Colin's Sandbox


by on May.22, 2013, under #oltak, ramblings

salutationsI picked this picture out because I’m not afraid any longer to admit that Charlotte’s Web, the 1973 animated feature, holds a special place in my heart.  I don’t have anything special for pigs necessarily, no matter how cute and adorable.  Against my better interests and frequent attempts not to, I do eat bacon and sausage.  Like a pig, I can sometimes be seen rolling around in muck as well in the pursuit of what may be called “yardwork”. What’s special is the way that Wilbur greets others, openly, without pretense, willing to interact for the betterment of both conversational participants.   I think that is something to strive for in life.

I am happily enrolled as a student in the M.Ed. Ed. Tech program at University of Alaska Southeast.  I did my undergraduate work at Virginia Tech, graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering one extremely hot day back in 1999 and then while the degree was still hot off the presses I bounced around for a few years around the country before ending up here in Juneau.  For almost the past decade I have been doing computer and network support around the state, mostly with school districts.  I am married to a wonderful woman who epitomizes the very essence of patience, who happens to be a teacher.  She is also very wise and thus hasn’t yet allowed me to work with her in her own classroom.  In her own way at times, she is my Charlotte, except without the eating insects part.  I have two young children (a little boy, 4 and a girl, 2).  I haven’t figured out yet which characters they play out.  Is it wrong to sometime see the traits of Templeton in your children?  We can’t be Fern all the time I suppose.

terrificOver the past few years I have been looking to crawl out from the cobwebs of the server rooms and instead work more directly with teachers in pursuit of their goals.  I’m hoping that at the end of this degree program I’ll be in a better position to do just that.   The more I study education the more I realize that I am at the start of something much larger than I anticipated and it feels good to be a rookie once more.  I would love to work more with location aware technology, place based education, and games and gamification in education.  It’s easier for me to love the idea of learning how students learn and empower them to seek out information to meet their goals, than the concept of getting through a set volume of content per course.  I fall into the camp that believes the hyper-focus on standardized testing as anathema to that goal.  I don’t foresee myself having a classroom of my own any time soon, so I have that luxury.

In that vein I love the idea of the constructivist MOOC, which allows a greater community to form that helps to guide each other to expand their abilities in tasks relevant to their own practice.  Again – I’m a rookie, and on the sidelines drinking the Kool-Aide for the most part, so take my words with a grain of salt.  I hope to carve out the time in the future to design a course of my own in this regard for other tech professionals such as myself, or perhaps working with teachers to incorporate something like Minecraft into their own classroom.

1 Comment for this entry

  • Ronna Williams

    Hi Colin,
    I have to admit that I really do not remember Charlotte’s Web, except that one day I sub a class that was reading the last chapter. The class was weeping, it was so heartbreaking. I talked to the teacher later and she admitted that she always took off the day of the last chapter.

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