June 28, 2005

QuestGarden Unveiled

Had a sitting-on-the-floor turnout for my session here at NECC, Overcoming Obstacles to Quicker WebQuest Creation. Seems as though much of it resonated with the group. The basic message: creating a great WebQuest the usual way takes too long. We need a better way. So I showed the new authoring environment that will be generally available on September 1. Lots of interest generated. I think I'm on the right track for once.

Powerpoint slides are available here. The archived webcast will be available here tomorrow, they say. People are blogging the conference here.

I'm cooling my jets for a few minutes. June and Alex took the train out to Lancaster to see cousin Kath. They'll be back soon and then we head out to the airport for a night flight to Madrid!


June 27, 2005

Measuring What's Actually Important

This is worth knowing about. A group calling itself the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has come out with a report calling for better measurement of things like thinking skills, ability to solve complex problems, information management and presentation, etc. More and more it's becoming clear that the era of high stakes testing is leading us to ignore the skills that will keep up competitive in this new century. It's going to take another Sputnik-like event, perhaps a Chinese moon landing, to shake Americans out of their complacency. This group adds a new voice to push in the right direction. More info here from eSchool News.

June 25, 2005

Caution: I Brake for Martians

After a pleasant day giving a workshop in Warren County New Jersey, June, Alex and I took the scenic route as we headed south to Philadelphia. The back roads are a lot more interesting than the I-95, and as a bonus we got to visit the Martian Landing Spot in Grovers Mills, a dot on the map near Princeton made famous by Orson Wells in his The 1938 broadcast. We weren't expecting much, and that's what we got: a nicely done plaque at the edge of a deserted park. We'll file this away in our memories along with the trip to Roswell in 1998.


June 13, 2005

Brothers Reunited

God, can it really be 35 years since I graduated from WPI? Apparently so, and to celebrate our collective shock a crowd gathered in Worcester for a fabulous reunion. I hadn't been back for these things since the late Disco years, so it was great to see the new versions of some old familiar faces. We all skipped the formal reunion activities and made our own fun with just the members of Sigma Pi Fraternity.

After a few hours of chat, we walked down to the house at 17 Dean Street which is still boarded up after a fire last year. The active brothers opened it up for us so that we could poke through the rubble and revisit the scene of our Nixon-era crimes and triumphs. After that, a meal at The Boynton, drinks and ear damage at Leitrim's Pub, and dessert at Cafe Dolce.

June and I were only there for essentially one day, but I'm so glad we went. I don't think we'll wait another 35 years to do it again.

Click here for a larger version of the group shot, and here for a slideshow.


June 10, 2005

Catchup Blog Entry

Bless me reader, for I have sinned. It's been four weeks since my last blogging. Too busy doing bloggable things to actually write anything down. To break the fast, I'm just going to list and point and that will have to be that.

After Florianopolis, June and I went on to S?o Paulo for another presentation and a day long WebQuest workshop. It was so great to reconnect with old friends like Luciano, Seabra and Marta, and to meet people like Barbara Dieu who I had only known before online. Jarbas took us to the old public mercado which was filled with great photo opportunities, and while I was doing the workshop, SENAC arranged for June to have a professionally guided tour of the city. She saw things that I've never been to in any of my four visits. There's a slide show here.

The day after we got back from Brazil, it was time for graduation and all the usual congratulations and goodbyes.

The day after that, I started a four day workshop for faculty at SDSU which covered blogging, RSS, WebQuests, video poetry, wikis, digital storytelling, all kinds of stuff. It was great fun and went quite well. It was put together by a team that included Bob Hoffman on our EDTEC faculty and the famous Alan Levine at the Maricopa Community College system. We managed to design the workshop collectively using Skype and email without ever getting together face to face. One lasting residue of the workshop is a set of tool sheets that provide quick summaries and starting points for these new technologies for teaching.

A week later, a whole platoon of faculty and deans visited Apple for discussions about how technology can help us reinvent what we're doing as a College. Some secret stuff was shared, enough to make me glad to have kept the Apple faith even through the bad years.

And in between all that, I've been working on my own secret project which will be rolled out at NECC on June 28. Lots going on!