Asking me to narrow down my favorite parts of the TCEA Convention & Exposition is like asking a teacher to pick their favorite classroom supply— it’s an impossible decision. But, one of my favorite benefits of TCEA is the connections I make with others who come from a variety of diverse backgrounds and experiences. As I’ve reflected on my TCEA 2024 experience, I reached out to fellow attendees for their tastiest TCEA tidbits, which helped me narrow down my own list. Let’s take a look!
1. AI in Education
This year, one of the Power Hours, TCEA’s version of keynotes, included an AI Panel with Nneka McGee, Alfonso Mendoza, Matt Miller, Rachelle Dené Poth, which was moderated by Jessie Camarillo. The discussion emphasized a need for educators to model responsible AI use for students.
Additionally, panelists brought up equity issues that can arise when using AI. In my growing understanding of how AI works, this surprised me and now makes me stop and think about what those discussions look like with the teachers I support. Thank you Erika Burkhardt and Aaron Hogan for sharing your thoughts via X!
Click to check out their presentations:
My own experience with sessions at TCEA 2024 covered classroom instruction, instructional support, professional learning, and leadership. However, I wanted to make sure I brought in some tidbits for librarians, who hold a very special place in my heart. Stephanie Russell put together a fantastic slide deck full of resources librarians may find helpful.
One of the tools Stephanie shares is Google Arts & Culture. This is a fun resource full of everything from virtual museum tours to art selfies to musical games! There is something for everyone in this app. Stephanie shares a few ideas in her slide deck, including connecting architecture with math and poetry month. Personally, I’ve had my share of fun using the mobile version of Art Selfie.
3. Growing Educators
As an instructional technology coordinator, sessions focused on professional learning always make my list because of the nature of my job. Plus, I have a passion for creating learning experiences for adults. Two sessions in particular at TCEA 2024 provided me with insight and great ideas. The first session came from the team in New Caney ISD. It highlighted five keys to making professional learning meaningful for educators:
- Significant and Ongoing
- Active Participation
I liked the emphasis on more bite-sized learning experiences because time is such a valuable commodity for educators. It helps to narrow the focus of professional learning, so ideas aren’t too overwhelming. Then, allow teachers to try the one thing they focused on immediately. The concept of making the learning meaningful was reinforced by a different session I went to led by Nicole Zumpano:
This session focused on andragogy and learning across generations. I already obsess over understanding how we learn from generation to generation, and I wanted to know even more; so, this session suited me perfectly. The top takeaway included six things I need to keep in mind when putting together professional learning:
- The Need to Know
- The Learner’s Self Concept
- The Role of Learner Experiences
- Readiness to Learn
- Orientation to Learning
Thank you to New Caney ISD and Nicole Zumpano for sharing!
4. Digital Tool Recommendation
Whenever I am asked for a digital tool recommendation, I like to share a “universal” tool that will fit any grade and any content. Genially is one of my favorite of these universal tools. I initially started using Genially because of its interactive image feature. Pop-out windows helped keep people on one screen as they worked through an activity or viewed resources.
As Genially evolved over the past few years, it became so much more than an interactive image tool. I used it to create asynchronous training for educators as well as game boards for summer professional learning. I became a Genially Ambassador because I believe in the power of this digital tool. I was excited to find sessions during TCEA 2024 that highlighted Genially and all it can do. Thank you to Dr. Ashly Spencer and the team from Birdville ISD for sharing their presentations.
5. YouTube Playlists
I never liked complete silence in my classroom. Learning comes with a soundtrack. However, playing music in a high school classroom can go very wrong very quickly. What genre? What about inappropriate lyrics? Will it be too distracting? The ladies from friED Technology showed a new way to add a soundtrack to the classroom. During their “Tech It to the 90s” session, they showed us how to pull up instrumental and lo-fi versions of current hits on YouTube. I love this! Additionally, they noted the group Vitamin String Quartet which is known for the Bridgerton soundtracks as well as string covers of pop hits. Thank you friED Technology for sharing!
It is so hard to narrow down all the amazing things I learned at TCEA 2024 into a roundup of favorites! I asked a few other members to share their own tidbits with me, and you can check out what they shared on this Padlet. I also invite you to add any of your own TCEA tidbits to the Padlet or in the comments below! I hope you find this resource roundup valuable. Which one is your favorite?