Getting lost at MACUL15 – a personal reflection

Last week I attended my 4th Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning conference at Cobo Hall in Detroit where I enjoyed the experience of getting lost. I felt like my ADHD student with so much energy, excitement walking in wanting to be everywhere but with little focus.

I arrived around noon on Thursday March 18 having worked in my classroom during the morning. Walking down Washington Avenue in the sunshine, I felt excited and ready for a great day of learning. I had missed the inspiring George Couros‘ Keynote, but I felt like I was there reading the tweet stream as I approached Cobo Hall. Walking in I was greeted by the wonderful #michED community: seeing familiar avatar faces in person. I could not make it 10 feet without saying hello to a member of my #PLN who I chat with weekly. Soon I found a seat to converse with friends. As the clock ticked towards the start of the next session, our group dispersed slowly heading to many different sessions. Being connected I struggled where to go, to a #PLN friends session? Check out new people? or see the out of town “PRO” Presenters? I scanned the program and slowly walked towards the presentation rooms, I ran into Dave Goodrich in the hallway as I was about to go into a session on Google Classroom. He suggested I go into Erin Mastin’s session next door. Being friends with Erin (and presenting with her on Friday) I wandered in to see her sharing HOW she gets her first grade students engaged and collaborating. After the informative session, I took a moment to chat with Erin. Headed off to the to another two sessions before heading to dinner with friends and the Shift Mich Idea Slam. (Idea Slam should be subject of a later post)

With day 1 in the books, day 2 had tons of potential. A maker space designed by #michED friends. Presentations by many of my friends: Todd Beard, Melody Arabo and Rebecca Wildman and the list could go on and on. Moderating a panel presentation on why educators should connect. I wanted to attend everything, and I got lost in the Maker Space. Seeing all the wonderful hands on activities where students could express themselves and show learning! Every time I got ready to leave I ran into a conversation with engaging educators. I was finally pulled away to attend Melody’s presentation on Teacherpreneurs session. If you ever get a chance hear Melody speak, she is genuine, telling her story, it will inspire you.

Rushing out at the end to set up for our panel discussion:

Our session had a small but passionate audience, and was well received. When it was over I was tired and hungry. I realized I missed as many session I had planned to see than attended. I left wanting more. The most valuable part of MACUL15 was losing myself in learning! It is good to be lost sometimes, it helps you see their are other paths to a common goal.

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Dear Press Balanced Coverage Please

Dear Michigan Press:

Could you please cover education like you cover all other news sectors? Please have a more balanced focus. The stories that always make the news seem to be negative. “A teacher … ” “Bomb threat at ….” “Students behaved ….” The headlines sensationalize rare events in our educational world. Sure negative events happen in all sectors of our lives: Government, Business, Education and Entertainment. It seems these other areas get more well rounded coverage. For every negative story about GM’s recall there is a positive about their fund raising or the car show. The Entertainment sector seems to be loaded with positive stories to offset the occasional blunder by a star. Why is it that a single educator blunder makes the top of the news cycle while all the thousands of positive stories garner little or no coverage?

I always see live coverage of the great positive stories around metro Detroit: Auto Show, Woodward Dream Cruise, Winter Blast, Boat Show, Autorama, etc. Did you know there are two great event coming up about education? MACUL (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) will bring over 5,000 educators to COBO center in Detroit March 18-20. This would be an ideal time to do a live broadcast. The news teams could talk to educators from all over the state to hear about the latest and greatest practices going on in the classrooms. Ideas from Flipped learning, I-Books for education, to Twitter Chats for connecting teachers all will be discussed. The public needs to hear about what educators do to grow professionally. It might be more entertaining than the standard live remotes to cover March Madness that occur around this time of year.

If an educational convention is not deemed news worthy enough, check out ShiftMich Idea Slam March 19 7:30-11:00 pm at the Detroit Beer Company.  The Idea Slam is a fast paced “pitch fest” and networking event for educators. Selected projects will be presented and attendees will vote on their favorite ideas. Winning projects will receive up to $1,000 towards their innovative educational idea. The rest of the evening is an informal meet-up with fun conversations and delicious offerings from the Detroit Beer Company. The concept of the Idea Slam was inspired by the Detroit Soup and TED Conference formats.

Be balanced in your coverage! Hope to see your coverage of these up coming events!

MACUL 2015- Governor Please stop by ….

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Dear Governor Snyder and State Legislative Bodies-

Education is high on your agenda this year. You speak of it often. Education should be a priority in the state of Michigan. Many educators in the state of Michigan feel that our jobs have been used as a political football by both parties passed around to gain votes and attention. Do you want to see and hear REAL educators, who are passionate about teaching and student learning? Educators who are making the best of the limited resources they have and being true innovators? I know the answer is yes. SO mark you calendar and come down to Cobo Hall in Detroit, March 18-20 to the MACUL conference (Michigan Association For Computer Users in Learning). This is Michigan’s Largest Teacher Conference with over 4,000 attendees.

If you choose to attend, You will hear incredible stories about students. You will have the opportunity to talk to teachers first hand and ask them HOW you can improve education? You can ask which of your policies work and what policies need to be changed. By attending MACUL 2015 you will bring attention to all that is great in Michigan Education.  I know you were just here in Detroit for the Governors Education (and Economic) Summit, but that was for the leaders of our schools and businesses, MACUL is a conference for teachers from ALL levels from all over the state. You will gain great insight into what is going on in our schools. When you attend make sure you look for sessions lead by Michigan Teachers for there are many to choose. If you need help picking sessions I am sure that the last 2 Michigan Teachers of the Year can help. Luckily Gary Abud Jr. and Melody Arabo will be presenting and I am sure they will gladly make suggestions for you.

I can’t wait to see you at MACUL 2015. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

#MichED Teachers