Another amazing learning experience from TCEA has ended after more than a year of planning. Kudos to the Convention Advisory Panel members, the board of directors, the presenters, the exhibitors, the partners, and the staff. But most of all, thank you to every educator who took the time to be away from your campus and students, to deal with COVID concerns, to travel to Dallas from your home, all to learn new ideas and resources for teaching and sharing. I hope your experience was as impactful as mine was. What did I learn while I was there?
It’s Important to Be Together
Most of us have not had many, if any, opportunities to be with other educators over the past two years. And, if we have had such an opportunity, it was probably in a rushed, frantic, worrisome environment that was not really conducive to our own personal learning. What I saw at convention were teachers and librarians and administrators laughing and smiling and screaming in excitement just to be with other like individuals again. The conversations were important, the ideas being shared were necessary, and the time together was a balm to all of our spirits. Whether you learned how to find something you saw another attendee wearing in the Amazon app so that you could purchase it for yourself (yes, you can do that with just a photo of the item!) or you were able to emphathize with someone who is so exhausted that they just don’t know what to do anymore, being together was critical to all of our health and wellness. Connections matter, as you can see in this short, joyful video Brooke Lowery shared via Twitter.
It’s Important to Talk about the Teaching and the Learning
While TCEA has its roots in the ed tech world, the convention also embraced a strong focus on improving teaching and learning. Whether that was through an emphasis on Social-Emotional Learning or closing the learning gap or the latest brain research in education, attendees were interested in becoming better at their craft. Hard discussions around diversity, equity, and inclusion were held, administrators talked about how to be leaders who empowered their staff, and teachers shared what worked, as well as what didn’t work, in their classrooms. New ideas and collaborations were proposed and everyone felt buoyed up and recharged to keep fighting the good fight.
It’s Important to Pick the Right Tool
Of course, you can’t have a TCEA convention without adding some new ed tech tools to your arsenal. And there were lots of those available, shared by presenters, exhibitors, and attendees. Whether it was an innovative technology that most people are just starting to use (like this Wakelet of ideas for integrating drones into all subject areas) or how to use Google or Microsoft extensions to make accomodations for struggling students or using sketchnoting with Promethean devices to help visual learners, everyone walked away with a new resource. One of my favorite finds was a sketchnote that Ashely Guerrero made of the session “Tips and Tricks for All My Chromies.”
Some Things to Remember
There are a few other things that I was reminded about at convention and that I want all of us to remember:
- To help save you time, TCEA has created a curated list of more than 1,200 Jamboard templates that are absolutely free to you and cover all subject areas and grade levels. Make a copy of your list and check back often as we will continue to update it.
- If you were able to attend convention last week with either a full convention registration or an online pass for either SEL or Bridging the Learning Gap, you have access to all of the on-demand content through March 11, 2022. So keep the learning going!
- Other chances to BE TOGETHER are coming up. We have the Elementary Technology Conference in Galveston, TX June 12-14. And we’ll be in San Antonio for the 2023 TCEA Convention & Exposition January 30-February 3, 2023. Plan on joining us at these experiences and recharge with your peers!
- Finally, as Winnie the Pooh once said, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” And I know that’s true of all educators out there making a difference every single moment of each and every day. Just believe in yourself and in what you will accomplish to make this world a better place for our students!