Home Google Tips and Tricks Gleanings from the TCEA 2016 Convention (Google and More!)

Gleanings from the TCEA 2016 Convention (Google and More!)

by Lori Gracey

The following is a guest blog post by April Whitehead about things she learned during TCEA 2016. April serves as the District Instructional Technologist for Hamshire-Fannett ISD.


After attending “You Can’t Just Google It!” on Tuesday morning, I feel much more prepared to address copyright and Creative Commons during teacher professional development. As an instructional technologist, I train teachers on best practices for using digital resources, but I don’t go into great depth or detail. Basically, teachers hear “Make sure you cite your sources.  Don’t let students just Google an image and use it.  Use the “research tool in Google Docs.”  That’s about it.

Amy, Krista, and Shannon from Round Rock ISD mapped out their approach to teaching students and teachers about Creative Commons (CC). CC licenses provide a simple way for creators to label their work (whether it’s a photo, website, video, or presentation) so that others will know if it’s okay to share, remix, or reuse. Any picture or document that is published online is protected by copyright.  That’s so easy to forget! But, if you find a picture with a CC license, you can easily see if or how you can use it.

The Round Rock team shared great websites that help you find resources with CC licenses. For photos, Pixabay and Morguefile were great, but Unsplash was my absolute favorite!

Matt Lyons and William Jeffery shared some of my favorite new-to-me sites of TCEA 2016. Their #RevengeoftheMaps session showed just how versatile and fun digital maps are. Confluence.org for snapshots of latitude and longitude confluences, Geoguessr for a fun “guess where you are” game in Google Street View, and Gapminder for visualizing geographical data were some of the highlights. William shared a stupendous idea for using the My Maps in Google maps. He showed how students can build their own interactive map by dropping in markers and adding text, pictures, and even 360° YouTube videos! I can’t wait to try that with our teachers and students at HF.


I love going to sessions taught by Peggy Reimers from TCEA, and her “Just the Google Gravy” session was super fun, as I expected. She went over some cool Google tricks like “do a barrel roll” (Google it!) and the “Google a Day” search challenge. Flippity.net was the star of the session, in my opinion.

Flippity converts your Google sheet into all kinds of useful things. You can make flashcards or PD certificates. You can track digital badges for students. You can make a quiz that awards a certificate. You can make an awesome random name generator that also randomly groups students. I could have saved so much time if I had this when I taught middle school! As an instructional technologist, I’m definitely going to use it to make randomized groups for PD activities. The most fun Flippity tool was the Flippity quiz show generator. I had heard of this, but I’d never made time to investigate it. Peggy showed us how simple it is to edit the Flippity template to make a cute Jeopardy-style quiz show. This is another tool I’ll be adding to my tech PD sessions!

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