Thank you, MACUL 2024!

Visit us at Booth 237 for a free cup of coffee!

We had a blast with you all in Grand Rapids! Below, we have made all of our session slide decks available; feel free to share them with colleagues who could not attend MACUL, and please reach out to Michigan Virtual if we can support your school community with professional learning, artificial intelligence guidance, or school consulting services!

If you need a pick-me-up at any point during the conference, drop by Booth 237 in the Exhibit Hall for a free cup of coffee or tea. Over in Grand Gallery C, we’ll also be hosting the following tip-filled sessions on effective practices for online and blended teaching, so be sure to check those out!

* While supplies last.


Wednesday, March 13

From Vision to Reality: Cultivating and Pitching Your Innovative Education Ideas

1 p.m. — Scott Watkins | Grand Overlook DThrough a systematic approach led by innovation leaders from Michigan Virtual, attendees will assess the feasibility of their ideas, gather constructive feedback, and learn to craft compelling pitches, empowering them to transform innovative concepts into impactful solutions for classrooms across the state.

Thursday, March 14 | Grand Gallery C

[At Least 18] Tech Tools for Your 2024 Classroom

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. — Emily Sicilia Back by popular demand for a fourth year! Join us for the jam-packed session that shares the latest tech tools you can use to engage and assess your students. You will be introduced to at least 18 innovative tech tools that can help you personalize learning in your classroom and better serve your students (and maybe even make your life easier). This session offers opportunities for exploration and discussion about how you can intentionally integrate tools in your classroom to promote student success.

From Traditional to Transformative: Innovations in Professional Learning

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. — Anne Perez Join us as we uncover what educators in Michigan want and need in a professional learning experience and showcase innovations that have led to successful teaching and learning outcomes. During this session, you’ll discover how leveraging pop culture can captivate educators, understand the significance of offering choice, and consider the importance of flexibility in professional learning. We'll share key takeaways from our findings and practical ideas to engage your staff effectively. Leave inspired and equipped to create a professional learning culture where innovation and excellence thrive hand in hand!

Online Teaching and Learning Microcredential Courses by Michigan Virtual

2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. — Holly Boleski, Christy Trombetta Explore our Online Teaching & Learning professional learning series to support educators transitioning from emergency remote learning to high-quality online instruction. With eight expert-designed courses aligned with National Standards for Quality Online Learning, educators gain the skills and micro-credentials necessary to confidently navigate virtual classrooms. This series not only enhances teaching capacity but also provides educators with tangible credentials to showcase their expertise in online instruction on various platforms.

The AI Integrated Classroom

4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. — Justin Bruno This session delves into the transformative impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on education, highlighting its potential for personalized learning while addressing challenges such as data privacy and bias. Attendees will participate in discussions on ethical considerations and teacher-AI collaboration, gaining practical strategies to integrate AI into their classrooms. Through concrete examples and case studies, educators will gain insights into successful AI integration, fostering a vision of technology and human ingenuity redefining the educational landscape.

Friday, March 15 | Grand Gallery C

Inclusive Engagement: Using Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to Spark Excitement, Tackle Challenges, and Motivate Learners

10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. — Danielle Peck Are you searching for new ways to spark curiosity and encourage sustained motivation in your classroom? Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, might be just what you’re looking for. In this session, you’ll gain an introductory understanding of UDL and its equitable framework for engaging all learners. You’ll also learn about tech tools you can use to increase options for engagement, ensuring every one of your students is invested in what they’re learning. Walk away from our session with strategies that you can add to your classroom to transform your practice immediately.

Beyond the Screen: Transformative Strategies for Online Education

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. — Kristen DeBruler Join the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute (MVLRI) as they present their empirical research findings on online and blended learning. The session will focus on relevant and actionable research findings specific to student engagement in online settings, effective practices in teacher professional development for online education, and leadership strategies for the virtual realm. The presentation will conclude with an interactive discussion with MVLRI researchers, allowing attendees to ask questions and share insights. This is a valuable opportunity for those looking to understand and improve the effectiveness of online and blended learning programs.

Building a Communicative World Language Course

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. — Kimberly Garvison, Erica De SousaIn today's digital age, the realm of education is continuously evolving, especially when it comes to language learning. This presentation will delve into the exciting realm of creating asynchronous communicative world language courses. Our primary focus will be on Instructional Design principles, course structure rationale, strategies for implementing communicative instruction using storytelling, technology tools, and the art of fostering active, engaged learners through language acquisition instruction and topics relevant to learners.

6 must-know online summer learning options for Michiganders with K-12 students

As summer approaches, educators and school leaders are often on the lookout for engaging and innovative learning opportunities to recommend to families in their community or to consider for their own children. 

Michigan Virtual offers an extensive range of flexible online summer courses, camps, and programs that can easily fit into busy summer schedules. 

In this blog post, we explore six exciting virtual summer learning options that every Michigander with K-12 students should know about.

Note: If you’re a school leader interested in offering these options to families in your community, visit this page for more information.

150+ online summer courses taught by Michigan teachers (Grades 9-12)

Michigan Virtual offers over 150 online high school courses over the summer taught by Michigan-certified instructors. 

These 10-week courses cover core subjects and intriguing electives such as Archaeology, Astronomy, Film Studies, and Introduction to Artificial Intelligence. 

The courses are self-paced, making them perfect for students with busy summer schedules. 

Many schools accept Michigan Virtual’s summer courses for credit, but families should always check with their school counselor first to make sure! 

Live coding & game design camps (Ages 8-14)

These 4-day live online coding and game design camps from Michigan Virtual and WizKid Learning offer opportunities for students to make friends while learning new skills. 

Four upcoming camps will be held in July/early August:

Kids who’ve taken these camps reported to parents that they were super informative AND a blast. 

Introduction to esports course (Grades 6-12)

Do your students play Fortnite, League of Legends, Overwatch, Super Smash Brothers, Mario Kart, or Rocket League? 

These are just a few popular games in the billion-dollar (and rapidly expanding!) esports industry

This non-credit bearing, introductory course provides students with the foundational skills to thrive in this exciting new world, including:

  • A look into the art and design that goes into a video game
  • Why caring for your mental and physical health matters 
  • What goes behind advertising and content creation
  • Career pathways and transferable 21st-century skill-building.

For just $39.99, students gain access to exciting lesson content and recordings with industry leaders in esports!

Online credit recovery courses (Grades 9-12)

Michigan Virtual’s online credit recovery courses are an excellent option for students struggling with a subject and needing extra support to catch up. 

Each course is taught by a highly-qualified, Michigan-certified teacher endorsed in the subject area and grade level related to students’ credit recovery needs. 

Free personalized math lessons with EdReady Math (Grades 4-12)

EdReady Math is a free program that diagnoses a student’s current math proficiency and generates a personalized lesson playlist to help them improve. 

It’s perfect for students in grades 4-12 working on math skills, whether they’re struggling, at grade level, or ahead of the curve.

Free college-level English preparation with EdReady English (Grades 8-12)

EdReady English is a free program that helps students in grades 8-12 master critical skills and concepts to prepare for college-level English. 

With personalized lessons, students can work at their own pace from anywhere with an internet connection. 

EdReady English diagnoses a student’s current level of proficiency and creates a personalized lesson plan to help them master essential skills. 

Meet Our Presenters

Ken Dirkin

Ken Dirkin

For over 15 years, Ken Dirkin has been innovating in education by creating technology solutions to help humans be better humans. Today, Ken serves as the senior director of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute. Working with virtual worlds, mobile apps, and new technology, Ken is driven to decrease physical barriers in education and make learning more engaging and equitable. Ken’s energy is generated by work in education technology and the possibilities of unlocking human potential through innovation. He lives with his awesome wife (Hi Kathy!), his #girlpower daughter, son, and happy dogs.

katie hansen photo

Katie Hansen

Katie joined the Michigan Virtual staff as a full-time Business Instructor in 2018. She has a bachelor’s degree in business secondary education from Western Michigan University. Prior to working for Michigan Virtual, Katie spent 7 years teaching business courses in face-to-face classrooms. Outside of the classroom, Katie can almost always be found spending time with her husband, daughter and two dogs.

Holly Boleski

Holly Boleski

Holly started working at Michigan Virtual as an instructor in our science department in 2013. In this time, she developed a passion for sharing best practices in online instruction with her fellow teachers as well as growing her student’s capacity for working successfully in an online environment. In 2019 she started working with the instructors in our Collaborative Partnerships and now enjoys supporting online teachers from all over the state! Holly is also a Google Certified Trainer. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Oakland University (Go Grizzlies!) and her master’s degree in teaching from Wayne State University. Along with having a passion for teaching and science, she enjoys traveling, gardening, going to the gym, and spending time with my family.

Christy Trombetta Photo

Christy Trombetta

Christy joined the Michigan Virtual team in 2018 as a math instructor. She spent nearly 15 years prior teaching in face-to-face and online programs and also served as a math instructional coach. She has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics secondary education from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree in mathematics from Eastern Michigan University. Christy believes strongly in the power of a growth mindset in and out of the classroom and utilizes these principles to support instructors and students in the online classroom. Outside of the classroom, Christy can be found spending time with her husband and four children, attending sporting events, and reading.

kristen boduch

Kristen Boduch

Kristen has been an online and face-to-face Social Studies instructor since 2006. She received her undergraduate degree from Eastern Michigan University in social studies and her master’s degree from Concordia University in educational leadership and administration. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her daughter and husband, attending University of Michigan sporting events (Go Blue!), and going to the lake/beach.

photo of Danielle Peck

Danielle Peck

Danielle comes to Michigan Virtual’s professional learning services team with over a decade of experience teaching in the classroom. She is passionate about collaborating with educators to create and implement instructional practices that are transformative and liberating. Danielle is a graduate of Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in English and history and a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. In her free time, she enjoys reading, acting, crafting, and spending time with her family.


Anne Perez

Anne is joining Michigan Virtual after fifteen years of classroom teaching. Anne’s experiences in diverse classroom settings have shaped her desire to continuously learn with and from others. She enjoys mentoring educators, problem-solving curriculum issues, and learning best practices, so her work with the Professional Learning Specialists team puts her passion into daily practice. At home, Anne and her husband have three children who keep their evenings full of sports practices and visits to the playground.

Emily Sicilia

Emily Sicilia

Emily comes to the Professional Learning Services team from a myriad of experiences. Having taught in elementary, middle and high schools, with a focus on literacy, she is happy to be having a new adventure with Michigan Virtual. Emily enjoys connecting with and learning from fellow educators, as well as learning new strategies to engage students and improve instruction. When she does not have her nose in a book, she is spending time with her husband and two sons, either attending MSU basketball games or playing in Lake Michigan.

Hannah Bur

Hannah Bur

Hannah joined Michigan Virtual in 2016 as an iEducator. She teaches many different courses as a member of the science department. Hannah is a graduate of Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, a minor in chemistry and specialization in global education. Hannah studied education in China and she hopes to keep traveling around the world. She currently resides in Kalamazoo with her husband. In her spare time, she loves to follow sports, read and cook!

Andrea McKay

Andrea McKay

As an educational leader and learner, Andrea has taught in many environments – face-to-face, blended/hybrid, and fully online. Andrea currently serves as the Director of Instruction, a position that allows her to support and empower an incredible team of teachers who teach online students all over Michigan. Andrea is inspired to work for a non-profit organization where so many employees are impassioned to create positive change in learning and education. One of her key values is ‘making a difference,’ and Michigan Virtual has given her the opportunity to do so for teachers and students around the state.

Angela Shields

Angela Shields

Angela possesses over 15 years of experience as a sales and marketing professional armed with strong communication and interpersonal skills. She has broad sales experience from careers within the pharmaceutical, publishing and educational organizations supported by a Bachelor of Arts in advertising from Hampton University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Angela is adept at creating well-designed solutions for clients to address complex problems, along with excellent analytical and organizational skills that support risk-taking and new business development. She excels at creating and managing business relationships ensuring mutually beneficial results for her clients and the company. Angela is also a dynamic speaker with strong presentation skills to deliver maximum impact to any audience.

Lori Coyle

Lori Coyle

Lori has been teaching social studies for over 10 years. She has experience teaching in the traditional classroom setting as well as online. She earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary teaching and master’s degree in educational media and technology from Eastern Michigan University. Outside of teaching, Lori enjoys spending time with family, gardening and cooking.

Innovative educators wanted! Win up to $10,000 in the 2024 EdTech Pitch Contest.

Do you have an innovative idea for the next big edtech tool?

If you’ve got a brilliant idea for an edtech tool that could transform teaching or learning, submit your pitch to the 2023 EdTech Pitch Contest. Winners will receive expert guidance and financial support to help turn their concept into a reality.

You may or may not think of yourself as an entrepreneur. But consider this: who’s better equipped than those already within our education system to invent creative solutions to the problems they experience on a daily basis?

Official Rules & Guidelines

what's your dream pd plan?

Seriously, if you had to design your ideal PD plan, what would it look like? Would you want more options? More relevancy to your students? More flexibility? The opportunity to learn from home?

With over 200 online PD courses and face-to-face training options, our goal is to empower you to take your teaching to the next level on a schedule that works for you. 

Thank you for visiting us at MACUL 2023!

Grab your slide decks from our sessions below!

If you need a pick-me-up at any point during the conference, drop by Booth 419 in the Exhibit Hall for free coffee or tea. Over in Room 252A, we’ll also be hosting the following tip-filled sessions on effective practices for online and blended teaching.

* While supplies last.