April's Top Two #TCEA Takeaways!
This year's TCEA conference was my best experience out of the last four years that I've attended. I was inspired by two tools from my two favorite sessions. Since the conference, I've worked with my teachers to use both with students, and it's been a blast! The two presenters were what really made these my absolute favorite takeaways. Shout out to Jennifer Fee and Hal Speed!
eBird and BirdSleuth
Did you know your students can become citizen scientists just by looking for birds around your school? eBird is a digital platform where your classes can submit bird observations to a global database that is used to study biology and the environment. Before you start watching for birds with your students, you can use the incredible tools built into eBird to study maps, graphs, and charts. Students can make inferences about patterns and analyze real-world data. If you make an account for your class, your students can submit their data to be used by others!
BirdSleuth is an amazing set of curriculum resources you can use with students to get them excited about nature, science, and birds. What an amazing way to learn about food webs, habitats, biomes, adaptations, evolution, camouflage.... the list goes on!
Jennifer Fee, manager of K-12 educational programs for Cornell University, lead the session. She made it fun and exciting to dig into these awesome digital resources. I'm so glad we met! Be sure to follow @BirdSleuth on Twitter!
I'm SUCH a Micro:bit fangirl! I got to meet Hal Speed, the head of the North American branch of the Micro:bit EDU organization. I've used Micro:bits before, but Hal showed us some really cool products and upcoming projects. He also gave out Bits to all of the participants! Brad and I attended this one together, so we ended up with two.
Micro:bits are tiny computers with 25 red LEDs, sensors, buttons, and more. Basically, your students can write programs (I like MakeCode from Microsoft) and have it come to life on this little (adorable) device. They're only $17 for a complete kit! They work with Chromebooks, iPads, Android, Windows, Mac, you name it.
I hope that more classrooms across Texas and the USA will welcome Micro:bits into their lessons and makerspaces. You can follow the Micro:bit EDU organization on Twitter @microbit_edu, as well as @HalSpeed.
There was so much more that I learned and saw at TCEA this year, but I hope you check out these two super-cool resources!