Blog Post

MCTM Conference Wrap-Up and Evaluation

This year I went to the Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) Summer Conference and Institute in Traverse City, MI.  It was my first year attending the statewide conference and my first time ever driving to Traverse City.

Overall, the conference was a good and very profitable experience.  I learned a lot from the presenters.  The sessions that I attended include:

 ·         Why People Trust Statistics

 ·         Free Algebra II Moodle Course

 ·         Parametrics: One of the calculator’s most robust and lesser used modes

I also presented during two sessions:

·         Teaching Important Concepts through the Use of Games in the Classroom

·         College Math Curriculum – It is Changing!

And I learned a lot from the vendors and exhibitors as well.  As a college instructor, sometimes I feel as if I get more from the vendors than from the presenters.  This is because I get to hear about all of the newest books, software, and products and then I can pass that information on to my Math for Education students as well.  A few of the exhibitors were generous enough to provide free products for my entire class of students for the upcoming fall semester.

The parts that I didn’t like about the conference are the following:

·         The keynote addresses should be before lunch, not after lunch.  It’s really not the best idea to feed people a big lunch and then have them sit in a very dark room to listen to a very long and very long-winded keynote address.

 ·         Do not do the keynote address via Skype.  Skype is fine for a small audience, but not for an auditorium full of people.  By the way, when Skype failed, they used a speakerphone with a microphone put up to it.  I had a splitting headache the rest of the afternoon from the feedback.

 ·         The building needs to have air conditioning.  I know that the conference is at a high school in Traverse City, MI in the middle of the summer and so air conditioning might not be an option.  But in this case, a change of location needs to be considered.

 ·         There need to be computers available to the presenters with hard-wired Internet.  I was unable to show my website with slides and resources to the participants in my session because the wireless Internet was a fail because it logged me out every time my laptop went into sleep mode.

 ·        There was not much of a sense of community built among the conference participants.  I would have liked to have seen a few conference-organized leisure activities.  Instead, we were given a list of things to do in Traverse City with little to no guidance beyond that.

Despite my laundry list of complaints, I would definitely go to the MCTM Conference again next year.

By Jon Oaks

College Math Instructor. Tech Enthusiast. Visionary. Creative Genius. But above all, I enjoy what I do. That is why I am a teacher. Because I like to teach.

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