Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Favorite Finds from TCEA

Guest Post by Candice Karas, Old Union Elementary School Science Lab Teacher

My name is Candice Karas, and I teach Science Lab at Old Union. This was my second year to attend the TCEA conference, and I found it just as beneficial (and overwhelming) as I did the first year! I definitely recommend attending if you get the chance.

Here are my top 3 favorite finds from TCEA 2015: – a quick and easy way to assess students
  • Create an AnswerGarden in less than 60 seconds – no account required.
  • Type a question or prompt and give students the URL; they can answer on any device with a browser. Any time someone from the audience submits an answer, it appears in your “Answer Garden,” which is a word cloud. The more times that answer is submitted, the larger the word grows in the cloud. 
  • This is a super-fast way to see what your students are thinking and how many students are on the same page. This tweet shows how I was able to spontaneously use AnswerGarden when a class of 4th grade students brought their devices to the lab.

Page Eraser – erase unwanted portions of a webpage before you display it to your class
  • This is a Google Chrome extension.
  • Very easy to use: install the extension in your Chrome browser, click its icon when you’re ready to use it, and then click portions of the webpage you’d like to disappear. 
  • Nice for getting rid of distracting or inappropriate elements on an otherwise great website.
  • The presenters had lots of other useful Chrome tips on their Tackk, and Kristie Johnson has a great ThingLink with more Chrome extension ideas. – video chat tool
  • No registration, account, or downloads needed
  • Connect up to 8 people in the same video chat
  • You could use this to connect to more than one classroom during a Mystery Skype session, hold a debate between up to 8 classes, or to let more than one class take advantage of a guest speaker or virtual field trip. 

Bonus: is a website full of PBL resources.

If you’re looking for other resources, check out my technology blog, search #tcea15 on Twitter, or visit this website to take a look at all of the handouts from this year’s conference.

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