Educators know that the end of the school year doesn’t mean the end of their work. In fact, crucial elements of planning and professional learning happen during the summer break. It’s often a time to catch up on things you missed during the semester, like new trends in elementary technology integration or the latest tips for using the apps and devices in your classroom. But professional learning doesn’t have to be tedious — it can even be fun.
That’s the notion behind the Elementary Technology Conference (ETC), formerly known as Tots and Technology, June 9–11, 2019 in Galveston, TX. The conference is designed for teachers, technologists, librarians, administrators, and more, all united by a mission to explain and exchange the latest and best ideas for integrating technology into the elementary classroom.
No More “Sit and Get”
“Most presenters try to have a collaborative atmosphere in their sessions,” says Janet Corder, half of the duo known as J2 Training, along with Joan Gore. Janet has spent more than 30 years in education, including many years on the TCEA board. “Probably too many to count,” she notes.
Corder and Gore will be featured presenters at this year’s conference. What makes ETC different, she says, is the small-scale, collaborative atmosphere. “A lot of times, professional learning is just ‘sit and get,’” Corder notes. But with 80 fun-filled sessions at ETC, there’s a “freedom of choices.”
In addition, the focus on elementary education means sessions better-tailored to the unique needs of PreK–5 educators. “You’re not in there with calculus or algebra teachers,” she says. “All the sessions are geared toward a younger grade level.”
Learning on Island Time
It’s hard to make professional learning feel stuffy with a group of energetic, inventive, and excited elementary educators. It’s even harder when you’re in Galveston. Corder calls it “a whole lot more relaxed” than your typical professional learning scenario.
Having a small range of grade levels and a manageable-sized group of attendees fosters the summer-camp vibe, she says. “This conference is so much more fun, and I think it’s more applicable. They offer such a variety.”
Not only do interactive, cutting edge sessions make it feel like summer time fun, so does the beach. Here are a few reasons outside the conference halls that may inspire you to register and rejuvenate.
Adventure: The island offers a bevy of action-packed activities. From speedboat tours to helicopter rides, the thrill of skydiving to the calmer joys of exploring Galveston’s historic Pleasure Pier, there’s no shortage of options for thrill-seekers.
Beach life: Make new friends on a dolphin tour or explore the island from horseback. Enjoy harbor tours or just lounge in the sand. No matter your style, Galveston is saving a spot on the beach for you.
Historic treasures: Galveston, at one time the most populous Texas city, boats an array of historic architecture alongside unique museums, like the Galveston Naval Museum or the impressive new Bryan Museum.