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.