At the Texas Computer Education Association's 29th annual conference earlier this month, educators heard an impassioned plea to open their students' eyes to the world around them–and were urged to change their approach to instruction to take full advantage of 21st-century learning tools. Despite the gloomy economy, TCEA reported a record attendance of 8,500 educators from all over the country. Hundreds of exhibitors also showcased their latest ed-tech products and services in an exhibit hall that boasted more than 900 individual booths.
The conference opened on February 4 with a dynamic, student-produced video demonstrating how technology is transforming education and empowering kids at Klein Independent School District's Krimmel Intermediate School. Set to pulsating music (used with permission under the Creative Commons license), the video captured students using tablet PCs to record themselves speaking in foreign-language classes, so they can replay the audio and practice their pronunciation. It also showed them collaborating on projects, doing research online, and presenting what they've learned. After screening the video for the thousands of educators attending the three-day conference in Austin, Candace Threadgill, vice president of the convention, went live to Krimmel students through a real-time videoconferencing feed.