Geeked about MACUL

I’m absolutely geeked about the MACUL conference next month. Yes, I’m a board member of MACUL, and I have a considerable amount of interest in the association’s success, but after reading the latest post on the MACUL Conference Blog, I’m just positively geeked about the latest development (among many) for this year’s conference. Not as a promoter of the conference, and not as a board member, but as an educator and a blogger.

As new technological tools and websites are born every day, there’s a lag between when a tool is made available on the Internet (like Yahoo’s new service called Pipes), and when it can be put into practice and then turned into a formal presentation at a statewide or national tech conference. Apparently, there’s news that a guerrilla breakout session will be moving from room to room at Cobo Hall in Detroit during the conference in order to facilitate all of those educators looking for bleeding edge tech tools. While it’s not likely that a majority of conference attendees will have the time to track down the breakout session during the conference, the benefit of this great new blogging medium is that conference attendees can visit their high priority sessions (breakouts, keynotes, etc.) and still follow what’s happening “behind the scenes” at the breakout sessions via blogs, of which I’m sure there will be a few posting about the guerrilla sessions.

I’m even more geeked being one of the first to be able to share news of this wonderfully collaborative and covert group; there are times when being in a leadership position has it’s perks. I’m hopeful that every educator reading this in Michigan has already signed up for the MACUL Conference, and if they haven’t, that they will seriously reconsider attending the conference. In an era where school funding seems to be disappearing faster than Valentine’s chocolate in the teacher’s lounge, any step we as educators can take to emphasize the importance of technology in education is a positive one. Attending the conference is usually that energizing, evangelizing boost I need in mid-March in order to get excited about sharing more technology goodies with my staff. Hopefully you have your own way of getting geeked about ed tech, and for those of you planning to be at MACUL, I hope you’re as geeked as I am this year.


  1. In a few weeks I pack up the truck and make the trek to downtown Anchorage for the annual Alaska Society for Technology Educators. Ok, the trek is only 15 minutes unless a I stop for a latte, but I thought I’d play on the Alaska mystique. I browsed the MACUL site, and see some similarities perhaps, and I’m curious. For ASTE to register for the conference is to join. There’s a Board, and the very occasional email newsletter, but essentailly, the organization lives to put on this conference. And it’s good…..I find it worth it every year, but I admint it’s an easier decision for me in that my fee’s ($200 or so) have often been comped by the district I work for, and, having no students, I can just “go” without having to get a sub or beg for a professional day. It’s re-engergizing for me in that it often pulls my head out of the servers and makes me look to the classroom again.

    But I’ve often thought the organization could be doing a bit more. When I look at the MACUL site, and peruse their calendar, I couldn’t spot too many other things it was doing either, and I wonder if this is your take on it as well?? I think there are limits to how much an organization like that can do, so I’m not thinking of an empire, but the truth is, ASTE means something to me once a year in terms of events.
    How often does a MACUL event impact teachers in Michagan?

  2. Ben,
    I am also very excited about MACUL and look forward to the conference, as I do every year. This year will be special for me because I have a group of students that are participating in the Student Technology Showcase on Thursday! They did an awesome job when we were in Lansing last November and I know that they’ll do just as well in March. See you soon!

  3. That’s a great question Andy. To be honest, before I was a member, it was difficult to see the benefits beyond the conference. Truth be told, it can be difficult for many educators to see what benefits there are to such an organization (something I’m planning to change), but in fact there are quite a few benefits.

    Along with the yearly conference, there are several other smaller conferences throughout the year that MACUL runs and/or sponsors. There’s also a quarterly Journal that members and students can publish their work in (I just got my student’s work with technology published in the latest issue). There’s a monthly newsletter, as well as a yearly “bonus” membership to on online service. In the past we’ve given each member of MACUL a free account on AtomicLearning, but now we have a deal with TechRecipes, a website that will put together simple lesson plans and tutorials for using a variety of software and office programs.

    You’re right though, to most members MACUL is just a one time a year thing, despite the constant resources we send to members via e-mail or through the mail. It’s really a PR issue, and one that we hope to improve greatly 🙂

  4. As my own personal teenager likes to say…..”Have fun with that…”. I think more and more it’s hard to find that “spot” that isn’t already filled somewhere, except if it’s a hard, thankless expensive task. I can think of some things I’d like to ASTE do, but I realize it would take staff and time, and everyone is pretty busy as it is.
    We also have an IT Expo in October every year that continues to grow (counter to the national trend), and I usually take a few kids to that. It’s much more industrially-oriented, but it the trade show has a lot of stuff that you don’t get to see many places.
    I also have the goals of making the Consumer Electronics Show some year, as well as the Seattle Boat Show. Trade shows…..the stroll through the ultimate hardware store….

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