Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How You Blog WKUWP23

I have pulled a few posts randomly from the WKUWP23blogs as just a light sample of your work.  Very cool, toes dipped in the cold, but glorious tech water.  Now...just jump in. 

Affordability-Pork is cheaper than steak. Period. With that, it’s much more likely that I would partake of a culinary wonder drenched in a heavenly sauce from a man selling pork out the back of his van than going to Chez Snooty’s and enjoying steak au poivre with grilled asparagus and mashed cauliflower with a balsamic reduction. Give me a beer and a few ribs and I will be a much happier man.  Alex
Memos from the Conference Room » Thoughts on Pig Meat

morning. We have had a very active morning, learning more about
technology. I didn’t know that there were so many things that you can
do on the computer. I thought that I knew things about computers, but
then I met Terry. WOW. It will take the rest of the writing project to
digest the things he told us this morning. Amy
My Blog » Blog Archive » June 6, 2008

My writing was
abruptly put on hold while my children were little. Thoughts were still
scribbled onto paper-ideas for a story or a poem. Once I shared my
writing with my husband, who did not appreciate them at all. He thought
writing was a waste of time and made me feel like why anyone would want
to read my words. So my words were locked away for several years.Years
flew by and the children grew. I soon found my self to be a single mom
struggling to make ends meet starting college for the first time. In a
class, I was asked to write. My teacher was as old as the hills; yet
unlike another teacher long ago, this lady told me I had a gift. And to
unlock my heart and let my worlds flow.  Nancy D
My Blog

Yesterday I
was a little overwhelmed with all the information we received and I was
simply amazed by the fact that I now have a blog site. I was so amazed
that I forgot to really mention anything about me. My name is Hanna
Gill and I am 26 years old. I will be starting my fourth year of
teaching in August at Butler County High School where I teach
English/Journalism/Leadership. I am currently a member of the Writing
Project at WKU and I feel so blessed to be here. This is an amazing
experience. I am excited to learn all these new things that I can take
back to my students and pass on to them.  Hanna
Life Has its Moments » About me… 

first week of the writing project has flown by! Many new friends and
colleagues to share experiences and apprehensions. Tons of technology
paths to remember.. is there a techno mapquest? If so, sign me up.I
know how my students feel when I introduce a new concept and expect
them to wrap their little brains around it post haste. So, in a way, I
have “been in their shoes.” This is an important experience for me,
because now I can empathize with their wide eyes and overloaded brain
cells.So much for the first week. Bring on the potluck!  Kim
Blah Blah Blog » tgif

everyone! This is day four of the writing project. So far, it has been
a jam-packed experience full of information, technology, sharing, food,
and fun times. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the time here
this summer! I’m sure I’m going to learn so many valuable things I can
take back with me to share with my school!Now, for a little bit of
information about me. I have never had a blog before. It’s something
new and exciting, and a little bit scary at the same time. We’ll see
how it goes… :) Some more info…I’ll be teaching at Edmonson County High
School this coming school year. I’m so excited! Here’s the school
website. Leanne
My Blog » Blog Archive » Writing Project, Day4

One of the
first memories I recall regarding writing involves a snowy Christmas
morning during my preteen years. For some reason, I had convinced
myself and apparently Santa, a.k.a. - my mother, that I needed a diary.
I had deceived myself into thinking I needed a secure location to store
all the secrets a 12-year-old girl could gather. The diary was found
under the Christmas tree that year, and the rest is history. This
inexpensive treasure was the catalyst for a life-long love affair with
writing. From that point in my life, I have always surrounded myself
with some type of journal and all the essential tools required to be
the owner of one. Rita
My Blog » Blog Archive » My First Blog

Okay, I
am leaping, I am jumping from blog reader to blog writer. This is a
surprising part of Writing Project 23. I didn’t know how much I would
get to learn about technology. I am pretty technology aware, I’m not a
novice, but I’m not distinguished either. Great chance to learn
more.I’m really enjoying NWP interactive. There are some amazing pieces
posted there. I think I am getting addicted.I may even get my own
weather blog, just like John Belski! Weather is another one of my
passions!  Sherri B
My Blog » Blog Archive » Jumping In

Well today
completes my first full week with the writing project. I am excited by
all that I have learned during my journey this week but am exhausted
from all the late night reading and writing I so willingly did. I am
charged with the same excitement I remember from my first college days.
Today Terry Elliott caught up with us again and gave us more info on
how to manage the blogs he helped us to create. My notes seemed so
clear as I was jotting down each new website or tool he mentioned, but
I am concerned it may all look like greek to me later when I finally
get a chance to really try it out. I’m so glad to have a resource for
managing the blog and look forward to learning more from him! Once
again we were given time to work on writing and/or reading projects, so
my partner and I worked on our demonstration project for Monday. We
really polished it up, and I feel much more comfortable with presenting
on Monday. We stopped for a delicious pot luck lunch and then headed
over to the WKU Library & Museum. What fascinating history! I
really enjoyed seeing the snapshots of the past and their connections
with the present. As week one comes to a close, I look forward to
stopping for some R&R over the weekend. Until next week…  Sherri D
My Blog » June, 6, 2008- Day 6 of WKU Writing Project

Do you
ever wonder how hot summer weather and colds go together? Pondering on
this idea since about 2am I wonder WHY they go together so well? Trying
not to turn our house into an igloo (so I can breathe) and yet when I
step outside to view the Tractor Parade in a few minutes- I won’t be
able to breathe there either. So many things go together hot/cold: pie
and ice cream, snow and hot cocoa, well you begin to understand.What
does not go together…summer weather and colds. Sherri P
Pryor Writing » Blog Archive » Hot and Cold

This is my new blog page—Wow!! I am soooooooooo proud!! This is the
fourth day of the Writing Project—it is so very exciting. We are all
learning so much and sharing reading, writing, and just life in
general. It is such a joy to be here. I’m not too good with tech
stuff!! But, this is so awesome!!  Veronica M
My Blog » Blog Archive » First Posting

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Complexity is a Bitch! Root hog, or die!

I wrote this as a comment in Will Richardson's Weblogged as a response to a post about change in education. 

Humans as a race have always found a way to adapt.  That is a very fair statement and one backed up by evolutionary history and biology.  Our many-layered brain is a physical text of this adaptation. Given this premise the question remains: how will we adapt?  More specifically, how will teachers adapt to this changing environment.  We can continue to game and tweak the status quo.  We can strike out toward some new 'thing' that we cannot call 'school' but can claim is learning.  Or we can do both:  lay tracks for the new right next to the old. Or we can try a million other new new things. Nicholas Taleb says that the only certainty in these scenarios is that we cannot predict which one of these new parallel tracks will be the right one.  In other words, what we as teachers need to do is to remain learners, to be bloodhounds for this new scent, and to be ready to try on and cast off many of the trails we discover before we find one that works for our learners.  And then keep doing that.

It means (to switch metaphors) that we need to value the adaptive over the institutional model. An adaptive teaching model in our current predicament most probably requires a wildly adaptable institutional model.  We need a  way that says the only charter a school needs is to help its students learn and to be accountable in some reasonable way for that learning. What we need is a way to make schools-of-one just as viable as schools-of-many.  What we need is a world full of learning brokers or coaches or entrepreneurs or what-have-ye who can coggle together a virtual architecture of formal and informal systems to help us learn. 

I can think of two examples that exemplify this:  Ravelry and Stronglifts.  These are both 'convivial' tools in the best Illich-ian sense.  The former is a knitting site that is so much more.  It is a school where you can learn to knit.  It is a place to teach others.  It is a place to ask questions and provide answers.  It is formal (the site has a structure and rules) but it is also informal (the site has as many forum on as many topics as can be imagined).  My wife is a better knitter because of it.  Plus, she is now much better versed in the tools of our socially networked metaverse.

The latter, stronglifts, is a personal training website specializing in showing its participants how to get stronger.  I have been reading this site from its inception where it has gone from zero to 15,000 subscribers in a year.  Its owner/blogger/manager is a Belgian named Mehdi.  Recently, he started doing personal training.  One might well ask how someone can teach weight lifting over the web.  He combines some old school and some new.  He has a forum on his website run on good ol' phpbb.  He has a paying forum within that site for his students.  In this weight lifting academy he has individual training logs for each student.  I keep diet and training logs every day or nearly so and he comments daily.  The most interesting part is that I make videos of myself as I lift and then upload them to YouTube.  I mark them private and send a share invite to him.  He watches the vids and makes suggestions.  This dance of feedback and change works for me (although he is a fierce taskmaster whom I have nicknamed Torquemada). 

Root hog or die.  That's what one of my music acquaintences, Mojo Nixon says.  I know that this is hard.  I spent $150 on gas last week for my various vehicles.  I am going to have to learn how to reduce this burden or find other work, but I am already moving towards that change on several fronts.  What I am saying is that school can no longer afford to look like it does any more than I can tolerate 30% increases in transportation each year.     Garmston's suggestions in your post, Will, are all well and good, but I don't think most folks will tolerate the consequences that flow from it.  It's like the suggestions in the new book, Brain Rules.  We know what we ought, yet we do not.  I do believe that as our affordances change so too will the ways out.  Just like a real hog, schools will find a way, but I guarantee you that they will appear to us in ways that are unexpected, new, surprising, and perhaps both better and worse than what we now have.  Complexity is a bitch.  Get over it.