Sunday, March 20, 2005

MACUL 2005

Last week I attended the annual meeting of MACUL hosted in Detroit. I consider myself fairly advanced when it comes to technology and learned a lot of really good stuff at this meeting. Over the next couple of days I'll hit what I felt were the highlights of the meeting.

I went to a lot of sessions and actually stayed in till the end through most of them. At a lot of meetings I find myself learning nothing new at sessions, that was not true at this conference.

Sessions I went to and found valuable:

Blogging Before Breakfast by Meg Ormiston - I didn't really learn much new in this session, but for many who did not know what Blogging is it seemed valuable. She maintains a website at She has digital handouts for all of her MACUL sessions on her site as well.

Active Galaxies by Dr. Mary Garrett (NASA) - This was a great presentation about the Looking at Active Galaxies educational unit developed by NASA. Marry was a great presenter and the activities she presented could be used at many levels. A copy of Mary's lesson(s) can be found on her webpage. NASA's activity book is available from NASA's GLAST Page.

Teach Beginning programming Surreptitiously
by Barry Webster - This session focused on using JavaScript to teach the underlying concepts of programming while having students create web pages. His explanations were clear and concise, but bogged down while he was trying to teach code to the audience. The session would have been better if he'd kept his focus on what was possible and how to teach it to kids. He recommended the book JavaScript For the World Wide Web as a great resource for this approach.

RSS: The New Killer App for Educators by Will Richardson (did the google bots find me?) - This was a great session for the novice to advanced user. I knew what RSS was before this session and read several feeds daily but Richardson taught me a bunch more. On his website he has assembled an RSS quick start guide which includes instructions to (among other things):
  • Understand what RSS is
  • Find RSS feeds
  • Bring them together to make them easy to read
  • Set up Google and Google News Alerts as RSS feeds letting you do research 24/7
  • Embed an RSS feed into a webpage
This session and the quick start guide answered all the questions I had about RSS and gave me new ideas on how to use it for myself and in education.

I went to a few other sessions and learned some more stuff, but I haven't had a chance to delve to deeply into it all yet. As I do I'll publish my findings here.

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