Sunday, March 11, 2012

Thoughts from MACUL 2012

I participated in the 2012 MACUL Conference last week.  This was a state-wide ed tech convention attended by 4,000 educators.  Though Susan Smith, Ann Lusch, And I presented (Free Multimedia Activities for Secondary Students That Don't Gobble Time!)  for an hour, most of our time was spent attending other presentations.  
While they are fresh on my mind, I wanted to share some general impressions:
* Presently, the Michigan Ed tech world is for better or worse, being swept by iPad mania.  The sessions about iPad were jammed or even closed (like the one on assessment that I really hoped to attend)..  My colleagues and I agreed that at least half of the educators carrying devices were carrying iPads.
*One such jammed session was hosted by the Zeeland Public Schools who are a year ahead of us in 1:1 implementation.  The planning and integrity of their implementation impressed me greatly.  But I also found myself reassured that our own Mercy 2.0 is addressing the key challenges that we will be facing.

*Zeeland pointed out that no longer is a "business" model being held up to educators as they seek to integrate technology.  With the iPad, schools like Zeeland (us!) are ahead of businesses.
*The iPad instructional apps that I found most interesting took advantage of the camera or microphone.  These clearly were game changers  

*Programmed physical objects like blocks and cubes will be entering classrooms soon.  They contain sensors and capacities that allow them to be used for tactile challenges and demonstrations. They are can be linked 
to each other and/or mobile devices.  Strange, fascinating stuff.
"Programmable matter" at M.I.T.

*The most basic session I attended was for school administrators.  I left, but the rest of the room seemed at rapt attention.  I guess you could look at this as a good or bad sign.

*At long last there was very little talk of "21st Century Skills".  It's about time. 

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