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July 30, 2003

Live from North Dakota

I'm spending this week in Minot, hosted by Craig Nansen. Craig is a major contributor to the EDTECH discussion list, so I felt as though I'd already known him forever when I came out here for the first time last year. He has a crew of technology support teachers that work with the schools in Minot Public Schools and they are absolutely terrific.

Minot is a nice little city. Craig proudly toured me arround when I arrived on Sunday. People don't lock their doors. Kids play in the parks late at night and their parents don't need to worry about what might happen to them. There's a Scandanavian Heritage Park that brings together all things Norwegian and Swedish, and a huge Norsk Hostfest in October that I hope to see someday.

I'm here to give a five-day workshop that Craig rounded up funding for. We have 18 teachers here from Minot, Bismarck, Grand Forks and Williston and they've been hard at work all week. The goal is to create a stellar set of WebQuests that focus on the Lewis and Clark expedition. With the bicentennial coming up soon, there is a lot of attention being paid to this and lots of raw material to work with.

We got started on Monday and generated a lot of ideas. Then on Tuesday we piled into two vans and toured Fort Mandan, where Lewis and Clark wintered, and the Knife River Villages nearby, where Sacagawea lived before joining the trip. We took lots of pictures and got a snootful of history so that by Wednesday everyone's heads were buzzing with possibilities.

And that's where it stands. Friday afternoon we'll have a showcase of 6 new WebQuests in pretty complete draft form. With a bit more polishing and fleshing out over the next few months, I know we're going to have some dazzling work to share. Pretty cool!