Wow, I found this in the draft holding area; I wrote it just after the conference last year with some summarizing thoughts, but it was never published. Although I was ill and not able to be there, I asked for feedback from people in my district. Here it is…
I have kicked the nasty pneumonia that kept me from attending the MACUL Conference this year. Thanks for all the get well wishes that so many of you sent during the conference. Since I was not able to attend, I’ve been hounding everyone in my district who attended to share their experiences with me. The feedback from people in my district who did attend was overly positive as you will see by their comments below.
The first person I bumped into told me that the MACUL Conference was the best conference she has ever attended. She told me that the Alan November keynote was the perfect start to a fantastic conference. Last weekend, she spent some time exploring some of the new tools she was introduced to at the conference and shared a video she made with GoAnimate (a very cute invitation to her son’s birthday party).
Many people in my district were only able to attend the pre-conference. They appreciated the in-depth hands on approach. Several were wowed by Jason Ohler’s digital storytelling session. One teacher stated “I was impressed with his focus on story over glitz. His framework offers a boost to teachers who believe they do not have the time, money or skills needed to encourage students to create stories of their own.” Someone else said “His story mapping models are a great way to help kids organize ideas into something with meaning.” Teachers from one of our middle schools have already scheduled a digital storytelling workshop to offer teachers at their building. Another teacher has plans to transform a poetry unit into a poetry digital storytelling unit.Several people were introduced to Google Docs. “I think that GoogleDocs has lots of possibilities for the classroom. Its ability to have users revise the same document in real time is incredible. Peer editing will be so much fun!”
Steve Dembo had tons of cool things to share. His energy and knowledge are inspiring. The most important thing I came away with from his presentations is a better idea of how fast the tool kit is growing and the idea that the educational applications of the new web need to be developed and then shared with others.”
One teacher used a clever metaphor. She said, “I learned about many web 2.0 tools which I liken to snorkeling: I have seen the surface of the web, but there is so much more underwater.” My advice is to pick one and give it a try; soon you’ll be swimming for more!
Got a great idea for a cool project involving technology in your classroom? Happen to be a MACUL member? Then let us hook you up with the funds to make your idea happen with the 2009-2010 MACUL Grant program. With a possibility of securing $1500 towards a project that will help benefit the students in your classroom/school, and a deadline of June 27th, 2009, why not make the most of this summer (and your MACUL membership), by taking advantage of this opportunity?
All of the details for the 2009-2010 MACUL Grant Program can be found here on the MACUL website. Links to the scoring rubric, the official time line, and the application form can be found there. Remember though, you must be a MACUL member in order to apply for this opportunity; thankfully, you can renew your membership, or join for the first time right here!
Image: ‘$‘ www.flickr.com/photos/50318388@N00/2349119664
I can not remember a MACUL conference flying by so quickly. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that I was so busy. I was busy live blogging, bumping into old friends, trying out products in the exhibit hall, getting ready for my presentation and then all of the social functions.
It sure was different from my first conference in 2003. That year I had a great time and learned a lot but it was a lot quieter. I went to all of the sessions, sat toward the back, and didn’t talk to anybody. I didn’t ask any questions. I think I even had dinner by myself down in Greektown. The only person I really interacted with much was the cabbie who was trying to job me with the “busted meter” routine.
I still came away with a great experience, but far different than the ones I come away with now.
Have I made a huge conversion in my life from an introvert to Mr. Social? No, not at all. Over the last six years, I have begin to understand that MACUL is not just the annual state edtech conference. MACUL is the association and all of the people that are involved in it the other 50 weeks of the year. There were 3300 others of us in Detroit this year. The amount of brain power that convened at Cobo this year is immeasurable…and that power is not hard to harness or tap.
I have gotten to know many of these people over years in my grad program at Western Michigan University. We have attended and presented at other conferences together. Macul Space has made a huge difference in my career, as have other web 2.0 tools like Facebook and Twitter. We share ideas, successes, and a laughs…mostly we share ideas.
People rave about what a great conference it is…and without a doubt it is. I have just come to learn over the years that the people that make up the organization offer even more than what we can get out of each annual gathering in March.
If this was your first conference, or if you have been going for years, get to know your fellow MACUL members. Technology is making it easier and easier for us to all connect. Your MACUL experience won’t be just a couple of days out of the building, it will be a year-round part of your career.
I presented my session, Elementary Wiki Wonderland on Friday morning. I wanted to share the links to my presentation wiki and class wiki. I was thrilled with the amazing teachers I met who are as excited about wikis and Web tools as I am. It is so fun to share! The MACUL conference is where I learned about wikis from Julie Myrmel and Diane Rich in Hudsonville two years ago and I am happy to be able to share this with others. My presentation wiki also has information on how I use Blogs in my classroom as well as blogging resources. Be sure to check out the Wiki and Blog links to see how other educators around the world are using these tools with their students, as well as the Web 2.0 Tools page. I will continue to add to the presentation wiki. I plan to create tutorials on how to add users to your wiki and how to use the manage wiki settings. I am happy to answer questions, feel free to email me or contact me through the MACUL space ning (and while you are there, Join the MACUL space ning. It is another great way to connect with amazing eductors in Michigan.)