By Scott Trudeau


February 26, 2009

I have to say, the 2009 TCEA conference was the best of ‘em yet!
TCEA (Texas Computer Education Association) continues to host one of the largest educational related technology conferences in the US. This year’s Texas-sized conference hosted over 400 sessions and workshops and a slew of panel discussions. The conference also had more than 400 companies exhibiting their products in over 800 booths!
While the economy was taking a hit, the conference certainly seemed to be faring well. Over 8,000 education professionals attended this year’s event, and most of those that attended ended up spending a large amount of time checking out the latest technology products inside the “vending area.”
The Adobe booth was very well attended. The Adobe software gurus did an excellent job “wowing” the crowd as they demonstrated how to create PDFs, edit video, build websites, and do amazing stuff with digital images and print.
I stayed busy teaching Adobe-centered workshops throughout the week. This year I taught five workshops – and every seat was full! I was most worried about filling pre-conference workshops, as the onslaught of conference attendees tends to reach its peak toward the middle of the week. However, I was pleasantly surprised that both my early-in-the-week workshops (Adobe Captivate and Photoshop Elements) were packed full of eager-to-learn educators.
Toward the middle of the week, I had the opportunity to host two Photoshop CS4 workshops and an Adobe Acrobat 9 workshop. The Acrobat participants were amazed (as I still am) at Acrobat 9’s ability to generate student portfolios. I also noticed ear-to-ear smiles as they learned how to run the Acrobat form wizard to effortlessly crank out interactive forms – simply amazing!
Photoshop CS4 is always great fun to teach. I had to chuckle when I heard the gasps of amazement as the participants learned how to stitch together a folder of images into a panorama (File>automate>Photomerge). One guy exclaimed, “This just made the conference worth every dollar!” (Tip – you can also run Photomerge from Photoshop Elements – New >Photomerge Panorama).
Perhaps the fact that my lovely wife was able to join me for the final two days of the conference added to this year’s enjoyability factor. She has been making an effort to integrate technology into her 5th grade math class and wanted to pick up a few more tips and techniques. She asked her principal if she could attend and he gladly granted her permission. Let her story serve as a lesson – sometimes you just have to ask.
By Thursday evening I had completed my conference commitments and was looking forward to enjoying some of the great food and entertainment that Austin, Texas is famous for. My wife and I joined a tableful of other people at MariaMaria restaurant for a fine experience that consisted of great food, superb company, and a wonderful atmosphere. Thanks Adobe!
Make sure to include next year’s TCEA Conference in your 2010 itinerary. You will learn a heap of great information and have a blast while doing so.