Home MACUL Conference

Where Will Your Curiosity Take You Next Week?

Event Conference

Using our conference theme as a guide, let your curiosity take you to all the areas that MACUL has to offer. Here’s some highlights and spots not to miss and a couple of insider tips.

Social Media

The first tip is to know and subscribe to the MACUL organization’s social media channels.  And be sure to follow “#macul19” the official conference hashtag! 

Download the AppDownload the App

Interested in knowing what is happening when (of course you are!) The best place for information is to use the conference app. Information on the app can (including how to download and install it) be found at http://maculconference.org/app/.  

Spend some time before arriving at the conference by setting up your schedule, bookmarking sessions, or updating your profile. Pay attention to the banner ads for MACUL updates and also check out the ‘What’s On Now’ tile in the center of the homepage to help you make quick decisions!

Get there Early on Thursday

This year the musical group All Music is Power (A.M.P.) will take the stage at roughly 7:30 am to kick off the conference!  I am really excited to help them spread their message to educators throughout Michigan. Find out more information about them prior to meeting them at allmusicispower.com and show up a little earlier than maybe you have in years past to hear them open the conference!

Listen to Our Incredible Keynote Speakers

Our two keynote speakers this year both have created cultures of learning as building level administrators. Each uses their own personality and passion to impact learners and lift up teachers. Arrive early for the opening and stay for the closing!Keynote Speakers: Stephen Ritz and Gerry BrooksOpening Keynote – March 21 – 8:20 am
Stephen RitzThe Power of a Plant: A Teacher’s Odyssey to Grow Healthy Minds and Schools

Closing Keynote – March 22 – 2:30 pm
Gerry BrooksThe Importance of Personal Climate and Culture

More on the Thursday Lineup

Following the keynote there is one general session and then a block of time without sessions from 11am – 1pm.  This may seem awkward when first attending but is done intentionally. In this timeframe we encourage you to check out the exhibit hall, the Makerspace, MACUL Zone or the Student Technology Showcase and of course, don’t forget to eat!

2019 Featured Speakers Lineup

This lineup has something for everyone! Take some time to examine the featured speaker sessions, as some attendees find it helpful to build their days around these speakers.

2019 MACUL Featured Speakers

MACUL Annual Meeting then MACUL Reception at the Punch Bowl Social

The annual MACUL meeting will take place at 5:15pm in room 140B. This is a great time to speak with a board member or get information on how to be involved in the MACUL organization. President Steve Dickie will provide a quick recap of the year and spend some time on what to expect from MACUL in the coming year.  Please come and share your feedback!

The annual MACUL reception will take place at Punch Bowl Social beginning at 7:00 PM. Punch Bowl Social is a great space that offers karaoke rooms, an arcade, pool tables, a bowling alley and more.  The event is sponsored by Trinity3 and drink tickets and light appetizers will be provided. Rumor is the Breakout EDU team will be on hand to provide even more fun!  Shuttles will run from the Renaissance Center and the Crowne Plaza throughout the event for the convenience of our attendees!

Friday Starts a Little Differently

In past years there has often been a keynote speaker on Friday morning. This year the morning time slot contains our featured speakers and some additional programming but there will not be a keynote. The 8:30 – 10:00am time block also coincides with poster sessions. Poster sessions will once again be in the atrium connected to the Makerspace.

Many attendees find that Poster sessions are one of the most beneficial parts of the conference, often commenting that it’s a great way to see a lot of practical ideas in a short amount of time. This is a great opportunity to let your curiosity lead you into a session or learning of your choice!2019 MACUL Makerspace

The Makerspace

The Makerspace area continues to evolve and grow.  This year the planning team is really looking to consciously connect the activity of the space to your classroom. This will be done intentionally with specific student groups leading sessions, with signage throughout the exhibit, and with the conversations our attendees will find themselves in! This space can be a bit overwhelming but it is all about trying something out to bring back to your students.

There will also be a Minecraft area where you can talk with classroom teachers that have deployed the free licenses offered by the Michigan Department of Education.

Oh, and this is happening in the space on Friday.

The MACUL Zone

Travel into the center of the vendor hall and you will find a rectangular area known as the MACUL Zone. Here you will find Steve Dembo sharing all kinds of Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality tips and tricks for the classroom along with a chance for you to test some products he has brought along to highlight. Throughout the conference the zone will host several authors, meetups, and conversations. Check in early, and check back often. (remember a good tip is to use the app to find out what’s happening).

MACUL GooseChase Game

If you haven’t heard of GooseChase, this is your chance to play and have some fun (and have the chance at winning some amazing prizes!) There will be a GooseChase going on during the MACUL Annual Conference.

GooseChase is an intense scavenger hunt platform for the masses. You can easily join public games or create a custom hunt for you and your buddies. With in-app rankings and photo feeds, it’s bold, crazy and highly addictive. 

To join, download the GooseChase App and then search for “MACUL 2019”. You’ll have to know the password, “MACUL19” to play!

2019 MACUL Conference Goosechase

Build in Time to Reflect

The last tip I have to offer is to make sure to build in time to reflect upon your daily learnings. I know that there were years I attended MACUL and continued to visit session after session with each new idea overwriting the previous one before I had even really explored the idea fully.  

The goal of the conference is to provide educators with the premiere educational technology experience to positively impact their work. This can only happen when you take the time to digest the buffet that MACUL serves. I have heard of district colleagues and teams that intentionally carve out time during their days at MACUL to compare notes and share.  

Upon returning to many of your classrooms there will be a short sprint and then spring break. For anything to stick and positively impact students in April, you must take the time to be intentional with your reflecting and connecting at the conference.

After all of the planning and excitement, I am very happy to say –

See you next week in Detroit!


 (@jrommel): Joe is an Educational Technology Consultant for the Berrien Regional Education Services Agency (RESA) in Berrien Springs, MI, and MACUL Board Member.