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May 29, 2002

Today in Tyler

The day began at 4AM when a wild thunderstorm woke me (and everyone else) up completely. Apparently this was a more dazzling storm than usual here and it was all the more impressive to this storm-deprived Californian. Another wave of lightning came through an hour later, just when I was dozing off again.

When I got to the school to do the workshop, the electricity had been knocked out by the storm and the router, the wireless access point and all the laptops had to be rebooted to re-establish the internet connection. There was a techie there to help out (the only other male in the whole building) and in hooking up the instructor laptop he knocked the brand new DLP data projector onto the floor. I watched him age 10 years in 2 seconds as he tried to squeeze the projector back together where it had split at the seams. Fortunately, everything worked. I hate to imagine what I would have done for a day without a projector.

workshopThis workshop was a challenge. The people who brought me in wanted the workshop to be about the Taskonomy as a way to describe learning tasks in general, not just as a way to build better WebQuests. The real monkey wrench came when the principal directed me to make sure that I portrayed Retelling as a perfectly good instructional strategy when I'm much more accustomed to describing it as the AntiWebQuest, as something not worth doing with technology.

I had all 30 teachers from the school there, but none had ever built a web page. They know Word and PowerPoint, and I was there to get them thinking about better tasks that they will at some point do with technology. It was not the usual sequence and though the workshop went pretty well, it felt strange.

maxwell bookThe drive back to DFW was quieter than yesterday. The driver was involved in a couple of multi-level marketing programs and was excited about the book he had in the front seat: The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell. I skimmed through it for awhile and it seemed readable and useful. Now that I'm home, I've learned from the Amazon page that this book has sold over 700,000 copies. My radar doesn't beam into the Leadership realm much, obviously, or I would have heard of the book and author before. I tipped the driver enough to buy himself another new book.