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#MACUL17: 30 Days After…NOW WHAT?!

#macul17 logoThere’s nothing quite like the MACUL Conference.

The inspiring keynotes, the amazing student showcases, the new technologies on the expo floor and the relationships you renewed or built with educators that stretch your thinking… And yet, we’re only 30 days out from the conference and it already seems like it’s a distant memory.

Remember all those projects you saw that you said you were going to share with your colleagues at school? Those new apps that you were dying to get into the hands of students? Remember the promise you made to find a grant to fund some of the new tech you wanted, or the emails you were going to send requesting budget for next year? How many of those promises you made to yourself have you followed up on?

Don’t stress, it has ONLY been 30 days. That’s not long at all. But this is a key moment. This is the time when many people look at all those notes they took while in Detroit and are deciding what to do with them. While recycling them or filing them away are options, don’t fall into that trap. Pick them up and look through them. If you’re a digital notetaker, dig out those files or look back through your tweets. And take a few moments to create a short list of follow up action items.

When I say action items, I don’t mean big giant projects. Start with the small bites. Instead of adding “build a maker space” to your to do list, write down “discuss maker space at next team meeting.” Rather than putting “Eliminate all homework from class” on your list, consider adding “find one week in the schedule to go homework free.” Keep it simple. Things you can really dig into that will lead to your bigger goals.

Jane McGonigal at #macul17
Jane McGonigal speaking onstage at #macul17 on March 17, 2017.

The keynotes in Detroit really stretched our thinking in different directions. Sir Ken Robinson challenged our schools to shift from the industrial model to more of an agricultural one. He suggested that we need to change the culture in our schools to put more of an emphasis on creativity. How might you take one project you’ve got coming up and make a shift to adopt his philosophy?

Jane McGonigal stressed that classroom gamification as well as game-based learning can really help engage learners and create an excitement for learning that is often absent. Perhaps you might consider planning a week in which your students compete in teams like the Hogwarts house cup. Do it for fun, no prizes needed. Or try your first Breakout, with students or teachers. It’s a great way to have some fun as well as generate some rich conversation about active learning and problem solving.

Jennie Magiera ready for her meet and greet during #macul17.
Jennie Magiera at her meet and greet during #macul17.

Jennie Magiera shared five tips for starting your own Edventure. They’re all simple tasks, but to really do them requires a bit of thought and planning. Pick one of the list below and make it happen. This week, not next!

  1. Channel your inner student.
  2. Make sure your curriculum is Future Ready.
  3. Don’t teach topics, teach children.
  4. Try something that scares you.
  5. Don’t wait to take a risk.

And that’s just a starter set. Whether you were dazzled by the Hall Davidson show, laughed while learning with Leslie Fisher, inspired by Theresa Stager to work smarter and not harder, or blown away by the dozens of students that shared the wonderful ways they’re building the future today, I’m sure you have a laundry list of things to follow up on. It’s so easy to let them slip away!

30 days from MACUL. One month. It doesn’t seem like that long a time. But it’s enough for the buzz to have faded a bit and for the reality of your daily responsibilities to have set back in. This is the moment to make a commitment to shifting MACUL from a three day conference to a perpetual learning community. Follow up on those promises you made to yourself during the conference.

Visit the MACUL Community, check out the resources and join in the conversation. Continue the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #MACUL17. And above all, share your experiences with the people at your school who weren’t fortunate enough to be there in person! You’re their conduit to the life-changing experience that occurs every year at the MACUL Conference. If you were inspired while in Detroit, turn around and be that inspiration for others!

Steve Dembo sitting with friends at #macul17
Steve Dembo sitting with friends for closing keynote session on March 17, 2017.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead


Steve Dembo (@teach42): Steve is a former kindergarten teacher, school Director of Technology, and Discovery Education’s Online Community Manager. He is a pioneer in the field of educational social networking, winning recognition from the Online Education Database, Technology and Learning Magazine, Association of Educational Publishers, and a recipient of the BESSIE Award. To find out more about Steve visit his website at http://www.teach42.com/.