Monday, February 15, 2010

The stories I have to tell from TCEA...

Good morning, tech savvy educators! Boy, do I have a whole bunch to share...

The picture shows a glimpse of what I did last week: I had the chance to attend the TCEA conference with thousands of other educators in Texas wanting to improve technology in their districts. I had a chance to learn so many great things and experience a host of new technologies. Most of all, I gained a new found appreciation for adapting and integrating technologies into the classrooms.

The highlights of the week were the keynote speakers. My absolute favorite was Chris Gardner, the inspiration for one of my favorite films "The Pursuit of Happyness" (starring Will Smith). He shared his beyond amazing story about the challenges he had to overcome to become a successful entrepreneur. It is hard to imagine one man can accomplish so much in one lifetime, and still have time to be a passionate philanthropist. He also explained how much the movie accurately represented his life. The one major difference was that his son was portrayed as a 5 year old in the movie (for the dialogue), but he was only 2 years old during these events! His inspirational speech was extremely motivating for this crowd of overzelous technology educators striving to integrate technologies into schools and classrooms.

We also heard from Erik Wahl, a talented artist with a passion to encourage childhood creativity in public schools, and David Kushner, an editor of "Rolling Stone" and "Wired" who reported on how technology is forming our future, and our 'now'. Both of these men shared powerful messages of how much technology is shaping the lives of our students, and how it is crucial for us to incorporate technology into the learning environment.

I also had the chance to experience several technologies first-hand in the 'Playgrounds'. I discovered how to make existing games work for educational purposes, how to incorporate trends such as Geocaching into the existing curriculum, and how to make iPods useful resources for students. These experiences were mainly a glimpse into the future, but it helped develop a vision of how such technologies can be effective in schools.

The workshops were packed with so much pertinent information, so I will expand upon them in later blogs... Stay tuned, EdTechies!

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