Deena Kimmel, Marketing Specialist

TCEA 2018 Recap: Not All EdTech is Created Equal

Believe it or not, the last of the “Big Four” winter conferences has come to an end. After FETC, BETT, and ATIA, you’d think we’d be out of acronyms and would have learned all there is to know about edtech and assistive technology. But, it’s not true! TCEA, the Texas Computer Education Association Conference and Exposition, was an incredible conference that gave us even more insight into the latest edtech trends and best practices.

Though it’s challenging to come up with one common theme that spanned across all sessions and panel discussions, there was one takeaway that stuck with us: not all edtech is created equal.

This takeaway came from Thomas Murray, Director of Innovation for Future Ready Schools, during his TCEA session: “Future Ready Schools: Preparing Students for Success.” As Tom explained, just because it’s digital doesn’t mean it’s good. EdTech needs to promote three things to actually work in the classroom and create a personal and authentic learning experience for students. These three things are:

  1. Interactive learning;
  2. Exploration, design, and creation; and
  3. The right blend of teachers and technology

As we made our way to other sessions, this theme continued to emerge. In a Blended Learning session led by Charles Cooper and Shelly Shaw from ESC Region 11, they stressed the importance of incorporating edtech into the classroom that is purposeful. Blended Learning isn’t just about integrating technology and calling it a day. It’s about finding technology that -  combined with other, more traditional styles of learning (i.e. teacher-led lessons) - can increase engagement, personalize the experience, and help students make authentic connections with the subject matter.

Even when it came to learning about technology in the math classroom, Fern Johnson, Instructional Technology Specialist at Plano ISD, highlighted EdTech tools that promoted interaction, exploration, and creation. For example, she has her students record themselves explaining how they solved a problem. In doing this, students are making the learning interactive, exploring the concept more fully by having to explain their thought process out loud, and creating something that they can make their own; building a more authentic learning experience.

At Texthelp, we work hard to ensure that all of our edtech incorporates features and supports that are meaningful, encourage exploration and engagement, and allow for teachers and tech to work together to provide the best learning experience for their students. As we continue to develop our current tools and design new ones, we will always ask ourselves: “does this help create a personal and authentic learning experience for the student?”

To learn more about our suite of edtech solutions, please visit And don’t forget to share with us your key takeaways from TCEA 2018 in the comments section below!


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