Thursday, March 21, 2013


I spent the day today with some wonderful teacher friends at the annual MACUL conference in Detroit.  What in the world does MACUL stand for, you ask?  It's the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning.  It was a great day filled with terrific speakers, wonderful topics, and lots and lots of useful information. A computer geek teacher's dream.

After a slow, traffic-filled drive downtown, the day began with our check-in at registration where we received our name badge and this spiffy bag.  "You Can Learn Virtually Anything" it reads in bright neon green letters.  Get it?  A tech conference? Virtual?  Those techie people are hilarious. 

And we were off for a day of learning!  One of my teacher friends had typed up our schedule, the room location, and the times.  She even included a map so we could all quickly scan the sheet and locate where we needed to be at any given time.  (Thank you!)   I must say, the schedule she gave us was much better than the ones we had in our bag.  Ever notice how it's always the teachers that are so prepared, organized, and on top of things? Now combine that with knowledge of technology and you've got a real winner.

We all went our separate ways, with a plan to meet up for lunch. 

My first session was on Pixie and Wixie and project based learning.  It was informative, but not what I had anticipated, since it included many ideas and information I already knew.  But, my day suddenly began to get better.  Just as we were all exiting out the door, the speaker called out my number for the "prize", some Frame 5 software to create claymations.  I was so excited!  I never win anything.  And I mean never.  If I was in a drawing with one other person, the other person would win.   So I spun around and bounded up to receive my gift.  I'm excited to test it out and see if it will be something I can use with my little ones. 
My winnings from today!

Next up was lunch, a visit to the exhibition hall, and then we set off to our afternoon sessions.   Unfortunately, the presenter didn't show up for the next one, so I quickly went next door where they were presenting information on STEM.  Although it was quite interesting, it was geared more for high school teachers, so not much of the information was going to be of use to me.

I met up with one of my teacher friends for the next presentation, which was two vibrant women that had lots of fun and useful technology tips and sites.   Once again, I received a winning ticket and collected my "You Rock" sippy cup, filled with gum and candy!  I started to think that I should stop off and get a lottery ticket on my way home. 

The final session was a speaker my other teacher friends had previously seen and raved about, so I was excited for this presentation.  As they had said, he was funny, personable, and had a terrific presentation about student engagement and teachers needing to love what they do and love what they teach. 

So, what are the big take-aways today, besides my prizes?  Well I found the coolest table by Promethean.  It's all interactive and works like a Promethean board, except it's a table.  I would LOVE to have one of these in my room for small groups.  Heck, I'd love to have one of these in my room for any group!  Too cool!   

I also learned that everybody in the world (slight exaggeration) has an iPad and everyone at the conference (not an exaggeration) had one today.  I felt like a dinosaur when I got my MACUL 2013 free pen out of my bag and started actually writing down some notes.  Everybody looked at me as if they felt sorry for me.  I think a few people even moved their seat away from me from embarrassment.   But, hey, I guess it is a technology conference after all.  I saved face a bit by using my iPhone to check mail and google some sites being shown by the presenter.

I definitely learned about some new technology/apps I can't wait to start learning about and trying out in my classroom.  I left today excited and buoyed by the fun and positivity of the day.   

So, without further ado, I'm going to get my scribbled notes out of my bag. I just hope I can read them well enough to type them correctly onto my laptop.  I'm glad I got the opportunity to spend the day with teacher friends and learn new things. 

Now I'm off to voki.  Go ahead.  Google it.

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