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The new semester is off to a fast start, and I've got some amazing things in store for 2020. I am almost finished constructing the Google Sites page that I will use ass the hub of my classroom for the foreseeable future. It is aptly titled The Hero City STEAM Lab. I have also doubled the amount of kids in my broadcast group in anticipation of offering a high school credit digital media course next year. (CAPS LOCK ISN'T ENOUGH TO EXPRESS MY EXCITEMENT ABOUT THAT.)

TCEA was a great success, and I was able to share the passion for educational technology with so many. I'll be blogging about it soon, and creating some new resources with the help of some other tech gurus I connected with at the convention.

The Captioned Life Podcast

Lastly, I'm still doing doing a podcast with a few friends that focuses on how comics reflect and impact our society as a whole. Since we are all educators, we will often take a special look at how we can use comics in the classroom. Check out our conversation on the greatest comic couples of all time in a special Valentines episode.

If you'd like to give us a listen, find The Captioned Life on SoundCloud or Spotify!

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To celebrate Black History month, please check out this special episode of Nerd Notes from 2018. It features some amazing kids telling the story of Black History here in Texas.

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February 8, 2020: Reflecting on TCEA-Year Three

I returned from the TCEA Annual Convention in Austin late last night, and I woke up bursting with new ideas that need attention and organization. Because I am undertaking a new challenge in the fall by teaching a Principles of Digital Media class, I spent most of my time attending sessions that would help me prepare for that and add tools to my Ed-Tech toolbox. I was so encouraged to find sessions with real classroom innovators who were not just sharing their philosophy, but also their curriculum. Many of these session leaders came armed with activities and ideas that will allow me to hit the ground running. I am even collaborating with a group of junior high digital media teachers to stream line some of our lessons and create something that can be shared with new and veteran teachers.

The generosity of others was very refreshing and I am so thankful at their willingness to share. I think that certain people are only interested in how making connections can help them further their own careers, and don't consider what they can do for others or even each other. I know that there will be opportunities to create something great because of the friends I made, and look forward to collaborating in the future. I was even able to spend time with friends and former colleagues at lunch and after hours events that helped reinvigorate my spirit and reminded my that I am definitely in the right career field.

The other big ah-ha moment that I came away with happened after presenting on Friday. I now have a renewed desire to push myself outside of my comfort zone to use new technology or help develop ideas for grades other than junior high. By presenting a poster session, I was able to have one-on-one conversations with educators. Many of them loved the ideas I was sharing, but were curious how they could adapt an activity for early elementary. These are things that I wouldn't have considered without talking to them because I don't teach that level, and my though process for creating resources is usually focused on meeting my needs in the classroom. I have some excellent ideas that I will be sharing soon that will force me to adopt a different teaching style for a new audience, and I will share those as they come.

Lastly, TCEA organizers did a great job bringing Gerry Brooks back. He is so much more than just a funny internet personality. He's a great principal and a dynamic speaker. His words on leadership at TCEA in 2019 helped shape my growth as an educator in the year since, and I am constantly thinking about my personal culture and the way I interact with others. He was also extremely gracious to pose for hundreds of pictures.

I am already looking forward to Dallas in 2021.