WMU News

Conference serves as Midwest forum on educational technology

Feb. 18, 2004

KALAMAZOO--More than 3,500 educators from across the Midwest and Canada will be skipping school next month and heading to Grand Rapids, Mich., for the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning Conference from Wednesday through Friday, March 10-12.

The annual MACUL event, now it its 28th year, is one of the Midwest's largest educational technology conferences, attracting members of the public in addition to teachers, administrators, school board members, technology coordinators and media specialists.

The 2004 MACUL Conference will take place at the Amway Grand Plaza and the new DeVos Place Convention Center. It is being coordinated by MACUL and arranged by Western Michigan University's Conferences and Seminars office.

The event will feature nationally recognized speakers, special events and more than 200 workshops and informational sessions on best practices and trends in educational technology.

This year's theme, "Learn...Create...Inspire! Enhancing Education Through Technology," emphasizes three critical ways that technology can make a positive impact in the classroom, says Peter Mantei, MACUL president and director of technology for the Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools.

"Given the comprehensive nature of our conference, attending should prove particularly valuable for educators who want more information about strategies for complying with the federal No Child Left Behind Act," Mantei says.

"The act's emphasis on improving student achievement through technology points out the need for educators to be proficient in 21st-century skills and resources. Our large, six-strand conference is an excellent way to learn best practices from national leaders and exemplary teachers."

This year's conference strands will cover technical support issues, administration and management, e-learning, developing human capacity, classroom models and strategies for integrating technology, and using technology tools or applications.

The event will include a Student Technology Showcase from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 11, in the DeVos Place Grand Gallery. This activity will spotlight some of Michigan's top technology projects and student teams.

There also will be a two-day exhibition of some of today's best teaching and learning hardware, software and peripherals. The exhibition will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 12. It will feature more than 200 technology-related exhibitors and be open to the public for a $10 charge.

The conference's opening keynote address will be given at 8:30 a.m. Thursday by Alan November, an educational technology practitioner, designer and author as well as a senior partner in Renaissance Learning of Marblehead, Mass. His presentation on "Expanding the Boundaries" will describe the ways in which the Internet builds and strengthens learning communities and will touch on research that suggests many students are more willing to ask for help and accept criticism online than face to face.

A closing keynote address will be given at 2:30 p.m. Friday by Tony Brewer, a K-16 technology writer, lecturer and trainer and director of Brewer Technology and Learning Center of Lebanon, Pa. His talk, "The 3 C'S: Foundations of Technology Integration," will focus on how easily communication, computing and critical thinking can be used to adapt lessons to 21st century classrooms.

The cost to attend the 2004 MACUL Conference is $145 if registered by Feb. 23 and $175 to register after this date. Special rates are available for students and for those who do not wish to attend the full conference. For more information or to register, visit the Web site at <www.macul.org> or call (517) 694-9756.

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

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