Sunday, September 04, 2005

Fall Stories 

September's still summer but the nights are like Fall...
- Girlyman, Fall Stories

The best of intentions can get you pretty far when you've got the freedom to direct yourself. Life at the newschool continues to rock in all ways: the kids are high-energy and hilarious as only seventh and eighth graders can be; the teachers are friendly and eager for my integrative interpretation and instructional partnerships; the administration continues to check in primarily to reinforce that I'm doing great and publically visible work, and are you sure you're not in over your head?

Even those areas most vague in their expected implementation seem to be moving along faster than anyone expected, and mostly at my urging. Set up a social bookmark cluster for my co-integrators at other schools to share ideas and resources, and recieved much hurrahs in response for bringing 21st century technology to the service of our 21st century mandate. Looks like I'm in the right place at the right time.

On the other hand, of course, though you can pick your own surfboard and learn to ride with aplomb, no one can manage the waves. Major scare over the past few days as the house-to-be became a house that might not be; it's a long story involving an insane seller's agent and her extraordinarily stupid secretary, but the short version includes a hectic drive to Boston and back through Friday afternoon rush hour traffic on Labor day, and the horrifying realization that, until next Tuesday at the earliest, it is still perfectly legal for the sellers to decide that they'd rather sell the house to someone else.

Similarly, teaching in the only air-conditioned classroom in the building mitigates the low-tech computing inside, but it won't for long -- though my primary goal (teaching about computing's place in student's lives, and ultimately establishing a platform for them to better adapt to newer technologies as yet unrecognized) can be taught with any PC, it's harder to keep the kids on your side when you know, and they know, that the computers you're teaching them on are a bit too old to really support the best of what they could be doing. Teachers cite the lack of projectors and reliable computers as the primary obstacle to integration, and I may not be able to do much about either for a while.

Short-term solution for both constituencies, then, will include teaching them about how far computers have come in the last three decades, and how to identify the standard signals of computing -- title bars, windows, iconography, et. al. -- that will likely remain in place as long as we continue to use visual interfaces. At least they can do better with what they have. Oh, and hoorah for early adopters -- I'll be in all seventh grade math classrooms next week turning a jumping-jack tracking exercize into a lesson on both excel and, more importantly, the various ways to represent date and how to select the best representation for a given data-set and audience.

The horizon holds the potential for Tsunamis as always: politically, a district vote for building a new high school could create an easy excuse to withhold funding for technology growth in the schools, while the usual teacher busy-ness is a perennial stumbling block to my work. The world could end, of course, as it always can. The house could burn.

But life is good. I become the whirlwind once again, and embrace the winds of change whipping around me as best as I am able. The horizon looks sunny and clean, and so we move forward as if the world was eternal; build sand castles, design and build better surfboards, keep our beaches combed.

And I place my trust in God that no real estate agent would be so dumb as to cost her sellers an easy and eager sale just becuse her secretary can't figure out that crossing off all menu items but one in a draft Purchase and Sale agreement means we agree to the one item remaining.

posted by boyhowdy | 11:18 AM |

Hey, you have a great blog here!

Just thought I would check out your blog and say hello to as many people as I can.

I have a computer sale business site. It pretty much covers ##COMPUTER## related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time.

Thanks again
Post a Comment
coming soon
now listening