The MACUL Conference was held in Grand Rapids, Michigan last week. The conversations, networking, and social events helped me connect with others, and spending time with others who “get me” for three days was pretty cool.
The pre-conference session with Jason Ohler on digital storytelling was a highlight, for sure. Jason was masterful at helping everyone see that digital stories have everything to do about the story, and little to do with the technology. By the end of the day, EVERYONE had written and produced a short digital video using either iMovie or MovieMaker, then we shared our creations with the group. The stories were fabulous!
I attended a wide variety of sessions, and picked up at least one thing from each of them. I was on the MACUL blogging team, so I wrote about many of the sessions on the Conference blog.
So, now it’s time to set goals to figure out new ways of bringing the joy and effectiveness of technology into the arms of the students and teachers in the classrooms. After much thought, I think that one of the things that needs to be done is to find ways to reach the school principals… the instructional leaders at the building level. One principal from my district attended this year, and he has already made plans to add on-line collaborative experiences for the students at his school. What could happen if all the principals were to attend MACUL next year in Detroit?
So far I haven’t found a way to systemically communicate the need for keeping abreast of newer technologies that were not available even a few years ago to the building principals. I’ve been asked to train them on using Word, PowerPoint, Excel, email, etc. I’m happy to do that, and learning to use these programs help them with their administrative tasks, but somehow there hasn’t been time for more meaningful types of staff development. When I do have the opportunity to speak with the group, I have a short amount of time in their packed agenda.
I plan to work closely with the principal who attended MACUL, and I’m banking on him having clout with his peers to ensure that we find time for doing what we need to do to prepare our students for the world they now live in. We cannot do it without technology.