Day Two at #TCEATOTS

Sorry for the delay in posting this - some mommy duties called upon my return from Galveston!

By day two of the Tots and Technology conference most of the technological issues had been worked out and we could get right down to business.  It was another day of exciting information and networking with some of my FAVORITE PLN peeps like @friedtechnology, @computerexplore, and @kristy_vincent!

Here are the day two sessions I attended...

Teaching Science to ELLs Using Digital Photography - There's an App for That!

Alex Jones of Fort Bend ISD presented this session and his passion for photography and science really made an impression on me - not to mention the fact that he's just plain funny.  :)  Alex talked about how his love for photography led him to begin using his own photographs in his science class as discussion starters for science concepts.  He shared a wonderful presentation and what really shined through was how involved and invested his students were in the photographs and the concepts they portrayed.  Alex's passion led him to develop Science Through Photography apps for classroom teachers to purchase to bring this method into their own classrooms.  I love this idea and can see many ways to use both Alex's apps and our own photos in the classroom!

Videoconferencing and Distance Learning

This session, presented by Trisha Goins of GCISD, gave some great examples of how we can use Skype in the classroom to enrich our students' learning experience.  Trisha pointed out the power of giving students an audience to improve their attitude toward learning and also improve their writing skills.  Have reluctant teachers?  No worries!  She also shared this awesome "6 STep Challenge" to get teachers using videconferencing...
  1. Make a video using a web camera.
  2. Make a video and email it to parents.
  3. Make a video and post it to the school webpage.
  4. Skype with a teacher in the building.
  5. Skype with a teacher in the district.
  6. Skype with a teacher outside the district.
I love these steps and can definitely see myself using this challenge with my own staff!  Trisha also suggested the use of CAPSpace to connect with other classrooms around the world.  Currently, CAPSPace boasts 11682 educators from 41 countries.  Some of the ideas that Trisha shared with us for collaborative videoconferencing projects include...
  • A Plump and Perky Turkey - students on both sides read the story and draw pictures of their camouflaged turkeys to share with the other class (hold up to webcam).
  • Valentine's Day Card Exchange - students construct a Valentine's Day card and write step-by-step instructions for recreating it.  Materials and instructions are sent to the other class and then both products are compared to see how well the students wrote their directions.
  • Snowmen at Night - both classes read the story and then draw pictures of what their snowmen do at night to share with the other class via webcam.
  • State Knowledge - let students prepare a presentation with facts from their state to present via webcam to a class in another state
The ideas are endless!  How are YOU using videoconferencing in your classroom and what ideas can you offer??

Leading a Horse to Water

Lori Gracey, TCEA Executive Director, presented this session which was directed at technology leaders and it was a good one!  She discussed Roger's change theory and Robinson's 7 steps to behavior change and she put teachers into these categories:
  • Trailblazers (2.4%) - independent and don't need a map, the stories they tell will inspire others to explore, but it's best to leave them alone and don't let them do staff development :)
  • Pioneers (13.5%) - they need to hear the stories, they're adventurous, it's best to put these people on planning teams and in leadership positions
  • Settlers (34%) - bold but not adventurous, expect "amenities", want to know EXACTLY where they're going and need strong leadership before they set out on the trail
  • Stay-at-homers (34%) - never intend to leave "home" but are strong educators, content where they are, pressure or disrespect will cause them to resist, sell these people with the idea of REAL plans
Unfortunately, there's another group and they're the laggards (16%).  We all know a few of these and the sad reality is that we just need to cut them loose and focus our energy on those who we can help.  One of the best things Lori shared was this image of 50 reasons not to change.  I am sure we have all heard every one of these!!  I'll be sharing another post soon of how we can give positive feedback to teachers - Lori shared some good tips on that as well!

Tablets and iPads and Apps, Oh My!

The fabulous Kristy Vincent (maybe you know her as the lady with the big purple hat!) did this last session and despite the fact that TCEA left it off the program, she had many attendees and did a great job!  Kristy shared how many of our teachers are like the cast from the Wizard of Oz...some of us need to get home, some of us need a brain, some of us need a heart and some of us just need the nerve!  She shared her thoughts on the iPad vs. other tablets and encouraged users not to get discouraged in the "tech jungle."  Follow the yellow brick road to techno success!


  1. Love all your tech ideas you gathered at your conference, as I am a tech junky. I just signed up to be a part of CAPspace. I hope to collaborate with other classes! Thanks!

    1. That's awesome! Maybe I can hook you up with one of our classes next year?!


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