Can’t-Miss STEAM Sessions and Speakers at the 2020 TCEA Convention

Educators, librarians, technology directors, principals, and other education professionals will be heading to the 2020 Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Convention and Exposition at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas on February 3-7. There, they will have access to over 1,000 workshops and presentations where they can discover new ideas and insights for improving school and classroom environments and instruction.

For attendees looking to specifically learn more about STEAM, coding, and robotics, the convention will have plenty of learning opportunities for them to take advantage of. Here are some of the sessions we’re looking forward to attending and the speakers we’re excited to hear.

10 Anticipated Sessions in the STEAM Track

There continues to be an increasing emphasis on implementing STEAM, robotics, and coding activities in classrooms in order to generate interest among students for these increasingly important subjects. For teachers, this means finding creative strategies to incorporate these learning tracks into their curriculums.

The sessions at the TCEA Convention will provide teachers with ideas and insights for doing just that, while also allowing them to brush up on their skills and learn new ones.

Building and Sustaining an After-School STEM Program

Monday, February 3 from 9:45 a.m. to 10:35 a.m.

Room 12B

Many schools are starting clubs that immerse students in a wide range of activities and real-world projects in STEM subjects. No matter how enthusiastic teachers and students are about the STEM club, building one and sustaining participation can be challenging. Samuel Saenz, science department chair at Houston Community College, will present a 3-step process, “Hook, Line and Sinker,” that aims to help participants build the program in their schools.

Humanities + Animation + Electronics = Humanitronics

Monday, February 3 from 11 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.

Room 15

The practice of using animatronics in the classroom, where students program mechanical puppets to demonstrate learning, is a growing trend in many schools. For attendees who aren’t sure how animatronics will fit into their lessons, this session with Trinity Valley School’s computer science teacher Abbie Cornelius and director of computer science Ginger Alford, Ph.D. will answer a lot of questions.

Need to Teach Coding and Can’t Code? No Problem!

Monday, February 3 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:20 p.m.

Room 12B

School districts are starting to require that teachers include coding in their curriculums. But what about the teachers that don’t know how to code? This session by Jesus Blouvan with Topeka Public Schools will introduce attendees to coding and start them on their path to incorporating it into their curriculums. 

Robots Are Better Than Cupcakes: Creating a Girls STEM Club

Monday, February 3 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Palazzo Poster 8

It’s no secret that there is a lack of women in STEM jobs. Reversing this trend starts in the schools where educators can encourage girls to become interested in those subjects. Creating a girls-only STEM club is one way to get them involved and boost their confidence. Dr. Stephanie Hendrith, assistant professor for the elementary science and instructional technology at Murray State University, shares tips and suggestions from personal experience on how to start a club. 

Robotics in Small Town, U.S.A.

Tuesday, February 4 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Room 12B

Building a robotics program in a small school can be especially challenging because of a lack of funding, personnel, and resources. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Dekalb Independent School District technology teacher, Lacey Mullins, and first grade teacher Tracy Triplett explain how they make their robotics program work from elementary through middle and high school grades.

Make It Theirs: Design an Esports Club Your Youth Will Love and Learn From

Tuesday, February 4 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Palazzo Breakout Zone 1

Using Esports, competitions via video games, in classrooms is a concept that can be especially beneficial for STEM teachers. They can apply STEM skills to video gaming to encourage student engagement in activities related to these subjects. Kevin Brown, Esports program specialist for the North America Scholastic Esports Federation, shares tips and resources to help educators leverage gaming in the classroom.  

STEAMING Strong in Dual Language

Tuesday, February 4 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Room 7

Reaching dual language learners can be a challenge. Incorporating STEAM activities in the classroom can help teachers engage those students and enrich their learning to boost academic performance. Teachers Cynthia Barron, Claudia Gutierrez, and Ginger Aleman from Wedgeworth Elementary, a school with a strong bilingual program, will share some practical activities that attendees can mirror to incorporate STEAM activities for their DLLs.

I Felt What He Felt: Learning Empathy Across The Curriculum With Robots

Wednesday, February 5 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Palazzo Breakout Zone 2

In this session, Amanda Trowbridge, a librarian in the Irving Independent School District, and Audrey Wilson-Youngblood, a librarian in the Keller Independent School District, explore whether machines have the capability to teach students empathy. They will lead hands-on demonstrations using robotics products to show attendees how they can be used in this capacity in the classroom.

Inspiring PreK-6 Youth to “Find Their Inner STEMologist” Using Tools Like Osmo, SnapCircuits & More

Wednesday, February 5 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Palazzo Poster 10

There are so many STEM tool options for teachers who want to incorporate these activities in their classrooms that it can be difficult to know where to start. Rachna Mathur, founder of STEMology Club, whose mission is to help kids discover their “Inner STEMologoist,” will present a hands-on display of tools such as Osmo, SnapCircuits, Sphero, and Scratch Jr. for attendees to explore and learn ways to incorporate them into their curriculums. 

Want Student Achievement to Soar? Code Drones In The Classroom

Thursday, February 6 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Room 4C

Using drones in the classroom may seem far-fetched, but it is a new reality that can expand learning opportunities for students. Julie Redden, technology department chair for Deer Park High School, and Antonio Bernabe, computer science and robotics teacher at the same school, will teach attendees how to code drones and integrate them into middle and high school technology and computer science curriculums.

5 Must-See Presenters For “STEAM-spiration”

In addition to educational sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to listen to featured presenters as they tell their stories to inspire educators. Conference-goers who want to learn more about tech in the classroom won’t want to miss the presentations from these advocates and enthusiasts.

Jamie Donally

Jamie Donally is a math teacher turned instructional technology expert. In that role, she provides staff development and training on innovative classroom technology. As part of her love of building connections, she launched the Global Maker Day event which brings together teachers and classrooms through YouTube Live so they can share their technology projects, learn about new technologies, and participate in creative challenges. She also launched the #ARVRinEDU online community that offers resources and insights for implementing technology in the classroom.

Michael Cohen

Known as the Tech Rabbi, Michael Cohen describes himself as a “designer and technologist turned educator.” Cohen serves as the director of innovation for Yeshiva University of Los Angeles Boys School where he manages and teaches at the Schlesinger STEAM and Entrepreneurship Center. He is also a national speaker, author, and “creative instigator,” working with schools and educators to create opportunities for students to use technology and digital skills in order to ask questions and solve problems. He believes this develops and enhances their creative confidence.

Eric Curts

Veteran educator Eric Curts runs Control Alt Achieve, a blog where he shares information and insights on using technology to transform education. He is an authorized Google Education Trainer and Innovator who provides Google Apps training to schools and organizations. In his current role as Technology Integration Specialist for Stark/Portage Area Computer Consortium in Canton, Ohio, he oversees Google Apps for Education implementation, training, and support in addition to other technology integration initiatives. 

Leslie Fisher

Leslie Fisher is a K-12 education technology speaker and professional development consultant who specializes in presenting emerging and practical technology solutions to educators. She found her niche in this role after working for Apple Computer for five years as a K-12 senior systems engineer. From there, she founded Fisher Technologies Inc. and has since been traveling the world helping educators with their technology implementations and decision making.

Liv Van Ledtje

Liv Van Ledtje is an 11-year-old superstar who knows and loves sharks, education, and science,  and plans to use those passions to become an ichthyologist. She is an ambassador for the Gills Club, which promotes girls in science through inquiry-based experiences that encourage activism for sharks and ocean life. She is a girl on a mission to promote digital citizenship for kids, and her work has been featured at conferences around the world.

These technology-focused sessions and presenters, along with many others, will no doubt inspire attendees to build stronger STEAM programs and promote coding and robotics in their districts and schools. The conference will also be a great opportunity for attendees to connect with each other and share their challenges and successes in the classroom. 

Last but not least, the Ozobot Dome returns for TCEA 2020. This year, we’ll be hosting hands-on training sessions in our 2 Ways to Code in one half of the booth, and leading smart class sessions with our new STEAM platform, Ozobot Classroom, in the other. 

Ozobot Classroom (patent pending) will make it easy to integrate coding and computer science with Ozobot’s robots into lessons for any subject and any grade level—with features that include an interactive educator dashboard, single-click class setup, a Core Coding Curriculum and interdisciplinary lessons, and live lesson insights. For the first time, educators can get powerful real-time insights into student progress and engagement for both online and offline activities. 

After being unveiled and voted Best of Show at ISTE 2019, Ozobot Classroom for Chrome will launch this month and be available to K-12 educators at no cost. Once teachers create an account at, they will be guided through interactive training in Ozobot’s 2 Ways to Code: on-screen with OzoBlockly visual programming and screen-free with Color Codes. From there, educators can manage students and Ozobots, assign standards-aligned lessons, and receive live insights into online and offline student activity to inform teaching strategies, maximize participation in coding and CS, and improve retention across all subjects. 

Come experience Ozobot Classroom with our staff and Ozobot Certified Educators, and you could win an Ozobot t-shirt for participating. Plus, you’ll be entered to win an Ozobot Evo Classroom Kit! This Kit is new-and-improved for 2020, with a super-cool charging base that lets you store and charge Evos all in one place, plus one full-access Ozobot Classroom license code and Ozobot Classroom Communicator, which provides boosted Bluetooth to up to 18 robots. 

The Ozobot team is looking forward to making new friends, learning new things, and sharing our work with attendees. We’ll be in booth number 2351 in the exhibition hall.

Images by: nk2549/©, stockbroker/©, milkos/©

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