WMU News

Educational technology conference is March 12-14 in Detroit

Feb. 26, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- More than 4,000 educators are expected to attend the 27th annual Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning Conference Wednesday through Friday, March 12 through 14, at the Cobo Conference Center in Detroit.

The MACUL event is one of the nation's largest educational technology conferences, attracting teachers, administrators, school board members, technology coordinators, media specialists and librarians from around the Midwest and Canada. It is being coordinated by the Conferences and Seminars office at Western Michigan University.

Highlighting the 2003 conference, "Technology: Tools for Learning and Living," will be dozens of featured speakers, and more than 300 workshops and informational sessions on best practices and trends in educational technology. As in past years, displays of the latest and greatest teaching and learning hardware, software and peripherals will be on display by some 150 companies and open to the public for a $10 charge.

In addition, the conference will be a truly digital event this year, emphasizing e-learning, wireless access and handheld computing as well as employing high-tech tools--from barcoded name tags to infrared beaming stations that will allow attendants to download conference information to their handheld devices.

The 2003 conference's six strands will focus on technical support issues; administration and management; developing human capacity (professional development, certification, research); technology tools or applications; classroom models and strategies for integrating technology; and e-learning (virtual school management, strategies for teaching online, support for online students).

Presentations will be available on such topics as: computer security; finding grant money; plagiarism and the Internet; creating digital portfolios; developing staff so schools become 21st-century digital learning labs; redefining teamwork within virtual walls; must-have gadgets; combating information overload; and lifelong learning using free Internet resources.

The opening keynote address will be given at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, March 13, by futurist Richard Worzel, an author and columnist for Teach magazine. His presentation on "Future Tense: Education in Tomorrow's World" will provide a road map of what lies ahead and how educators can use the future to benefit their schools.

"Education is changing because of demographic, social, economic and technological forces at work in our society and schools," Worzel says. "These changes, left to themselves, threaten to destroy much of the value of education as we know it and to undermine the education system. Yet educators, using technology, and with an understanding of what lies ahead, can play a pivotal role in turning these changes to our advantage."

Worzel is a chartered financial analyst and president of Furturesearch Corp., a Toronto company that provides specialized consulting services in business trends. He wrote the best selling book, "The Next 20 Years of Your Life: A Personal Guide into the Year 2017" as well as "The Only Secure Job: Changing From Employee to Entrepreneur" and "Facing the Future: The Seven Forces Revolutionizing Our Lives."

The closing keynote address will be given at 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 14, by Alan November, a senior partner at Renaissance Learning of Marblehead, Mass., and co-founder of the Stanford Institute for Educational Leadership Through Technology. His presentation on "The Web--Teaching Zack to Think: Developing Critical Thinking Skills" will be a practical workshop on Web literacy.

"The Internet is a place where students can find any version of any truth by any body at any time. It can be very scary or very exciting," according to November. "It's essential to teach students the 'grammar of the Internet.' Once the rules that govern the presentation of information are known, it's much easier to develop critical thinking strategies."

November has been a classroom teacher, director of an alternative high school, computer coordinator, technology consultant and college lecturer. One of the first Christa McAuliffe Educators, he was named one of America's 15 most influential thinkers of the decade in K-12 technology by Classroom Computer Learning Magazine. He has written dozens of articles as well as the best selling textbook, "Computer Literacy Through Applications."

The cost to attend the full conference is $175. Students may attend at a discounted price, and special rates are available for those wishing to attend individual workshops or sessions.

MACUL is a non-profit organization that has more than 6,000 members and is headquartered in Holt, Mich. Established in 1975, it is dedicated to bringing all levels of educators together to share their knowledge and concerns regarding educational uses of computers and technology. For additional conference information or to register, contact the MACUL office by calling (517) 694-9756 or visit the MACUL Web site at <www.macul.org>.

Media Note: To arrange for press passes or speaker interviews, contact Ric Wiltse, MACUL executive director, at (517) 694-9756. More information also is available online at <www.macul.org> or by calling WMU's Conferences and Seminars office at (269) 387-4174.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, 269 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu


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