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Rocked It! MACUL 2017 Takeaways

Jane McGonigal speaking on stage at the 2017 MACUL Conference
Jane McGonigal speaking on stage at the 2017 MACUL Conference

This article was originally posted on Adrianne Brown’s website here.


the 2017 MACUL conference has come to an end… Ah, bittersweet. Personally, I am feeling a sense of sadness because it’s simply over; now we wait an entire year to do it all over again. Yes, I am a shameless ”#MACULJunkie” … On the flip side, I am feeling THRILLED to get back into the classroom and give the new innovative tools, concepts and strategies, a good old-fashion try! Anyone else feeling this way?!



Recap: Let’s start with the keynotes. The morning Keynote speakers were absolutely incredible! (I will say, I was unable to attend Friday afternoon’s Jennie Magiera. Huge bummer, because I heard she was fabulous). I did, however, have the pleasure of attending Sir Kenneth Robinson and Jane McGonigal’s opening notes on Thursday and Friday. Both Sir Robinson and McGonigal were truly inspirational.

  • Sir Robinson focused on the need for curriculum personalization and customization to increase student achievement and retention within our current educational system.  He challenged us as educators, administrators and staff to rethink WHY the system has set requirements…What are these requirements providing for students?… Do these requirements help us reach all students?… Is our system and approach promoting or demoting alternative education paths?

  • Jane McGonigal, the queen of video game development, opened MACULs’ eyes to the power of games. She is a rockstar researcher whose passion resides in investigating how games affect brain development. She presented facts and research on how the gaming world has enhanced and will continue to enhance positive brain development in our youth. McGonigal encouraged us to rethink our view of video games.  How can we use games to increase student engagement? How do games facilitate self-exploration, discovery and peer collaboration? 


Reflect: Think of the apps YOU use on a regular basis… Identify the reason(s) why you chose the apps, extensions and sites embedded into your daily teaching practice. Are you using it to benefit student learning OR to benefit your life as an educator? …

This “mindset shift” brought me back to my fundamental philosophy of teaching; my students are number one priority.  In two days time, I was continuously reminded that classroom technology should be used to enhance the student-center approach to teaching. In addition, let’s think outside of the box and use it to increase curriculum comprehension, accessibility to materials, engagement and participation… I think we can all agree that productivity and efficiency are IMPORTANT to teachers, but student learning comes first, hands down. HINT: Save your fancy, data collecting, formative graphs for after school.


I saw it all! Chromebooks, iPads (Pro, Standard, Mini), iPhones, Macbooks, Dells, Surfaces, Kindle Fires… you name it! And, guess what? We each benefitted because, the device. doesn’t. matter… With any of the above, you can: post updates, assignments and documents to Google Classroom (or another LMS), host online discussions, facilitate formative questionnaires, send students positive affirmations in real time, connect outside of school hours…etc!  ALL of which, foster student learning and growth in one way or another.

WHAT’S NEXT?! I look forward to sharing my purpose of technology and how I believe it impacts student growth… Soon to come!


Adrianne Brown (@BrownAd_): Adrianne is a Special Education teacher at Grand Haven High School in Grand Haven, Michigan. For more information about her visit https://theclassroomcloud.wordpress.com/.