I’ve mentioned on the podcast a few times that I have a book releasing soon but it dawned on me that I never really made an official announcement. So in order to keep this blog post short, peep the video below! Get your skillets and spatulas ready!
On October 28th, 2023 I attended the 13th Annual TCCA Conference. This conference unfolded with an electrifying twist, taking inspiration from the thrill of Friday the 13th. It was a showcase of educational technology drawing educators, tech enthusiasts, and pioneers alike, transforming a typical conference into an immersive, costumed extravaganza. There were butterflies, Freddie Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Pennywise, unicorns, and other costumes that would literally stop people in their tracks.
What makes this conference extra special is that it is free, lunch is provided, it’s on a Saturday so no need for admin approvals or sub plans, and it really brings some top-notch presenters and speakers. Just because it is free does not mean participants are getting a watered down conference.
As the largest free edtech conference in the Lone Star State, it provided a bustling platform for educators to explore, share, and collaborate. My mission? To capture the pulse of innovation by interviewing diverse presenters and participants for my podcast, EdTech Bites. I set up shop in my own private podcasting area and got to it with the help of our TCCA episodes sponsor Wakelet.
Wakelet has been changing the game when it comes to student portfolios. The platform is helping students across the US showcase tangible evidence of their success in creative and personalized ways. Wakelet portfolios boost college readiness, and help students share their skills and achievements in ways that go beyond just test scores. For teachers, Wakelet is a powerful tool for sharing learning resources, creating lesson plans, and boosting collaboration in your classes. Help your learners redefine student success, and outshine their test scores with Wakelet Portfolios. Head to wakelet.com/portfolios to learn more, and sign up for a free account today.
Throughout the day, I engaged with nine remarkable individuals, each offering a distinct perspective and expertise. Our discussions covered the intricacies of instructional coaching to the nuanced strategies for ESL students. The topics were great, but not as much as the guests. I chatted with Tisha Poncio, Jeni Long, Sallee Clark, Tony Vincent, and others to cover these much-needed topics. Being that my show is all about chatting edtech while breaking bread together, I gave each guest their own bag of donut holes while we chatted. I did that at TCCA 2022 as well and will keep this tradition going for as long as I can continue to cover this conference.
As the curtains closed on this edtech extravaganza, I departed with a wealth of insights and a renewed enthusiasm for the future of education. TCCA 2023 wasn’t just a conference; it was a celebration of innovation. This experience reminded me of how important human connection is. Chatting with people in person while breaking bread is one of the most primitive and important things we can do and I had the opportunity to do this with innovators and experts at TCCA!
All Episodes Are Available On Your Favorite Podcast App. Click On Each Image To View Our Conversation!
Google Classroom stands out as a powerful platform that streamlines communication, assignment management, and student engagement. As teachers gear up for a new school year, one aspect that should not be overlooked is the organization of their virtual classrooms. Just as a clean and clutter-free physical classroom promotes a conducive learning environment, starting the school year off with a pristine Google Classroom layout is equally vital. Let’s delve into the importance of cultivating an organized digital space, exploring how it not only enhances the teacher’s workflow but also fosters a positive and focused learning experience for students. Let’s uncover the numerous benefits of a well-organized Google Classroom and discover actionable tips to kickstart the year with confidence and efficiency. Lucky for you, I’ve created a video tutorial to show you how to do so.
In this video, I will show you how to supercharge your Google Classroom setup with an in-depth tutorial. Learn 4 “How To” strategies that will boost efficiency, engagement, and organization as you kickstart the school year. Whether you’re a tech-savvy educator or new to the Google Classroom, this step-by-step guide will empower you to setup Google Classroom like a pro. Let’s make this academic year the best one yet! Like, subscribe, and share with your fellow educators. Make sure you comment, like, share, and subscribe for more EdTech and Food content. Buen Provecho! 🍎🎓
I still can’t believe that ISTE Live 23 in Philadelphia was two weeks ago. It feels like it was just yesterday! It was an amazing edtech experience I learned a lot about the latest trends in edtech, networked with other educators from around the world, and even hosted a walking food tour sponsored by Lumio.
This trip was extra special for me because my family and I went together. It was a family vacation in Philadelphia while ISTE was in town! With that being said, I didn’t do many evening events, meetups, or karaoke because that was family time. However, I did participate in the EdTech Poetry Slam hosted by Carl Hooker and Adam Phyall. Carl Hooker reached out to me about it and I agreed. I ran it by the family first to make sure they were cool with it and of course, they were. What can I say, I have a pretty cool family?!
Sunday, June 25th was the official ISTE kickoff with sessions but that night was MY own kickoff as well. I hosted the official EdTech Bites Walking Food Tour in Philadelphia. This one was sponsored by my friends up north, Lumio. 35 extra special friends, my family, and I got to hit three restaurants and taste what Philly had to offer. We hit Joe’s Pizza Philly for cheesesteaks, East Coast pizza, and their extra special Grandmom Pizza. That was a favorite of many! After that, we hit Villekebabs And Platters for some authentic Afghani food. We dined on Chicken Munto, Potato Bolani, and Borani Banjan. When I say it was an explosion of flavors, I mean IT WAS AN EXPLOSION OF FLAVORS! For many, this was their first time trying Afghani food and it left quite an impression on people, including my family! Lastly, we hit up Federal Donuts for some Korean fried chicken and donuts. How can you go wrong with fried chicken and donuts?! It was one heck of a night that encompassed what I love to do, talking edtech while breaking bread together. It was extra special to see strangers sitting next to each other laughing, discussing exchanging information, and partaking in perhaps one of the most human experiences ever, eating together. Witnessing this is something I cannot put into a blog post nevertheless knowing that I was the one who put this together for everyone to experience. Peep the video below for a recap of the food tour.
While at the ISTE conference, I got to chat and press record with 23 unique individuals behind the microphone. The majority of my time at ISTE was podcasting but it’s one of the things I love to do. And I had the opportunity to do it in person in Philadelphia! The conversations I had with individuals were real, unique, and personal. We discussed tools, new technologies, and even our own human experiences. The conversations I had with non-edtech companies were graciously sponsored by Propello. Some of these guests I had never met before and some have been on the show virtually but never in person. And this is why I’ve stopped doing the virtual interviews. The energy we had together in person is something that cannot be duplicated over Zoom, Streamyard, or any other virtual platform. This solidified my reason to strictly do in person interviews for my show. This ISTE podcasting experience helped create some awesome conversations that included background noise, chatter, and laughs without that weird feedback you get when you’re recording on a virtual platform. I even took donut holes for the guests so we could break bread (literally) in person! These episodes are below so you can hear them for yourself. You can also check them out on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Overall, my experience at ISTE was amazing. I networked with other educators, had some great conversations doing what I love to do, presented to other coaches, tasted a bit of what Philly has to offer with some amazing new and old friends, and most importantly, I got to hang out with my family. My boys are high schoolers and they got a chance to see me in my element. They got to see the power of networking, educators, technology, and food. There’s so much negativity on the internet and Social Media that many times, that’s all our children get to see. This time, they got to see the positivity of bringing people together and seeing people post such positive messages about the food tour. They got to see their Mother and Father holding hands while walking down the streets of Philly after a successful food tour. This is why I do what I do. I love to connect with people and talk about great things we can do for our students but what good is that if it never trickles down to our own children? They are high school students and they got to see and hear other educators talk passionately about their teaching, their passions, and their “why”. Not only that… they got to see their pops get on stage at the EdTech Poetry Slam presented by K12 Leaders and Flocabulary! I made myself vulnerable for a moment after a long day of podcasting, presenting, and walking in the rain to finally make it on the stage and talk my trash about something that’s been bugging me for 7 years! So to sum up ISTE… was it awesome… yes! Was it even better with my family…hell yes! Was it exhausting…YES! Was it worth it…Without a doubt! So I’ll end this blog post like I ended my poem at the poetry slam:
Ladies and gentlemen, I hope that I was able to knock it out the park with my Mexican bat,And if you think “fajitas and queso” are authentic Mexican food… cash me outside, how ‘bout dat!!!
ISTE Podcast Episodes
Experiencing the Best of Edtech: My Time at TCEA and the Walking Food Tour with Nearpod
As a podcaster and educator, I recently attended the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Conference in San Antonio, Texas. This annual event is one of the largest in the edtech industry and offers a great opportunity to learn about the latest trends and best practices in educational technology.
At TCEA, I had the opportunity to interview a wide range of participants, including edtech companies, speakers, and attendees. I was able to discuss various topics such as the integration of technology into teaching and learning, the use of technology in the classroom, and the future of edtech. Additionally, I presented a jam packed session showing educators different vocabulary retention strategies. The session participants were AWESOME!
One of the highlights of my TCEA experience was hosting a walking food tour with Nearpod. This tour was held on Sunday, January 29th, in downtown San Antonio and provided an opportunity for attendees to explore the city, meet new people, and enjoy some delicious food. It was a great way to kick off the TCEA Conference and break bread with like minded educators.
Attending TCEA was a valuable experience for educators who are looking to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in educational technology. Whether you are an administrator, teacher, or tech expert, attending this conference can provide you with the knowledge, skills, and connections needed to effectively integrate technology into teaching and learning. So, if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend attending TCEA in person and taking part in fun activities like the Walking Food Tour with Nearpod. And trust me… there WILL be another Walking Food Tour at the next TCEA!
If you haven’t subscribed to the podcast yet, do so NOW! And if you haven’t subscribed to the YouTube channel yet, do so NOW! You’re missing out on great EdTech and Food content. Peep the TCEA episodes below and remember that great conversations happen when we break bread with great people!
Ep. 139: zSpace w/ Ron Rheinheimer And Sheena Shoemaker
Ep. 146: From Boring To Brilliant: Using Genially to Capture Students’ Attention With Zinnia Bayardo
Ep. 147: Destination PD: Redefining Professional Development for Teachers With Melissa Adams and Jennifer Crook
Ep. 148: Paperless Is Not A Pedagogy With Alice Keeler
Ep. 149: AI in Education: How ChatGPT Can Help Teachers Save Time With Dr. Monica Burns
Ep. 150: What’s New In Computer Science With Shaina Glass
As an educator and podcaster, I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) in New Orleans, Louisiana. This annual event is one of the biggest in the edtech industry and provides a unique opportunity to learn about the latest trends and best practices in educational technology.
At FETC, I had the chance to interview a variety of participants, including representatives from up and coming edtech companies, speakers, and attendees. The topics discussed included the integration of technology into teaching and learning, the use of technology in the classroom, the future of edtech, and food! Additionally, I attended several workshops and sessions, where I learned about new technologies and best practices for integrating technology into the classroom.
One of the key takeaways from my experience at FETC was the importance of the human connection. While there is a wealth of information available online, attending conferences in person provides a unique opportunity to network and make connections with other educators and industry experts. This cannot be done through virtual events. The content may come across but it is not just about the content, it is about the human connection. Additionally, attending conferences in person allows for a more immersive experience, where attendees can see and experience the latest technology first-hand and learn from the experts.
Attending edtech conferences such as FETC is a valuable experience for educators who are looking to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in educational technology. Whether you are an administrator, teacher, or tech expert, attending this conference can provide you with the knowledge, skills, and connections needed to effectively integrate technology into teaching and learning. So, if you have the opportunity, I highly recommend attending FETC in person. It happens to be one of my favorite conferences and a great place to connect with like-minded individuals. My only gripe is that I wished it had been in Orlando again this year. Don’t get me wrong, I love New Orleans and all it has to offer. I do however also love Orlando and the fact that we could make a Disney World trip out of it!
I hope this blog post provides a useful overview of my experience at FETC and the importance of educators attending this conference in person. Check out all of the FETC episodes linked below. And if you haven’t subscribed to the show yet, do so ASAP. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about upcoming conference coverage, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Buen provecho!
Ep. 132: Keeping Our Students Safe With Linewize – EdTech Bites Podcast
Ep. 133: LG CreateBoard With Vicky Sanville – EdTech Bites Podcast
Ep. 134: Parentsquare With Dr. Chad Stevens – EdTech Bites Podcast
Ep. 135: Intelitek And Robotics With Graham Celine – EdTech Bites Podcast
Ep. 136: ShareTheBoard With Martin Demkowicz – EdTech Bites Podcast
Ep. 137: Propello With Brandi And Amanda – EdTech Bites Podcast
Ep. 138: Tutor Me With Kyle Baker – EdTech Bites Podcast
Ep. 140: AI In Education With Matt Miller – EdTech Bites Podcast
Ep. 141: Let's Unpack FETC With Jason Denard – EdTech Bites Podcast
Ep. 142: Educator Wellness With Mandy Froehlich – EdTech Bites Podcast
Ep. 143: Chromebooks In The Classroom With John Sowash – EdTech Bites Podcast
Ep. 144: DigCit Academy With Marialice Curran And Eugenia Tamez – EdTech Bites Podcast
Ep. 188 | Shapegrams With Tony Vincent: By The End, You Will Have Groan! – EdTech Bites Podcast
And just like that… TCEA is a wrap! What a fun conference with even more interesting weather.
Walking Food Tour!
I had the opportunity to host the first ever Walking Food Tour with 30 awesome people thanks to Nearpod. We collaborated to make this happen and bring people together through food. I’ve said it over and over on the show, “the best conversations happen when we break bread with great people.” I was able to help make this happen at TCEA 2023. We had authentic tacos, burrata, pizza, meatballs, fried chicken, fried pickles, fried green tomatoes, and a sticky bun! More importantly, I got to witness strangers breaking bread together, laughing, and connecting on social media. At one point, I almost teared up because this is what it’s all about. My wife, two boys, and brother in law were by my side the entire side and got a chance to see me in my element. I cannot express how special this event was and how much it means to me. So you can expect to be my thing at all conferences I attend. Food tours in different cities with educators!
While at TCEA, I also had the chance to chat with presenters and attendees. These conversations are all being released soon on the podcast. I’ll also be releasing video clips of our conversations throughout the coming weeks. This too is something special. I don’t like calling these “interviews” because interviews tend to be one sided and have a rather rhythmic flow to them. Instead, I call them what they are; conversations. Conversations have a natural flow and don’t rely on questions to prompt the guests. Although I didn’t get a chance to have a conversation with everyone I wanted to, I did get a chance to highlight some special guests and what they are contributing to our educational space.
If that wasn’t enough, I also presented ways to “Slay Vocabulary With Your Students”. This was a packed session with standing room only. I shared 5 strategies teachers could use at anytime for vocabulary retention. The feedback was incredible and we had many laughs during the session. There were very creative drawings and turkey basters that made me blush. If you were in the session, YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT 😂!
Overall, this was an awesome experience. That’s even taking into account the freezing weather I had to drive through to get to the conference! I live in San Antonio so I didn’t have the luxury of walking outside of my hotel and crossing the street to get there. It was a struggle! I almost split my wig getting into my truck! It was worth it though. An awesome conference experience doing what I love to do. I got to bring people together while breaking bread with them, hear stories from other educators, and share a bit of my expertise with other like-minded educators. I honestly cannot wait for next year’s TCEA. And if you thought this food tour was something… wait until next year! Buen provecho!
Peep The Video Below 👇🏼
Chances are that you’re reading this in your pajamas, during the last days of your summer break, and with your chin resting on your left hand! If that last statement was correct, give me a shout out on social media! Regardless of what you’re watching or doing, I know you’re thinking about the next school year. One of the things teachers need to do at the start of every school year is to collect and organize parent contact information. Your district’s Student Information System has all of this for you but not as organized as you would like it. Not only that, it’s probably behind a portal that requires authentication and is not very mobile friendly. No worries, Google Forms, Google Sheets, and I have your back!
In episode 111 of The EdTech Bites Podcast, I chatted with Shelly Sanchez Terrell regarding parent communication. One of the tips I gave in this episode was for teachers to collect all of your student parent contact information through the use of a Google Form. Upon submitting, all of this data will go to a Google Sheet that can be easily retrieved from any internet-enabled device. But why just talk about it when I can create it for YOU so you can have your own editable copy of this form! So here you go!
Step 1: Let’s Make A Copy Of This Form!
Before you make a copy of this form, make sure you are in the Google account you want this form to live in. More than likely, it will be your work account and not a personal one. Once you are in this account, CLICK HERE and you will be forced to make a copy of the form. Go ahead and click “Make a copy”. This form will now be in your Google Drive.
Step 2: Let’s Make Some Edits To This Form!
Check out the form and read through the description, title, and questions. Make any edits you would like to make. Another thing to think about as well is the confirmation message. In other words, what do you want your parents to read once they have submitted the form? Some people like to put something along the lines of “Thank you for your submission. I look forward to working with you for your child’s success this year.” To find this setting, click on the Settings tab of the form and click on Presentation.
Step 3: Let’s Make A Spreadsheet For The Data!
Once you’ve made your edits and you are happy with your form, click on the “Responses” tab. There will be a green Google Sheet icon on the top-right hand corner. Click on that and select “Create a new spreadsheet.” Make sure it has the same name as the form followed by (Responses) at the end.
Step 4: Let’s Send This Form!
Both your form and your spreadsheet are ready to go! Now what? How do we get this information to parents? There are a couple of different ways to do this. Before doing this, you need to make sure that your settings are correct. Click on the Settings tab of the form and toggle what you want on and off.
If you plan on putting this on a site or landing page, you will need to get the URL for this form. DO NOT COPY AND PASTE THE URL FOR THE FORM YOU ARE EDITING. THIS WILL GIVE RECIPIENTS ACCESS TO EDIT THE BACK END OF THE FORM. Instead, you will click on the purple Send button on the top-right hand corner and choose the hyperlink icon. You can now copy this link or shorten it as well. In addition, you can paste the link in another tab and create a QR code for it. This works really well if you’d like to post this in your classroom during Meet The Teacher night.
You’re all set! All you have to do now is wait for responses. The beauty of this is that the data can be filtered and organized however YOU want it to be. And, you can view it easily from your Smartphone without having to log in to a portal with 52 factor authentication. Enjoy, spread the word, and have a great school year.
Michael Scott had pretzel day and I… have donut day! Whether you spell it “donut” or “doughnut,” they’re all the same! Fried dough rings that I actually prefer to call “power rings.” Some national chains are giving these diet essentials away on June 3rd, 2022. If you prefer the local shop around the corner from you, check their social media accounts because more than likely they are celebrating this day as well. With that being said, there is no reason you shouldn’t score yourself a free power ring on National Donut Day 2022. And if you don’t like the center of the donut, just eat around it! 🤣
A free glazed donut on June 3rd. What more is there to say? But there’s more! You can also score a dozen for free when you purchase a dozen at regular price. So take it easy tomorrow and sleep in a bit. If you show up a little late to work, be the hero and walk in with a couple of dozen donuts. You can either be “the one who was late” or “the one who brought donuts.” It’s a win-win scenario! Click here for more information.
If you are a Dunkin’ coffee drinker, then this offer is for you. Pick up your free donut with the purchase of any beverage. This offer is hard to beat because what’s a donut without something to dunk it in?! Dunkin’ will also be releasing National Donut Day content on their Social Media so make sure you are following them on Instagram and TikTok. Click here for more information.
If you are fortunate enough to have a Duck Donuts around you, there are giving away one cinnamon sugar donut to every customer, in-store only. And there is no purchase necessary! Duck Donuts will also be choosing 5 “lucky ducks” to win a free dozen donuts. To be entered, you must do the following:
- Follow @duckdonuts on Instagram
- Post the most creative, crave-able and beautiful-looking donut photos June 2-5
- Tag @duckdonuts and use #MyDuckDonuts in the caption
It’s that time of year again. State testing is just around the corner. As a matter of fact, some districts (especially here in Texas) have already started the STAAR state tests. Our students come to school nervous, scared, and anxious to sit through hours of state testing. For some of our students, this will be the first time they take a high stakes state test in a classroom in two years.
This is simple to do. Click here to view the original topic I’ve created in my Flipgrid account. Make a copy of this to your own library. When you edit the details, make sure you Moderate Responses and Comments and set a guest password, this way parents can record their videos (Watch the video below). Once they’ve submitted their videos, show the videos to your students or drop the link to their parent’s specific video to them. This is a great way to bring parents into the classroom with technology. Enjoy the responses that come in and have a great Teacher Appreciation Week!