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Highlighting educational technology's "wow" factor

March 1, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Spotlighting what's cool and exciting in educational technology will be the focus of the 2006 Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning Conference Wednesday through Friday, March 8-10, at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The annual MACUL event, now celebrating its 30th anniversary, is one of the Midwest's largest educational technology conferences. This year's theme is "Technology NowTechnology WOW!"

The conference regularly attracts 3,000 teachers, administrators, school board members, technology coordinators, media specialists and members of the public from Michigan, the Midwest and Canada. Attendees have an opportunity to learn about innovative technology-related programs geared toward education and peruse an extensive exhibit area that showcases hardware, software, computer-related materials and other educational technology.

The 2006 MACUL Conference will feature nationally recognized speakers, student technology projects, special events, and some 240 breakout sessions and workshops that provide solutions, ideas and techniques for improving student learning.

The event is being coordinated by MACUL and arranged by Western Michigan University's Office of Lifelong Learning and Education. Co-chairs are Eric Getsoian, with the Southfield Public Schools, and Diane Zoellmer, with the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District.

The conference strands will cover seven topics: administration and management; classroom models and strategies for integrating technology; developing human capacity; e-learning; Michigan's imaginative, statewide Freedom to Learn program; technical support issues; and using technology tools or applications.

The conference's opening keynote address, "Continuing Education: What Kids Will Be Bringing to School in 2010," will be given at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, March 9, by technology commentator and author David Pogue. Pogue, an Emmy Award-winning technology correspondent for CBS News, has more than three million books in print and is one of the world's bestselling "how-to" authors. He wrote or co-wrote seven of the "for Dummies" computer series and in 1999 launched his own humorous and informative series called the "Missing Manuals."

A closing keynote address, "Technology Trekking: Exhausting, Exhilarating and Energizing," will be given at 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 10, by Dr. Annette Lamb. Lamb has been a school library media specialist and computer teacher, and currently teaches online graduate courses for librarians and educators at Indiana University-Indianapolis. Her popular Web site, Eduscapes.com, includes a wide range of award-winning, free resources for educators.

The 2006 MACUL Conference will include an Autonomous Robotics Competition from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, during which students in grades three through eight will compete to accomplish robotics missions that emulate real-world tasks. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the same day, other student teams will participate in a Student Technology Showcase that will spotlight some of Michigan's best examples of how technology is being integrated into the curriculum.

The conference also will feature a three-day exhibition of some of the best teaching and learning hardware, software and peripherals available today. The exhibition will be open in DeVos Place from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday.

In addition, Friday's activities will include a Technology Playground, where conference attendees can play with gadgets and software, learning how to help their struggling students with their "reading, writing and arithmetic."

The cost to attend the full MACUL Conference is $200. Special rates are available for students as well as those who do not wish to attend the full conference. Registrations are being accepted online and by fax.

For more information, call (517) 694-9756 or visit the Web site at <www.macul.org>.

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

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