MACE: My favorite nerds

by Steve Wyckoff on March 9, 2010

Last week was a hectic week but it ended on a positive note. I got to attend MACE, that stands for Mid America Computers in Education, in Manhattan Kansas. MACE is always one of my favorite conferences to attend, not so much for the presentations but for the people. You see, MACE attract some of the most innovative, and creative, nerd wannabes around the state. For the most part they’re classroom teachers who are figuring out new and unique ways to use technology in their classrooms.

Typically, the presentations aren’t always the best, but I appreciate how many of these individuals are teachers taking a risk to stand in front of their peers and present. Many for the first time. The kinds of things they are doing in their classroom won’t get the attention of Bill Gates, they are swimming upstream against the system and for that they deserve a lot of credit.

MACE is always well run and the location on the campus of Kansas State University is beautiful. But I’m still most impressed with the enthusiasm, creativity, and innovation that the educators present are demonstrating. I wish, for the sake of all these individuals, their efforts were leading to more systemic change. Unfortunately there isn’t much of that going on in education today. You see very few administrators, principals or superintendents, at MACE. That’s a shame because they could learn a lot.

The good news is you hear very little, if any, discussion about raising standardized test scores. The bad news is conferences that don’t focus on standardized test scores don’t get very much attention. Focusing on standardized test scores is politically valuable, focusing on the stuff that the educators present at MACE focus on  means better educated kids. Unfortunately, in schools today we’re more interested in raising test scores than we are in providing a better educational experience for kids. If test scores did as much to prepare kids for the 21st century as do the educators at MACE public education would be in a lot better shape. – Steve Wyckoff

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