TCEA 2020

What an incredible two weeks of learning {Facebook blog from last week coming soon}! If you have not had the opportunity to attend TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) yet, you must add it to your list of can’t-miss-conferences. I have been going to TCEA for about 10 years and it seems that every year gets better and better. One of the reasons, in my opinion, is the amount of connections made with those who share the same passions. There is definitely something to be said about surrounding yourself with innovative minds who have a common goal to help students achieve learning goals. 

Learner

At my core, I am always learning and wanting to learn and so conference time always gives me the opportunity to stretch my capacity for what is possible and what I know. I explore sessions, first, that I know nothing about or that I am fully aware I have not 100% grasped yet. Here are a few sessions that inspired me: 

•ARVRJaime Donnally: I attended two of her sessions and I did the same last year. For me, it is never enough. I always find myself wanting to learn more from her and be more comfortable in the ARVR Education space. Her sessions are always hands-on and get me out of my comfort zone. {I still haven’t gotten my MergeCube but it IS on my list!}

•eSports – I find myself so intrigued by the entire concept of this idea. Could it be that I am a kid of the 80’s and knew at an early age that I loved all things tech including Atari and Nintendo games? I still don’t have my brain wrapped around the idea fully, but want to explore more and see what that might look like in my district. I approached this one pretty slow and gathered some notes and names of go-to people.

•DigCit Marialice, well, if you know her then you know. Thankfully, James {Wakelet} connected us last year. After one Google Hangout call we were friends for life. I don’t often meet people that get as excited as I do about the possibilities of working with students and digital citizenship! I planned to see Marialice’s session, but a week or so before TCEA she asked me to present with her. So I put some Buncee slides together and highlighted how SWAT and I are creating a better digital space online and in our school community. Even though I was part of the presentation I found myself taking notes and photos of things I wanted to remember. Shoutout to fellow panelists Michael Drezek and Laura Steinbrink

•“Not in the App” Sessions – These are the conversations that happen while waiting in line for the bathroom, for a session, while sitting in a session or after the day is over during dinner or meet-ups. These conversations may last a few minutes or a few hours, but for me these connections grown me as an educator sometimes more than a “sit-n-get” session. Shoutout to Patrick (@edtechmcmillian) and Stephanie (@lispylibrarian) for the great discussions and learning! You inspire me! 

•Creativity is my Jam Brian Romero Smith, Amy Storer, Marialice, & Claudio: So I first went to support my friends, but then like always that turned into a learning party, reunion with friends, selfies and me wanting to learn more about all the creativity apps this panel showed! Two things I walked out with: 1) Even though I cannot rap to save my life {without the Eminem karaoke soundtrack} Flocabulary can help! 2) My designs don’t need to be perfect in order to show students and offer them the opportunities to use them to create in the classroom. 

Presenter

I didn’t start sharing and presenting until I had been in education for 13 years and then had to take 4 years off to care for my #superJace who is childhood cancer survivor. Finally in 2017, I decided it was time to start sharing again and push myself out of my comfort zone once more. I always have to remind myself that presenting never means I have all the answers. It is an opportunity to share what I’m doing and learning in my own classroom with my students and teachers.

Flipgrid – So many times when I set out to create a new presentation I feel like it is not my best work (if you know about the enneagram personality profiles – I am a 1, so this makes complete sense 😂 ). This was the case as I finished this year’s Flipgrid presentation “ Innovation, Inspiration and Leadership.” Even as a seasoned presenter, I wondered if it would help anyone at all. I quickly realized there are so many incredible facets to the Flipgrid platform that we ALL got something out of it!  After both sessions, I left wishing I had more than 50 minutes with the attendees. I can tell you that without Flipgrid, I would not have been able to pull off assessing @SWAT, my student leader tech team. This tool keeps getting better and as a founding ambassador I can tell you that the Flipgrid team is one of the best to work with! If you have yet to use Flipgrid, please reach out to me! I would love to connect and share!

Buncee – One of the things that really attracted me to use Buncee was their backstory and the fact that Michael Drezek recommended it to me. {Ha! If you don’t follow Drezek, go now!} So after using it about 7 months, they asked me to share at the TCEA Buncee booth. Ironically, about that same time, one of my students surprised me by telling me each time she had a choice to create something at school she was using Buncee. I, immediately, scheduled time with her to sit side-by-side with me so she could give me feedback on my presentation! This group made sharing so much fun and they are always so helpful!

Wakelet- If you don’t know about Wakelet or the fact that they have taken the EDU scene by storm, 🤷🏻‍♀️. Every single session I was in at TCEA referenced their “Wakelet Collections.” Whether it was for additional resources, their main presentation medium, or how they were using Wakelet to house their student activities, portfolios or their own lessons. I shared so much about Wakelet and how the Fligprid and Buncee integrations can go right into a collection that I lost my voice! In addition, I enjoyed sharing at their TCEA Booth about their new Student Ambassador Program and how I was using the tool with my teachers! SWAT and I had the honor of working with the team on the Student Ambassador tasks, learning goals, and feedback to make it the best flow for students around the globe. If you’re interested in bringing hands-on digital citizenship into your classroom for FREE, check it out and sign up here

Other Highlights

Spazmatics – this band has become a TCEA bonding experience from some of us and this year was no different! They play every Wednesday night at 9 on Cedar Street in Austin and put on a great show! This year it even SNOWED while we enjoyed their 80’s flashback concert.

#TCEA2020

Teaching Digital Citizenship (An Ageless Lesson)

There is one topic that I continue to present on a daily basis, mostly informally:

Digital Citizenship. 

How can we be good digital citizens? 

My colleague, Deborah Zeman, partnered with me to create a Digital Citizenship Academy two years ago. I knew that we needed to address this topic with our students who attend our 1:1 Macbook Air high school.

Previously, I moved around from English class to English class creating a forum for students to address how not to be a good digital citizen and to model for them how to change their online behavior and lead themselves in positive branding.

This DCA allows for a larger group of students but also brings their classroom teachers in on the discussion.

DC1

We start out asking them “What is digital citizenship?” and “How do you promote good digital citizenship?” We use mentimeter.com to gather their answers and use this time to clarify what digital citizenship means. We also go through and spotlight some of the best answers and have students share about their answer more in detail.

Next, we pull out the star act in our presentation:

The DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP SURVIVOR KIT

Digital Survival Kit

We, originally, found Craig Badura’s post from 2013 and loved it so much we decided to use it as the star of our digital citizenship show! We already had our presentation from years before, but this little kit not only makes our points tangible, it also leads the students through collaboration (they are in groups), communication (they have to do a quick 30 second presentation), and critical thinking (linking items directly to DC).

Contents: 

Toothpaste, measuring tape, toothbrush, cotton balls, sharpie, lock

After we completely go through each item and students share how they relate it to digital citizenship, we address simple things NOT to do. We have a very truthful and frank conversation with our students about the dangers of social media. We talk in detail about what is appropriate to share and what is not. We add in several fun videos that have some great examples and get our students thinking.

DC2

After this, we have our students take out their laptops. They have several challenge activities to go through, including googling themselves and one adult family member. We talk about how we can change our online presence in a positive way and then guide them in creating a personal/professional portfolio.

Our school is a GSuite district, but there are lots of great tools out there to help them curate their work and accomplishments.

One of the main points I stress is that Digital Citizenship is not just a “teen lecture.”

No matter our age, we all need to practice good digital citizenship habits and norms.

No matter our age, we can all model and lead others to be kinder, think before posting, and to use our online presence to make a positive impact on those in our circle of influence.

Empowering Educators Everywhere,

Tisha (@txtechchick)

 

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)