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.