Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Favorite Apps and Tools from TCEA

Our team had the privilege of presenting six times at TCEA earlier this month. TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) was founded in 1980 and has a yearly conference in Austin that is jam-packed with innovative sessions.

During our week there we came across many new apps and tools that we like and a few of them made our blog spotlight this week. Check them out and see if any are a good fit for you and your learners!

Office Lens
Free - Apple and Android
Have you ever been in a session or meeting and wanted to take a photo of the projected image but you’re at an angle or too far away? The Office Lens app downloads to a device and you use it instead of your device’s photo app to activate the camera and take a picture of a whiteboard, document, or even a business card. It will frame and enhance the photo and you have the option of saving it to your camera roll or adding it to a Microsoft tool.

Google Tone
Google Tone is a way to take a website you’re viewing in Google Chrome and easily send it to other computers near you. You activate the Tone extension in your Chrome browser and it uses your computer’s speakers to play a short tone. Other computers that are near you and also have Tone activated will "hear" the tone and their computer will automatically open to the website you shared. Instead of having students type in an address or scan a QR code, they can just open the Chrome extension and let their computer hear the tone to open a website.

English Idioms Illustrated
Free - Apple
Idioms in the English language don’t always translate well to other languages. For example, "Cool as a cucumber” does not have the same connotation in Spanish, so these playful illustrations of the idioms make meaning of English idioms. We could not find an illustrated idiom app for Android but we did find other idiom apps that are helpful.

Help Lightning
Free - Apple and Android
Help Lightning is a combination of a video conference and virtual reality. Two devices with Help Lightning can connect similarly to Skype or FaceTime; they can see and hear each other. However, in Help Lightning, they can also point to items virtually on the other person’s screen. Imagine not just seeing a student’s homework on screen but being able to virtually point to a specific section of the page. Their site has a cool video to demonstrate how the tool works and how it can be used in many ways.

Free - Website and Apple
Sway is an easy way to build high quality presentations, newsletters, projects, and much more. After creating a free account via their Website or via the Apple app (the Android app is still in development) you load your content such as photos or text. With a click of a button, your content is formatted and transformed into an eye-catching, polished, customizable presentation which is easily shared across social media or via email. We heard it being called an alternative to PowerPoint - and that is true - but it’s also an alternative to many other tools as well.

Those are just some of the many new tools we discovered at TCEA. Did you find any new tools you loved at TCEA? Or do you know of a cool tool you'd like to share with others? Just drop a comment below and share with our PLN!

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