Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA)
Conference & Expo 2017
If you know me, you know I love learning, growing, and connecting with other educators. And the TCEA Conference & Expo is a week long opportunity to do just that and so much more, and this year did not disappoint. Not only was I humbled by being allowed to present five times at TCEA, but I also got to connect with some of this nation’s prominent thought leaders in education technology.
As a former Apple employee and self-professed Apple fanboy, I was new to Google for Education. Everything I learned about G Suite for Education (formerly known as Google Apps for Education), I can credit to my Google Goddesses, Alice Keeler and Kasey Bell. I added these two ladies to my Professional Learning Network (PLN) on Twitter very early on in my dive to using social media as professional development. Alice Keeler is an educator from California, and her two books about Google Classroom have become my bibles for improving teaching and learning using this cornerstone of the G Suite for Education. In addition, the tips and tricks she shares on Twitter (@AliceKeeler) and her blog (www.alicekeeler.com) keep me abreast of what’s new in Google Classroom and beyond. Not to mention when I meet Alice in June of 2016 during the ISTE Conference & Expo in Denver, Colorado at a CoffeeEDU meet up, it inspired me to start CoffeeEDU Dallas.
What’s so great about Kasey Bell is that she is a local girl; she is also here in north Texas, so I have gotten to see her present several times, and she is a wealth of Google knowledge. I’m pretty sure Google ooze drips from her ears when she lies down at night. Her bubbly personality, infectious grin, and down to earth persona make learning the ins-and-outs of Google a blast. Her blog (Shake Up Learning) and new podcast with Matt Miller (The Google Tribe Podcast) are filled to the brim with Google news, tips, insights, and advice. I always learn something new when Kasey Bell presents.
Amy Mayer, CEO of friEDTECHnology (because everything is better fried), is another amazing instructional technologist from Texas, whose sessions are a must attend. I could sit in on her reading the phone book and be entertained. Amy is a Google PD partner, and her knowledge has no limits. I especially love her YouTube videos where she shares her best tips and tricks on her channel.
I have had the luxury of hearing Google’s Global Education Evangelist (what a cool title!), Jaime Casap, speak several times, but he never disappoints. This year, he was the closing keynote speaker during the Google Academy at TCEA. His message about education’s ability to disrupt poverty definitely resonated with me because I am living proof of this. After growing up poor, in public housing, receiving welfare and food stamps, I am evidence that education does indeed disrupt poverty.
I had been connecting with Matt Miller, an educator from Indiana, and author of Ditch that Textbook, on Twitter for months by participating in #DitchBook Twitter chats. Matt is an innovator and education thought leader who believes that the future of education comes through technology integration and creativity with less reliance on textbooks. Hearing Matt share tips and resources on the exhibit floor at the ViewSonic booth was a treat and getting a signed copy of his book didn’t hurt either.
Of all the speakers and presenters, Todd Nesloney, author of Kids Deserve It!, was probably the most inspiring. Todd is another Texas educator, a principal, and his passion, drive, and leadership exuded from the stage. What he does for his staff and students is truly amazing. He is the school principal every school needs. I have corresponded with Todd through #KidsDeserveIt Twitter chats, but getting to hear his compassion and conviction in person was truly amazing.
What’s great about the TCEA Conference & Expo is that connecting with these educators doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of everything I learn at the conference. With over 900 sessions and workshops and 450 exhibitors, there was truly an overabundance of information to glean in just one week.