Staying Put

For the first time in a long time I am looking at my travel for the next few months and things look calm. Sure there is a little vacation in there and even one work trip, but for the most part I’ve tried to really scale back my Summer travel. I’m doing that for several reasons … first there is the family. My schedule tends to be rough on them and I am trying to figure out a better balance. Besides, there really isn’t a better place than our backyard on Summer evenings. Too perfect.

Why Leave?

Why Leave?

Another reason is the incoming class of Faculty Fellows. Each one brings an amazing set of ideas with them that I know will challenge us all to really push forward. I’ll be once again working with Carla Zembal-Saul, while a big group of us will be working directly with Stuart, Ellysa, and Chris. I’ll be surprised if every single person in ETS isn’t somehow effected by their residencies. Its going to be fun.

So just two reasons why you won’t see any major posts about me leaving for this or for that. Will I miss getting to hang out with colleagues and visit new places? Yes. I will especially miss the Open Ed Conference happening in Vancouver, but I have to pick and choose my time wisely this Summer. Staying put also gives me a chance to focus a little extra energy here locally, thinking about how we take the next few steps in our work. I think it will be a Summer well spent.

Running on Faith

I’m breaking a CogDog rule that states one should not blog about (not) blogging here in this post because I have been a mess at writing for the last month or so. I’m not sure what it is — perhaps the TLT Symposium, followed by reading and submitting all the staff review and development plans for ETS, or wrapping up my class, or Alan Levine’s visit, directly followed by presenting at the Pennsylvania One to One Conference, or maybe it was giving a talk at the awe inspiring Faculty Academy event at the University of Mary Washington — no matter, I haven’t made even a moment to write. What is a shame about that is the simple fact that I have missed out on preserving all of my reflections from these events. What that means to me is that I am not practicing what I preach — I am not actively engaging in the notion of ongoing reflection. I’ve let my blogging get in the way of my reflecting, and that shouldn’t happen.

What I think I mean is that blogging and reflecting may have become two very different things to me. If I think of my bog as a place devoted to my personal reflection and growth then I am not using it the way I should be — I’m worrying about fleshed out content instead of capturing moments. I have fallen into the trap of thinking that my reflections are a bore to you — and to tell you the truth I should know they are because on lots of levels they are a bore to me. The thing is that I have to see my blog as a place that I can indulge my own reflection without worrying about you. At the end of the day I don’t sell ads on this site and I certainly don’t take my google analytics seriously. So why should I worry about pleasing anyone? My goal should be to write what is happening in my head and at best hope some folks decide it is worth a comment or a conversation.

That’s not to say I’m not worrued about writing in complete thoughts and provoking thinking from those that do stop by. What it means is that I need to press to use this space as if no one is reading every now and then … I need to use it the way we are hoping the students at Penn State will — as a place to engage your own reflection as much as you do those who read.

So with that in mind I’ll be sharing thoughts about our four Faculty Fellows we have arriving in ETS in the next two weeks, new ideas we’re kicking around for our platforms, Learning Design Summer Camp, and if you’ll indulge me, some thoughts on things that are really not for you.

Commenters from 2008

I’ll follow along with the exploits of Alan, D’Arcy, and Jim by posting my top 10 commenters over the last year. Clearly those guys get more comments than I do, but it is nice to see that we (for the most part) appear on each others’ list — Sorry Rev, I will get better this year. The thing I notice about this list is how local it is to State College and Penn State in general. On my list there are only four people who are not PSU folks — I just find it interesting. At any rate, there it is. 222 different people left comments this past year and I can tell you that is plenty to keep me happy! Sort of blows my mind when I think about it. A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to share your voice in 2008!

  • Jamie Oberdick 29
  • Shannon Ritter 25
  • Alan Levine 16
  • Allan Gyorke 14
  • Bryan Alexander 12
  • Steve Brady 12
  • D’Arcy Norman 11
  • Robin Smail 11
  • Brett Bixler 10
  • Bart Pursel 9
  • Jeff Swain 8
  • dave 8
  • Brad Kozlek 8
  • Jim Groom 7

Taking Risks

There are days when I am just so interested in hiding. Days where all I want to do is blend in, sit, and be. Days when I think about how much more straight forward things would be if I wasn’t pushing against the walls. Walls have a tendency to push back and there are days when it would so much easier to sit in the middle of the room and laugh at the crazy people on the edges. There are days.

The problem is that I’m just not wired that way. I have this problem with taking risks, I like them. When I was younger it meant I needed to do insane things on my bike, on the soccer field, or on a basketball court … its different now, but only the context has changed. I’m no longer able (or willing) to put my body through that kind of torture, but I am still willing to let it all hang out. I like to challenge myself and those around me. I know I drive people crazy with it all, but it is what it is — and it always has been.

One Footed Back in the Day

Cole One Footed Back in the Day

I remember a half dozen years ago when I was at IST and I started the Blogs at Solutions Institute experiment. I asked everyone at SI to write in the open — to take the plunge, to risk throwing their voices into the wild, and to see what came back at them. I had recently read the Cluetrain Manifesto and was convinced that the web was going to be the platform that democratized education and I needed to see first hand what it all meant. I was interested in pushing at the walls until they caved on me and I can say they didn’t. But damn, it was scary.

I remember one of my colleagues at the time telling me it took him four hours to press the submit button on his first blog post because the World was going to read it. It had to be perfect.

On the web, as with riding a ramp, there are no do overs. Once it is in the wild the RSS is out there and the Internet is very unforgiving. I can go back in time and see what my early days on the web look like … long after I’ve pulled my thoughts down. It is a place where things seem to live a lot longer then we think they do. So I understand why it feels like a risk.

But you know what? Its the way things are. Time moves in only one direction. As much I’d love to be taking risks on that old orange GT freestyle bike, it just isn’t going to happen. Those days are over … the Internet is my skatepark and I plan to continue to push it and myself to the limit. I grow tired of arguments that push in the other direction and tell me that it is too hard to participate, that there isn’t time to be a part of it all, and that its going nowhere. All I can say is that there are really only two sides of history — the right and wrong. Where will I fall? I have no idea, but just like back in the day falling is part of the equation. You think learning how to do one footed 6 foot airs off the top of an eight foot quarter pipe comes without a cost? Think again. Sometimes we get humbled and other times we pull off something close to epic. Is epic worth the potential fall? For me? Every. Single. Time.

On Being an Uncle

Early this morning, after nearly 20 hours of labor, my little sister had her first child. They named her Mia and she is absolutely beautiful. I am already an uncle many times over to children from my wife’s side of the family and I love them all with all of my heart — each of them are so different but are so similar. They are children and they carry with them a wonderful perspective and view on life … I am blessed.

For some reason it has been a little different with my own little sister. Seeing her last night working to get Mia into the world safely made me so proud of her. Then today seeing Mia and Kitt together was a wonderful sight. Amazing how perfect she seems when holding her … I remember when we were kids how she would take such good care of all her dolls and act like a little Mommy. Now here she is all these years later a real Mother, but still my same little sister yet transformed in an amazing way. Like I said, I am blessed.

Welcome to the World little Mia!

The End of the Line

For 2008, that is. I don’t have the mental energy or attention span to address the great comments from the Community Question on Identity from before the holiday break — rest assured I’ll get to it as the new year rings in. For now I think it is fair to say that I am enjoying some much needed time away from it all. I’ve checked email a total of three times since 12/24 and it has felt great. The good thing is that while my inbox was overflowing, the number of real issues to deal with was zero. What a relief.

We had an amazing Christmas morning — my son is a little over two and he really got the concept this year. He actually played with the gifts and not just the wrapping paper and boxes like last year! My parents came for Christmas Eve and Morning so we had a full house with my sister and brother-in-law also joining. It was a great day! The evening saw us celebrate our daughter’s 7th Birthday (which I am still amazed at).

We went to our hometown of Bloomsburg, PA to visit more with my parents and to see our great friend KP. KP and his wife brought their newborn son to the East Coast for the Holidays and it was amazing getting to hang with the best of friends. We spent time walking, eating local foods, and staying up and out way too late a couple of nights.

My WVU Mountaineers capped a good season by winning their bowl game and then a little later in the day went into Ohio State and beat the 15th ranked Buckeyes by almost 30 points. My Wife, Mother, and Father all have WVU roots so it was fun watching and cheering for them together.

No matter how you slice it up the Holidays are a great time to connect with family and friends. It is also a great time to reflect on the year and to start setting sights on what is to come. So Happy Holidays to everyone and enjoy a very Happy New Years!

Writing Under My Own Name

After several years blogging at my Camplese Group URL I decided to take the plunge and make a change.  I no longer do work under the C Group name, so I thought it was time to make the move.  So far it looks like everything is working here at my new host!  A big thank you goes out to the people who gave me good advice and showed me how to pull this off with as little pain as possible.  Not too bad, but time consuming.

Here's to Plenty of Fresh Content!

Writing Under My Real Name!

The only real reason for this post is to note that I am now on my new domain — actually named after myself!  After having several domains through the years it feels good to be blogging from my own name!  Why I didn’t do this years ago, I am not sure. At any rate, I’ll be making some changes in the coming days, so please let me know what you think.