Thursday, August 27, 2009


Thanks to traffic, I arrive about 15 minutes late for the 9:30 Anerian teleconference. Amanda likes my suggestions for (1) a "buddy system" to get more of the faculty proficient in Blackboard and (2) that she should compile an online hyperlinked version of her already planned "one-pager" summarizing everyone's summer projects.

Videographer Corrie, also from Anerian, shoots me in the early afternoon, tells me to look straight into the camera while answering her questions. Unfortunately I forget to smile. Hopefully she will be able to salvage 60 seconds of usable footage out of my mound of blather.

In answering Corrie's questions I improvise, putting into words what I have been half thinking all summer: that if the didactic part of teaching ("schoolwork") can be offloaded to videos viewed at home, and if "homework" can be done at school, then every student will have an improved ability to tailor the pace to his own needs. Perhaps I flatter myself, but I think that even a mediocre video is more engaging than a textbook. A student who needs little in the way of explanations or examples can skip over part of the video, avoiding boredom, and a student who needs a second or third shot at getting the concepts can replay the video without embarrassment. Then, in class, we can have discussions, moderated problem-solving, and educational games without having to worry about, heaven forbid, missing out on "course material." I'm surely not the first person to have this idea (schoolwork at home, homework at school), but I'm excited that technology now makes it realistic for me to experiment with the idea. I can certainly try it out this fall and see how the boys respond.

My old rollaway laptop cart, still housed in SB-302, needs to be moved to my new office. I am surprised to find two compartments unlocked and mostly empty, two other compartments locked and completely empty. This is shocking, since I thought I had left a dozen or more obsolete 1980s computers in the cart two years ago when construction began. Must check other locations at home; maybe I brought some of the little beasties home and forgot. I used to use them in class, but with the disruption caused by the construction, I have hardly used any of them (except for Smokey, of course) during the last two school years.

While moving the cart to MH-104 and relocking it, I bash up my thumb. I wander throughout the entire school until finally finding a first aid station in the True-Lucas building.

Later in the day, I manage to assemble my sixth video in the series, Topic #3C. Alas, this will probably be the last one for the summer, since my wife has a ton of projects that I need to complete before the school year begins.

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