MACUL: There and back again

It’s all over. MACUL 2006 is finished, the teachers have all gone home, and I’m feeling energized. I got a lot of great ideas that I can’t wait to share with everyone, but more importantly I got a lot of great input and had a chance to reflect about my very first presentation.

Overall, the presentation went well. The room was packed, which was a bit unexpected for 8:30 in the morning the day after the conference-planned party. I got a chance to meet some of the readers of the site, and chat about another conference opportunity coming up in May where I’ll have a chance to get really technical (I’ll save that for later). Mostly the presentation went well in that the PowerPoint wasn’t too long or disengaging. I threw a few jokes in, but they weren’t as well received as I had hoped (guess my humor is better saved for 6th graders). I did get a little bogged down in overviewing tools that I’ve used in the past, and didn’t focus on this site as much as I had wanted. I think I dissapointed a few people in the session too for not treating them to more websites, lesson ideas, and software for the classroom, but I really wanted to show everyone there how to use the site, and why I think it would be worth their while, then let them discover all of the resources we’ve shared here so far.

I also think that in my haste to make a clear point I may have slighted both commercial enterprises in educational technology and under emphasized the importance of post-secondary educators and those educators that have left the classroom. I was trying to make the point that a lot of classroom teachers enjoy talking with other teachers to find out what’s useful and don’t always have the time to bone up on their theory. Theory, especially in educational technology is highly important as we seek to show that our efforts are based in research and good scientific thought, but sometimes the pursuit of theory can lead a lot of ed tech professionals so far out of the classroom that they have some difficulty relating to what’s actually happening in classrooms versus what they think should be happening. Thankfully, I haven’t met a single one of those educators at MACUL, as everyone there, including professors, seem to be focused on the classroom. That and there are some really good commercially available tools out there for educators, but let’s face it, most of us don’t have the cash to implement a lot of commercial software or products, hence my desire to push free, open-source, and easily reproduceable ideas, programs, and lessons.

For those in attendance at my Friday session, below is the link to my PowerPoint presentation. Enjoy!

Tech Savvy Educator – MACUL 2006


  1. Ben, you did a great job yesterday at MACUL. I was way in the back of the room with a few of the other SIG Telelearning members. Thank you for reminding us of your presentation the day before! There were probably 60 or so in the audience and they stayed! Usually they mill in and out. Good idea to leave your cards out on the tables so everyone could have the address. I’m sure you’ll get lots of views.

    I heard a lot of whispers of “I’ve got to see that site later” and people were noting features as you mentioned sites provided in your community. I’m particularly interested in the Frappr map and of course, Stellarium. What a wonderful application!

    I’ve also included an entry for Tech Savvy Educator in our “MACUL Highlights” post at the “Let’s Talk Technology” community at

    Now to go explore the Archive of links, I like the fact that you’ve taken the time to organize them.

    Carol Isakson

  2. Hi Ben,
    I really liked the organization of your presentation. It was very helpful to hear the background information because it made it very clear what kind of resource you are trying to provide for teachers and their students. I have been clicking around in the The Tech Savvy Educator and have subscribed to your RSS feed. I am looking forward to making use of your “Fresh Links” because I won’t have to worry about the dreaded “site not found”. I am also looking forward to contributing to this powerful resource. Your resources are strong but your vision is even stronger!
    P.S. How do you like your new Palm??????

  3. Carol: Thanks for mentioning the site on the Let’s Talk Technology blog. I’ll have to add that one to my subscriptions and start reading. I was relieved that I didn’t have a large number of people milling in and out of the presentation, and I truly hope that some of the educators there will join our community here. Enjoy the links, and if you have any you’d like to add, post a few and how you use them on the forum. One of the moderators, or myself, can add them to the Archives.

    Laura: It was nice to see you again at the conference. I’m glad that I joined SigTele and have gotten to know some wonderful educators. I’m hoping that my vison for the site begins to trickle down, if not into the Sig then at least to other members of MACUL. Thanks for leaving some comments and showing your support of the site; I can’t wait to see what resources and ideas you have to offer us.

    Oh, and the Palm is very nice 🙂 I think it was used as a demo during the conference, so it’s loaded with all sorts of extra software and goodies that I can’t wait to play around with.

  4. Ben.. I really enjoyed your session at MACUL and was that one new person that had registered with your site that you mentioned. I had wandered around the site on Thursday night (I skipped the party) and knew it was a place I’d be returning to. I do something similar to this for my own staff via a staff Intranet so I find yours very exciting.

  5. Glad to have you with us Jeanne! I had actually done an internal tech-newsletter for my staff before deciding to make the jump to the Internet, so I can understand your excitement to have other educators out there sharing the same thoughts.

  6. Hi Ben,
    I also really enjoyed your presentation – your vision is well focused and right on target. Your site has the potential to become one of the hot sites for educators everywhere. I have added your site to my favorites and plan to share it with the teachers in my building. Keep up the good work!

  7. Thanks for the kind words Mary. Please feel free to share the site with as many teachers as you can; the more we have reading, the more we potentially have willing to share and encourage even more to keep reading. I was eager to present at MACUL because I knew I’d find other educators out there with the same focus, and apparently I have 🙂

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