This page, amazingly enough, was once named a NetGuide Gold Site. They gave it four stars out of five. Imagine that!
Life Before Paradise
I grew up in Waterbury, Connecticut (home of Holyland USA, the Playmates, Annie Leibovitz, Rosalind Russell and George Metesky), a once-great industrial city that was slowly rusting away in the '60s. I tunnelled my way to freedom with a scholarship to WPI and never moved back. By my senior year, I knew for sure that Electrical Engineering wasn't for me. So, after graduation, I joined the Peace Corps and taught math on Bonthe, Sherbro Island in Sierra Leone for two years.
On my return, I landed a position as a very junior administrator working on a unique curricular change effort at my alma mater, WPI. Our mission was to develop projects and programs designed to broaden the experience of engineering undergraduates -- to "humanize" technologists. We set up a satellite center in Washington, D.C. and organized projects in which students worked with agencies like EPA and HUD to analyze the societal effects of various technologies. It was probably at this point that I became intrigued with the systematic design of instruction. I wanted to know why some of the things we tried worked and others didn't. That led me to IDD&E Department at Syracuse University, and directly from there to San Diego in 1980.
Professional Activities & Projects
The long (but out of date) version of my professional life is here. The more narrative but less complete version lies below:
My main professional focus is on the design, implementation and evaluation of computer-based learning environments. The courses I teach are all variations on that theme: ED 834 is a doctoral class about the design of learning systems; EDTEC 570 focuses on the development of WebQuests and lessons wrapped around telecollaboration, databases and software; and EDTEC 670 is all about the design of educational games and simulations. I just ended a long stint of coordinating the nine sections of EDTEC 470 class taken by pre-service teachers. EDTEC 700 is an umbrella course that enables us to offer short immersions into current tools and concepts. Within that framework, I've developed courses about wikis, blogs, Second Life, podcasting and CMS. I've also guided curriculum development for the Triton and Patterns Projects, Challenge Grants of the San Diego Unified School District that are now complete.
I've developed two educational packages for children (Quations published by Scholastic and Grab-a-Cab by Silver Burdett and Ginn) but boundless wealth continues to elude me. In 1994 my PLANalyst lesson planning tool was published by SuperSchool Software, and I'm working on a new version for a new publisher. HomeMaker is a free tool I wrote to help ordinary mortals create personal home pages without dealing with html. Instructional simulations and games are my particular focus because I've always been interested in figuring out what makes things interesting.
For 6 years, I co-directed (with Dr. Nancy Farnan and Rochelle Treger of the School of Teacher Education) the T2ARP program which prepares student teachers to work within the technology-rich restructured environments of O'Farrell Community School and Morse High School. The T2ARP program was a finalist in the 1998 Association of Teacher Educators national competition for outstanding teacher education programs.
In January 2000, clearly due to some kind of clerical error, I was named to the eSchoolNews Total Impact 30 list.
A similar misunderstanding led to my being profiled in the August 2000 Converge Magazine as a shaper of ed tech's future.
For seven wonderful summers I did workshops at the Thacher School in Ojai, California, an area so beautiful that Lost Horizon was filmed there. Thacher is a private boarding school with fiber to the dorms and a commitment to use technology well. If only public schools could be so well supported!
Currently (2010-11) I'm working on Project mGage in which we'll experiment with putting smartphones in the hands of student teachers and their students. It's funded by the Qualcomm Wireless Reach program.
Some presentations, pages, papers, and workshops:
Click on the map below to see where I'm going to be later this year.
Sharing and learning from what other people share is an important part of my day. I'm on Flickr, of course. Those are my pictures from the Jon Stewart Rally in DC. Other communities I participate in: