Wednesday, March 8, 2017

#TCEA17 Favorite Finds

This is a guest post by Leah Schwedler, STEM teacher at Carroll Senior High.

I loved visiting TCEA for the first time this year. I was blown away by all of the creative and engaging ways to incorporate technology into the classroom at all learning levels.

My biggest takeaway from TCEA was the concept of StoryMaking and all of the tools that support students as they create and tell their story. Here are some tools and tips that I picked up regarding StoryMaking:

A student group from Rendon Prep in WA presented using Sway, which is an interactive presentation tool. I plan to utilize this application the next time my students need to create a presentation. These students demonstrated the use of social media in their communication and told the audience, “Each of you have a story to tell.” (Don’t be afraid to use social media to tell your story!)

If you’re interested in the concept of StoryMaking, a great educator to follow on twitter is Dean Shareski.

Another interesting topic was the use of Snapchat in education.  Although Snapchat is often thought of as something that should not be used/encouraged in school, there are actually many useful ways to incorporate Snapchat in the classroom. Using Geofilters and hashtags (for example, #schoolisasnap) are easy ways to organize and communicate photos from your classroom or school. The presenter’s position was that we need to communicate the way “our people” are communicating if we want to tell our story effectively. This may mean using Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat to let the community know what is happening in our classroom.

My favorite find at TCEA was Virtual Reality! I was amazed at the ways educators are incorporating the use of VR into the classroom in so many innovative ways. I was also surprised at the cost-effective ways to use VR, including both VR goggles and 360 cameras. I am looking at Google Cardboard and the Ricoh Theta SC Camera to use in my robotics classroom so that students can communicate their experiences in an innovative way. VR is certainly a technology that our students will be using, so adding it to our classroom experience will be another way for students to be encouraged to tell their story!

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