Our district sent the seven of us in our technology department to the TCEA conference last week in Austin, TX. A month before the conference, I joined TCEA's ning (social networking site) and began collaborating with others who planned to attend the conference. Listed below are my notes from the sessions I attended.
Day 1: An hour into our trip to Bastrop ISD to check out their 1:1 program in grades 5-8, I spilled a soft drink on my cell phone and ruined it....I spent all five days of the conference without a cell phone, so I used the free download Skype so I was able to video conference with my husband and three kids back home...thankfully, the Macbook has a built in camera and mic. Back to visiting Bastrop...their techs were gracious enough to let us "pick their brains" about the pros and cons of their program, and there's no doubt after seeing their program first hand, that we would have to hire full-time technicians if we were to implement a 1:1 program! After visiting Bastrop, we stayed at an absolutely beautiful home of a friend of my co-worker in Westlake Austin (very close to Michael Dell's home) and had a fabulous dinner and great conversation.
Day 2: I attended a full day of Technology Applications Network sessions:
- Movie Trailers - tips for shooting video
- Using Student Created E-Books as an Integration Tool
- Making Movies" using iMovie
- Interactive Classroom Projects using Wii Controllers
- Storytelling Alice - a free download that teaches programming
- Friday Fun integration ideas
- Get a Life! Second One, That Is - presented by Elaine Plybon
This is a snapshot of my somewhat "confused" avatar, Corina Longfall, on ISTE's island on my first visit this week. I finally met a docent last night who gave me a tour of the island and lots of great 2nd Life tips. I'm already involved with many personal learning networks such as Twitter, Plurk, Facebook, Classroom 2.0, Elementary Tech Teachers, etc. but I always love learning about new ways to establish professional global connections.
- Help! I've Got a SMART Board- Now What Do I Do? from Giddings ISD. The presenter was a "newbie" to interactive white boards, and shared some neat ideas for elementary teachers.
- TEC SIG luncheon was very nice, but I had to step out before the Pink Jacket Awards because our middle school tech specialist and I really wanted to attend the "Mathcasting" session ....I should have stayed for the awards!!
- Creating Podcasts, Vodcasts, and Screencasts by Patrick Crispen, who's a doctoral student at USC (Go Trojans!) The presenter demonstrated how to use Camtasia for screencasting and compared it to the free, open source software Cam Studio. I tried to download Cam Studio on my Mac, but it seemed to be Windows based, so I did a little investigating and found that Jing works well with both Windows and Mac platforms. I downloaded Jing on my PC at home and my Macbook at work, but couldn't get the audio to work on my PC...worked wonderfully on my Macbook though.
- I visited the exhibits after the sessions, but didn't have a whole lot of time to explore the booths.
- Bookflips with Promethean Boards--during this session I learned about some neat literacy websites for elementary teachers:
- Storynory- audio books that can be downloaded to Mp3 players
- Storyline Online- streaming books
- BookFlix - Video storybooks
- Tumblebooks - ebooks for kids (fee based)
- We went to the Past President's Luncheon where speaker Don McMillan gave guests a good laugh with How Not to Use PowerPoint.
- After lunch, I attended Gentlemen, Start Your Lessons- Lewisville ISD and DigiTech Spotlight where Lancaster ISD shared how they plan, organize, and deliver a tech showcase for parents.
On Sunday after we returned home, I participated in an online workshop through PBS/ Classroom 2.0 on Using Tags in Diigo. After the workshop, I exported my bookmarks from delicious to Diigo since it seems to offer more features. I love to see elementary teachers in our district join and collaborate with other on Elementary School 2.0.
Reflection: I gathered a few neat ideas and websites to share with elementary teachers on my campus, but I must admit that I learned more from networking with other TCEA members and from reading blogs and microblogs than I did from attending the TCEA sessions. Maybe it's due to the current economy, but I didn't really see anything this year at TCEA that made me say, "Ah ha" like I did last year at NECC.