Reflections on TCEA 2012

February 15, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’ve been going to the TCEA conference for 7 years now. The last couple of years a lot less than when I first started going, but this year, I went for 3 days, and next year, I’d like to spend the extra money (or have whoever is employing me at that time spend the extra money) and go for some of the paid sessions on Monday and Tuesday.

I actually learned quite a bit this year, more than in previous years, but as always, you run across a couple of stinker sessions. Here’s the thing, though. My attitude toward those has changed a bit. In one of the sessions I attended, I tweeted:

Which in hindsight sounds a bit snotty, but it’s exactly how I feel. Especially when I see people who aren’t progressive presenting and watch others nod their head in agreement. But I was determined to take away something from each session I attended, even the ones I walked out of early. And I did.

More than anything this year, I got lists. A vast majority of the sessions I went to were lists. They were simply people throwing out a list of apps or web sites that were simple to use. I like that because it’s so open ended. They weren’t telling you what to do with the things they were showing you (OK, maybe just a quickie demo) but there were providing resources, and letting you make up your mind about how to use it.

That’s part of the reason I’ve decided against post all of the session notes I took this year…most of them are lists, and most of the people who presented them have their lists somewhere online, so really, all I’d have to do is link back to the lists.

I have posted my thoughts on one presentation, though…the BYOD session presented by Katy ISD, which I think was my biggest “a-ha” moment of the conference.

The one recurring thought I had as I wandered (or sometimes speed-walked) my way through the convention center was, “We are not sending the right people to this conference.”

Now, some districts do this very well, and send administrators, teachers, etc., and those are exactly the people who need to go. I can name four principals off the top of my head who could have seen how technology is supposed to be used that would have completely changed their mindset about how technology is being used on their campuses.

That shift HAS to come from the top. It has to be a priority at the district level, not just a talking point. You’d better believe that I’m going to push for some curriculum folks and campus administrators to go to TCEA 2013.

The biggest thing I took away this year, though, was the connections. I’ve been on Twitter for a number of years, and have been gradually growing my numbers of people I follow. A lot of those people are Texas Ed Tech folks who were at the conference. Many of the people I’ve had conversations with on Twitter or Google+, but had never met in person, so this year, I made it a point to see some of those people in real life, shake hands, and get to know the person behind the tweets.

Sometimes the best professional development is getting to really talk with people in your network in conversations that take place in more than 140 characters.

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