Melanie Burford

Media Resource Specialist, McKinney ISD

On this TACKK newsletter, I will share some of my favorite tools and lesson ideas that I learned this year at TCEA. This year's conference was one of the best I've ever attended - maybe because so much focus was placed on the almighty Google? Maybe because I met some of my favorite #edtech leaders face to face? I can't exactly put a finger on it, but it was a GREAT week of learning with my MISD colleagues and new friends...

#1 - Learning Design with Google in Mind

This session keeps coming back to my mind. It was a self-paced Premium session and luckily, a few of my #mckedtech friends attended it as well (Christy and Tracy). Our presenter, Tracy Clark  (@tracyclark08), introduced our WORK that was to be done, and she then served as a "guide on the side" for the remainder of the session. I LOVE this style of class and instruction and encouraged us to problem-solve on our own and use our available tools in whatever way we could to complete the tasks. Check out her presentation by clicking the button below.

#2 - Creating Infographics with Google Drawings

I thought the Google Drawing tool was cool before TCEA, but now?? It was probably the most frequently mentioned tool at the conference, and I think it will be the most useful at the elementary level.

Below is a Geometry infographic that I started while I was sitting in this session. I also created a template for student use. Find it here.

#3 Explore the World without Leaving your Room

Maybe you've heard of Mystery Skyping, or perhaps Mystery Google Hangout-ing, but an idea that I saw in this session really got me thinking.

This class created a green screen video and sent their video to another region/state and had the other class guess where they were from. In the video, the students provided verbal clues, while the background (chroma effect) changed behind them providing more clues about their location. Great idea for state research!! Below is the video that was presented to us at TCEA.

#4 GHO with @EDUAllStars

GHO = Google Hangouts

"Hanging Out" via Google is not a new concept for me, but some of the more advanced features were. I learned that within GHO, you can add the Toolbox. It's an "add-on" that goes onto your left nav bar, along with the effects, screen sharing button, etc. After watching some GHO's on air, I always wondered how they added the text box at the box that included their names and Twitter handles... and now I know! This is what I'm talking about... doesn't it look professional? I'll insert a pic later (I had one on here, but took it down because I wasn't wearing make up (ugh!)

#5 - Makerspaces

This is going to be my next Learning Commons project to tackle. Next grant proposal to put together.

The Makerspace was definitely a hot topic at the conference this year. Here is a link to the fantastic presentation by Nancy Jo Lambert and Shawna Ford.

Here's a great video about Makerspaces!

#6 - F2F Encounters

With a few of my friends, I presented a SAMR session entitled, SAMRTime! Transforming Learning Through Integration. I gave a few shout-outs during the presentation - recognizing #edtech leaders, who have researched, blogged,and presented about the SAMR topic much more than I have:) I gave a shoutout to Carl Hooker (@mrhooker) and low-and-behold, he showed up! The fact that he took a few minutes to come hear a few minutes of our presentation and come chat with us at the end TOTALLY. MADE. MY. DAY. Here is the SAMRTime presentation:

Not only did I get the opportunity to shake Carl Hooker's hand and thank him for his insights on SAMR, I got to spend some time with Lisa Johnson (@techchef4u), who is truly my #edtech IDOL! "They" always say that the best things about conferences are not the sessions you attend, but the people you meet in the most unlikely places... As much as I enjoy the sessions and learning from a variety of people, the 1:1 chats, the elevator conversations, and the encounters while waiting for your Starbucks are just as meaningful as sitting in a 90-minute workshop or presentation.