They say everything's bigger in Texas.
Well the #TCEA16 Annual Conference and Exposition Feb 1 - 5, 2016, did not disappoint. Not only were there a lot of people (over 9000 attendees), but the energy and enthusiasm were equally grand.
This year, EdTechTeam went all out with sessions, workshops, exhibit presentations, panel participation and so much more. We kicked things off on Monday by participating in the Google Academy panel.
1100 educators participated by providing pressing questions around the use of Google Apps. One of the key topics that came up most was around identifying the best digital platforms for learning, best tools, resources, creative spaces, safety, and more.
It helped solidify that educators in Texas are pushing the envelope beyond the tech and towards creating safe creative and engaging learning environments for students.
The panel was led by Google Academy Steering Committee members Stuart Burt and Kasey Bell. Panelists included Carolyn Foote, Eanes ISD; Rafranz Davis, Lufkin ISD; Scott Floyd, White Oak ISD; Monica Martinez, EdTech Team; and Tom Woods, AmplifiedIT. The entire day's program can be found here: Google Academy.
Google Education now has a dedicated Texas team to help support GAFE and Chromebook initiatives. Throughout the week they too had a big presence.
During the Google Academy and in Room 2 they showcased the Google Expeditions program. With more than 100 current expeditions, the virtual reality platform built for the classroom, engages students in a whole new perspective. Since August 2015, over 500,000 students have gone on an Expedition.
If you didn’t get a chance to experience Expeditions, check out the program here: https://www.google.com/edu/expeditions.
Sign up to let them know you’d like the Expeditions Pioneer Program to stop at your school. They’ll be making their way to as many schools as possible, but spots are limited. So sign up today!
Monday night we had the opportunity to lead and co-sponsor the Texas Google Educator Group Party honoring the Texas GEG Leaders, Texas Google Certified Innovators, Texas Google Certified Trainers, and Administrators.
Along with our partners Google for Education and AmplifiedIT, we hosted a two-hour networking event with games, food, and door prizes. 175 Google enthusiasts came together for the night.
Texas is well represented among the Google certified educator community. To date there are:
>150 Google Certified Trainers
>25 Google Certified Innovators
>97 district + 6 ESCs in the Texas GAFE Technical Collaborative
Across the world there are 50 million using Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and 10 million using Classroom. There are 30,000 Chromebooks being activated in schools every school day making it the #1 device in the US two years running.
With the continued growth of GAFE deployments and Chromebook implementations across Texas, we’ll be working with passionate educators interested in becoming certified educators. To learn how to become certified and to host a certification training at your school or campus, contact Kate Petty (firstname.lastname@example.org). Hosts will receive 3 comp tickets.
Monday was only the beginning! We continued the week with back to back sessions and workshops with the Google Edu Team in Room 2, with ViewSonic in the exhibit hall, and throughout the event including a live radio spot on the official TCEA Radio channel.
EdTechTeam featured Monica Martinez (EdTechTeam’s Regional Director), Stephanie Villegas, and new to Texas, Sergio Villegas. These Texas rock stars facilitated 21 sessions throughout the week. We tweeted all of our resources, but in case you missed them, here they are: edtech.team/AtTCEA16.
On that note, huge thanks for the love on Twitter last week. If you're looking for resources on Google Apps or edtech, here are some great folks to follow and don’t forget to search twitter for #gafesummit.
Out of everything we shared, our GAFE Tips poster tweet got the most love. People signed up to receive our 11x17 posters that showcase tips on different Google Apps services like Docs, Slides, Chrome, Cardboard, and more. During the TCEA conference, we designed two more: Chromebooks and GAFE Workflows.
If you're interested in receiving these posters, sign up here: edtech.team/GAFEposters.
All in all, it was a great event for us. We loved being able to connect with old friends like our partners TextHelp and WeVideo, and our 2015 Google Apps for Education Summit hosts. It was also great to make new connections. Among the discussions, we identified new hosts for Google events in 2016.
Last year we had amazing hosts in South Texas (Weslaco ISD), East Texas (Sabine Pass ISD), and the Texas Panhandle (Canyon ISD). In addition to these areas, we’re super excited to announce our new 2016 hosts for Google Apps Summits:
South Plains Summit (Lubbock ISD) June 1 - 2
North Texas (Burleson ISD) June 8 - 9
Dallas Area (Royse City ISD)
Coastal Bend (Corpus Christi ISD) June 14 - 15
and back for year two…
Texas Panhandle Summit (Canyon ISD) June 22 - 23
And that's not it! We have more in the works for west Texas (Big Bend area and El Paso), East Texas (Beaumont/Port Arthur area), central Texas (Temple, Waco, Hays County), and south Texas (Rio Grande Valley).
We hope that you will join us at one or more of these events. More information can be found at tx.gafesummit.com.