Bookshare staffers and the Accessible Books for Texas team recently attended TCEA, a leading education conference in the beautiful and musical city of Austin, Texas. This year’s theme was “Get Inspired!” and you could tell from the energy in the hallways that educators were primed to do so! In this blog, we’re sharing our favorite learning experiences and photos with you.
The Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) is a member-based organization devoted to the use and support of instructional technology in PreK-12. It was founded in 1980 and is affiliated with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), which provides a two-way channel of information throughout the world.
This year, attendance was above 11,000 with over 8,000 educators representing Texas and school systems across our nation. This infographic provides some statistics about the types of educators who took the time out of their busy schedules to attend presentations about the latest technologies, resources, and best practices to enhance K-12 learning.
Attendees heard keynotes on the important topic of bullying by Rosalind Wiseman and a moving personal story by John Quiñones, an ABC News correspondent. John shared his life’s story growing up poor in the barrio as a child of migrant farm workers. He could not speak English and never believed he would attend college until a high school English teacher entered him into a federal program called Upward Bound.
Busy educators also traversed the huge exhibit hall to see product demonstrations and pick up information for colleagues. Our Bookshare booth was hopping most of the time with lots of visits from teachers, administrators, librarians, and IT professionals who wanted to know more about digital accessible books and how to deliver accessible education materials (AEM) to students with print disabilities. Many were awed by the growing number of titles now in the library collection—well above 227,000.
Here are the top three notes we took away from the conference:
- Many schools and districts still need to learn about the accessible materials that are available through Bookshare.
- Texas educators are eager to schedule on-site trainings with our ABT team.
- Educators serving students with dyslexia need resources such as those offered on the ABT website.
This year’s TCEA also marked a first! An entire day devoted to an Assistive Technology Academy for educators interested in special education topics, plus another successful hosting of the AT Playground—a fun and inspired hangout area, where educators, parents, and advocates participate in hands-on training on devices and technologies to serve students with disabilities.
We send our thanks to TCEA and a round of applause to the staff of the Texas Region 4 Education Service Center who facilitated the AT Academy and Playground. You made this experience fun, rewarding, and comfy with those purple beanbag chairs!
We also send a special shout-out and thank you to our friends at Bridging Apps, the Greater Houston Easter Seals organization, for publishing this story about Connor Meadows, a Bookshare member.
Connor is an extraordinary teenager who uses an iPad with Bookshare’s portable reading app, Read2Go. You can check out this recent educational review of the app on their website.
There you have it, our 2014 TCEA roundup!
We know that not everyone can attend conferences, so we encourage you to keep your feedback coming. You can do this by commenting directly on this blog, contacting us on the ABT website, or sharing on Facebook.
About Accessible Books for Texas (ABT)
Through funding from the Texas Education Agency, Benetech delivers custom accessible educational materials and face-to-face Bookshare training to educators, parents, and students throughout Texas. The team also applies dedicated resources to Texas membership, including answers to support questions and Texas book requests. Anyone interested in a similar partnership may contact Christine Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.