN with our attendees so they would have something TANGIBLE to write their S.M.A.R.T. PLN goals on and could refer back to it from time to time.

(I know, I know, but the act of writing it out and hanging it where you can see it daily will help you grow!)

After that we shared some of WHO to follow on Twitter, Facebook. Instagram and some tips on using the widely-debated Snapchat. (I’ve been using it as a PLN tool for the last 6 months)

Because our presentation was all about SHARING what you have and what you know with your PLN, we have linked the presentation down below! Feel free to use this with your fellow teachers and administrators.

But be good digital citizens and GIVE EVERYONE CREDIT! 🙂

Link to “PLN: I Don’t Have Time & Other Myths”

As an added bonus, we’ve added a hidden link that goes to our most popular session to date called “You Shared What?! (Digital Citizenship Academy)” It’s a lesson that you can use WITH your Ss or TS and can be adapted to your grade level needs. We are excited to not only present this with our HS this fall, but also with our 6th grade campus who will be piloting 1:1 Chromebooks in our district!

Empowering Educators Everywhere,

Tisha (@txtechchick)

Fun Flipgrid Prompts

When you get to know me, you’ll know with no hesitation that one of my personal values is relationships.

Since I first walked into the classroom, I knew that I had to build a relationship with my Ss before they would ever want to hear what I had to say about technology or English. I knew that I needed to be able to show them my human side as well as allow them to be human each day as they sat in my classroom.

Over the years I’ve used a lot of strategies to create a classroom atmosphere that allowed for team building, relationship building and fun.

Once I became an Instructional Technology Coach I knew my approach had to be the exact same with my Ts. They are busy, they are leaders, but they are also human.

Flipgrid has allowed me to continue to build this atmosphere wherever I am! Especially now that I find myself teaching a new student leadership class this fall where my students will not all be in the same room at the same time.

iOs Flipgrid App
Flipgrid on Google Play

After a very successful chat Monday night with #flipgridfever, I decided to compile a list of questions I keep on hand to ask my students on their private class Flipgrid.

I feel that this has allowed them a space to be themselves, be authentic and be able to trust each other as we all come together toward a common goal. My goal with these fun prompts is to promote discussion, relationships and laughter.

Feel free to download this, print it out and share it! Also don’t forget to use my promo code: TISHA PONCIO for a FREE Flipgrid Classroom Acct ($65) through Sept 30!

FunFlipGrids (pdf version) 

Empowering Educators Everywhere,

Tisha (@txtechchick)

FunFlipGrids