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My Five #MACUL17 Takeaways

Leslie Fisher presenting at the 2017 MACUL Conference.
Leslie Fisher presenting at the 2017 MACUL Conference.

This article was originally posted on Ryan Lisek’s blog site here.

Though I have only been twice, the Michigan Association for Computer User in Learning (MACUL) conference is hands down my favorite professional development/conference to attend.  The wide variety of topics being presented over two days (three, if you attend the pre-conference) is enough to make your head explode.  It is important to take some time during the weekend and week that follows to reflect on your new learning.  With that, these are my five takeaways from #MACUL17:

1.  Leslie Fisher is AMAZING!

Last year, I was introduced to the greatness that is Leslie Fisher (@lesliefisher).  When it comes to presenters of edtech tools, there is nobody better. Leslie’s conversational presentation style, vast knowledge of the newsest tech, and demonstrations of said technology make her sessions an absolute joy. This year, I sat in a session I attended last year and learned about new tools and upgrades to the tools I already use.  Everyone can learn something new from Leslie, whether you have seen her once or 100 times.  Make sure you get in early to watch the videos. For more about Leslie’s presentations, visit http://www.lesliefisher.com.

2.  Matt Miller is too.

Matt Miller at the 2017 MACUL conference
Matt Miller – @jmattmiller

I had very little knowledge of Matt Miller (@jmattmiller), author of the book Ditch That Textbook, prior to MACUL this year. After attending two of his sessions this year, I will be spending much more time becoming familiar with his work.  Matt’s technology boosts to Dave Burgess’ (@burgessdaveTeach Like a PIRATE hooks will have your students engaged from the moment they walk through your door (or in the case of the Teaser Hook, before they get to class). His depth of knowledge related to the newly dubbed G-Suite (formerly Google Apps) provided several new and interesting ways to use Slides, Drawings, and Docs in creative ways with my students. For more information about his presentations, visit http://www.ditchthattextbook.com.

3.  Coding is the Future.

A couple of staggering statistics came to light throughout this year’s conference:

– More than 500,000 computing jobs are open at this time, but only 43,000 college graduates are qualified to fill them.

​ – About 25% of high schools actually teach coding.

Coding and computer science jobs are the future of the workforce in America and abroad. It is time for our schools to step up and create opportunities for ALL students to get into coding.

4.  Presenting is a Excellent Way to Build Your PLN.

After the 2016 installment of MACUL, an administrator from my district suggested I create a session to bring to the 2017 conference. It was some of the best advice I could have received. Education is the profession of collaboration. It is important to share our tools with our fellow colleagues. We only grow when we work together. Though my session was smaller than anticipated, the experience and networking has helped me make connections that will prove valuable in enhancing my curriculum for my students. I encourage anyone to apply to present if they have a great tech teaching tool. You will not regret it.

5.  Sir Ken Robinson.  That is all.

Having the opportunity to listen to the great Sir Ken Robinson (@SirKenRobinson) speak on the topic of education, live and in person was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. I have listened to his TED Talks and read articles he has written on several late-night Internet vortexes. But, to hear the man in person was an absolute bucket list item. His eloquence in speaking on the topic of education and ability to engage an audience is truly second to none. His messages about creating a culture where failure is encouraged and the issue of standardization in education really hit home and was a great way to kick off our MACUL journey this year.


Ryan Lisek (@Mr_Lisek): Ryan is a MS Social Studies Teacher for Richfield Public School Academy in Flint, MI. He was named a 2016 PBS Local Digital Innovator – Michigan and was a #macul17 presenter this year. For more information about him visit “My Middle Level Mind