TCEA 2012 Recap Part 1: iTCEA?
There’s one thing for certain when reflecting back on this year’s TCEA conference, if the world ends this year as the Mayan calendar predicts, we’ll find out about it on our iPad using Pinterest to post pictures of the demise. TCEA routinely hosts one of the best values in educational conventions across the country for instructional technology. Hard to argue with 5 days of learning and connecting for just a smidge under $250*(Premium package). However, this year more than ever a single device ruled the conference. It’s no surprise that Apple’s tablet has taken off in schools and districts across the country. Those of you that have read this blog, know all the amazing growth that has happened at our district from these devices. TCEA greatly reflected the societal and educational shift to tablet and mobile computing this year. It seemed that every time I turned around I saw a session with some sort of clever “i” title. From ” iBuild iPad Lessons” with those zany NorthEast ISD ladies (Yolanda Barker and Lisa Johnson) to “Living in an iWorld” with Bastrop Tech Director Bryan Doyle, it seemed that perhaps we should have been attending “iTCEA” this year. While some may claim it’s showing blatent disregard for other platforms (or favoritism for one), looking at the history of TCEA reveals that they have struck true with the trends in education and reflected what was happening in the field and in some cases, that means a little bit of preferential treatment towards the trendy hardware. Here’s brief hysterical look-back at the history of the convention and hardware bias –
2006- Smartboards – Much like this year, every title had some clever play on words with “Smart” in the title. “Come get SMARTer” and “It doesn’t take a genius to be SMART” were all over the convention handout. Of equal annoyance was the amount of bright royal blue t-shirts that seemed to be worn by every attendee in an effort to win a Smartboard for their classroom.
2001-3 – Digital Cameras – There was a three-year span in the early 2000’s where digital cameras and storytelling were all the rage. While the ideas behind digital storytelling still hold merit, it’s hard to find a session on digital cameras offered these days. (Although Ben Grey held an excellent one in the Web 2.0 lounge this year)
1993 – Palm Pilots – Although they had been on the market for few years, the Palms really started taking off in education around 1993. Again, because of Ed Tech’s overwhelming need to pun everything, titles in the 1993 catalog including knee-slapping phrases like “Learning in the Palm of your Hand” and “Melts in your Brain, not in your Palm” and my favorite “Palms – You’re Soaking In It says Madge”
1987 – TI Calculators – A dark year in the history of the conference as low attendance yields gave way to crazy contests and giveaways. One of the least memorable contests was seeing how many words you could spell with numbers upside-down using a calculator. While a little known Aldine ISD tech coordinator named Lori Gracey would win the competition, it would take years for her to show her face in the convention after proudly touting her winning word – “5318008.07734”.
1984 – Mimeographs – Spawned by the pop-culture madness of the movie Teachers, Mimeographs were the go-to events at the conference. It was common to find standing room only to many of these sessions that were held in air-tight rooms in order to keep the mimeograph ink-smell inside. Sadly, this would be the only year the conference would end before Friday, as most of the attendees walked around in zombie-like states from the hallucinogenic smell of said ink.
1980 – Overhead Projectors – The first year of the TCEA Convention was a big year for overhead projectors. They had changed the face of education and many districts often fought over what was their best use in the classroom. Should kids write on them? How do we find funding out of state allotments for those vis-a-vis pens? What kind of insurance do we need to replace lightbulbs that can run in upwards of 900 degrees? Important questions but as you can see, the convention has come a long way.
Stay tuned for TCEA 2012 Recap Part 2: Things Just Got Pinteresting
(yes, I know I just used a pun…ugh)