Thoughts on TCEA 2007

February 12, 2007 at 2:13 pm 1 comment

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the TCEA 2007 conference in Austin, Texas.

Not only was it the most fun I’ve had in a long time – at least as far as professional development goes – it was also really productive!

I learned a lot about the state of technology in Texas public schools: dismal on one hand and promising on the other.

For example, I was at this big technology conference, but I would estimate that more than 90% of the participants did not have laptops – at least, not with them.

On the other hand, I heard someone say that every year, this particular conference is the largest event that the Austin Convention Center hosts. So maybe they don’t have laptops, but the majority are interested in learning about technology. That’s a good thing!

These are the sessions I attended:



Most of them were really fantastic (Amazing GeoRace, Connective Writing, World Wide Classroom, Global Voices, Integrating GIS), one was hands-down terrible (I won’t name names), and the rest were pretty good.

The most appalling thing I heard was this: I don’t like doing anything that takes time away from TAKS. I want computer activities that teach content, but don’t take away from class time.

In other words, computers and learning don’t go hand-in-hand. Real learning is done in a classroom, not in front of a screen. This person obviously used technology because they had to in order to fulfill a curriculum requirement, not out of a desire to enrich the learning experience.

It made me sick to my stomach. And the rapturous applause at the end of the presentation only worsened that nauseated feeling. But then I realized that there are lots and lots of teachers out there who aren’t using technology AT ALL, and if they need extremely low-level projects to get them excited about it, then great. I realize that many people are afraid of things they don’t understand, so maybe breaking it down a bit is a good idea.

I just hope that they find the courage to move past Word documents and PowerPoints and into more interactive mediums like blogging, wikis, and podcasting. Otherwise, we’re really in trouble!

Or, we could just wait until they all die off and my Millennial students are running the world! They won’t have any problem integrating technology into their curriculum!

I probably have more to say about my two days away, but I’ll save the rest of it for another time.


Entry filed under: Education, Technology.

Ivan of Camden, NJ Disaster!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jennifer Smith  |  March 27, 2007 at 10:50 am

    I was supposed to take a class on podcasting last week, but ended up staying LATE at school because I had to explain to one of my students why saying, ” We gusta hit on chicas” is NOT Spanish. 🙂 I hear it is really amazing and would be very helpful in a language classroom too!

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