Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pandora's Box and Other Tales

One of my favorite memories from my teenage years involves a Chevy Nova, a John Denver tape, and my friend Tracey.

Tracey's Mom drove us everywhere in her blue 1970something blue Chevy Nova. She was a nurse at the State Mental Hospital, and she often told us stories of the men on her floor thinking they were Jesus. But, when she wasn't telling us stories, we listened to this old John Denver tape with the poem "Pandora's Box" or something like that on it. It's funny, after all these years, I don't remember the words or the tune, but I remember that I sat in the front seat because Tracey would never, ever, ever sit in the front seat of any car. I remember singing all the other songs but hoping that the Box song would come around before I got dropped off.

I am surrounded by memories.

Packing and cleaning my childhood home is therapeutic and, sometimes, a little sad. I am looking soooo forward to our new life in CT, but, for the next 14 days, I am surrounded by voices and images and, sometimes, tears.

Today I packed my library. I donated EIGHT LARGE boxes to the library. As I packed the books, I could remember little details about them. Some were ones I read as an undergrad; some were from graduate school. I am fairly certain I have the largest collection of Jung and Archetype resources in Bethlehem. Inside many of the books were notes tucked here and there. Some were reminders to "pick up cat food" and some were doodles with phrases like "Matthew Lewis was a twisted X!#!" Only true nerds can understand, lol.

Parting with books was hard.

Cleaning the boys room was harder.

As I packed away all the little itty bitty clothes, I can remember where and when or who or why we got most pieces. The baby clothes were packed in a sealed container and, honestly, smelled just like I remember (not poopy - um, fresh like little daisies). As I packed up the Noah's Ark items for Good Will, I just remember the excitement of being pregnant and the anticipation of a new baby...then the instant jolt of finding out we were having a second one! But, the cute matching clothes, the little stuffed toys, the rattles....they are all in boxes ready to go to another another Mom with the same hopes and fears...


The hardest part, by far, has been seeing pictures of my parents. At one time they were happy and smiling...but, today, those smiles, that joy, is only a very distant memory. Today we tossed out a furniture thingy from the basement; it was covered in crayon. But, those crayon marks were not from my children; they were from my brother, Timmy, who died when he was 8 - nearly 35 years ago. As they carried it to the corner, I felt like they had raised the Titanic in front of my eyes. Those crayon marks sat silent all these years - peppered in dust - but seeing them now, in the sunlight, in the open...

I think about that John Denver song, and it reminds me a little of what I have to do here in the next two weeks. I have to open the boxes of time and sort through the memories...and decide which of them are going with me to CT, which will cause damage, and which ones need to be let go.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thoughts About Moving

At the moment, my life is random. I pack a little, spend a LOT of time sorting out the antics of the neighborhood kids, clean up wikis and blogs, yadda yadda yadda.

So, in the spirit of the moment, here are some random thoughts.

In my spare time (har), I like to read through decorating magazines to get ideas for our new pad. But, here is the thing. I really don't think people LIVE in places like that. It can NOT be possible. These are supposedly "kid friendly" houses. But, um, MY KIDS would wreck those delicate vases and soil any couch not made of teflon or rubber.

I love how the magazines talk about having "fun totes" all over the place. What tote is fun? What will my six year old do that is FUN with a tote that doesn't fall under the "please don't kill your brother by suffocation" category? Truly, it is a lot full of rubbish.

I am convinced that I am both a terrible mother and a horrid wife. My house has never been spic or span, my kids don't eat broccoli flourets whipped up in a snappy second, they don't do arts and crafts in the family painting lounge, and, jeebus, they don't say things like "Please, Moustache Man, I feel that it would be super swell of you to pass me that crayon. Oh, I can totally understand why you don't want to share it, but really, I feel it is my turn to use it. Oh, thank you for being such a wonderful brother. I admire you for giving me that crayon."

Here is the real deal around here...

Sharpie Boy eats food he hides. This is a gross thing. I understand it is gross. But, I CAN'T FIND HIS HIDING SPOTS. The doctor says he will survive.

Not only do I not whip things or souffle them in my kitchen, I don't think the word flouret is in any cook book I own (unless there are brownies decorated with them). Even if I could whip a flouret, I am fairly certain that Moustache Man would still demand a waffle or a hot dog, and Sharpie Boy would ignore it and find his stash of goldfish crackers.

Arts and crafts happen on the floor, on the porch, and in the tub. The floor and porch are sanctioned; the tub creations are rarely approved. The best art, at least to my crew, is clogging the toilet and yelling "Run! We have a FLOOD!"

And, at no time, does sharing of toys happen unless there is a negotiation on the table. This is the real dialogue:

MM: Gimme that crayon.
SB: No
MM: (Hits SB)
SB: (Kicks MM)
MM: Cries
SB: Cries louder
Mom: Yells

So, you see, I need these magazines, but their advice is truly crappy. If I HAD A MAGAZINE, it would have articles like "How to Get Sharpie Marker Off The Antique Piano" and "The Best Hot Dogs for Kids" and "12 Ways to Unclog a Toilet." I would have layouts of REAL kid rooms where the clothes are all stuffed under the bed and dirty underoos are hanging from the crooked train lamp. I would have marriage columns called "My Marriage Survival Tip: Always Sleep when Husband Drives" and "How to Guilt Trip Husband into Washing His 4-Day Old Coffee Cup that HE Hid"

I would only accept ads from places where I can actually fit into the clothing. And, all of the models would be well fed and robust, so that we can SEE what would look like crap on us BEFORE we dream of looking like Genie. There are NO "carefree pants" and "brilliant hues" for Moms. We wear what doesn't smell, and we find the least stained item to go to PTA.

Anywho. Those are my random thoughts for today. Tomorrow, I might talk about cleaning out all my wikis and blogs. That was a CHORE! But, I needed to change all the references of my former employer to my current one, and I also cleaned up some odd looking stuff. It wasn't as fun, nearly, as unclogging the toilet.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bye Bye L C C C

Yesterday, I had my exit interview at LCCC. I am officially done on August 15th because of the contract year, but, for all practical purposes, we have parted ways.

My friend asked how it felt to be "done." And, I couldn't answer her. I am not sure I can even now. I loved most of the students at LCCC, and I will miss them. Students like Daliah and Nada made everything very much worthwhile.

Even though there are people at LCCC passing rumors about WHY I left, I can assure you that I didn't leave because I was unduly unhappy. In fact, I wasn't even looking for a new job. Because of Second Life, I met a guy who told me about this new position at a great boarding school, and the rest is history. I fell in love with Hotchkiss the minute I landed there, but not because I was trying to escape LCCC. I love it because it is a beautiful place to live and work, the people are amazingly smart, the students are bright, and the facilities are out of this world. The job is something new and challenging, and I am looking forward to a new chapter.

But, truly, I could have stayed at LCCC until retirement. I was eager to annoy my critics for at least another 30 years. But, now that I left/am leaving/transitioning/whatever, I can really see with a clear eye what is great about LCCC and what sucks about it.

The great part is easy - the students (for the most part) are great, and the support staff (secretaries, maintenance, security) ROCK! My goodness, they really should get the better pay cuz' they do all the work. The library staff also rocks. In fact, I am not sure I have ever met a librarian I didn't instantly love.

The sucky part is more complicated. For one, the leadership wastes money out the wazzzzzooooo. Case in point: Yesterday, when I was returning my laptop, I couldn't walk through the Student Union Building. Why? Well, apparently, the flooring (which is only about 8-10 years old) was not pretty enough for someone at the top, and, thus, the maintenance staff (who are working on a bajillion other projects) are BUFFING IT and REPAINTING it. That money SHOULD be going into positions, technology, and staff.

Laptops and iPods are locked in cabinets...never even opened or used. WHY?

Now, these just grace the tip of the tip of the TIP of the iceberg. Don't even get me started on the crotchety old farts that need to retire already....teaching outdated crap and calling it "the right way." Pretending to be all Harvard (and CLEARLY they aren't up on what Harvard is doing because Harvard is doing LOTS of wicked awesome stuff)....Training up the junior faculty to be as bitter as they are...whining and complaining and demanding more money to do mediocre work. Ya know...they always say "We just don't get paid enough to do X and Y" Well, I got a raise every year just along with everyone else, and more money didn't change their apathy. I wonder what price it is to get people off their butts?

Of course that doesn't apply to all the faculty; it really only applies to many of the ones I dealt with daily. I have seen many of them belittle students, belittle adjuncts, and then chant about how they are upholding some imaginary standard (which, interestingly enough, they don't even agree on).


So, I could have stayed and been a click in the wheel of apathy. But, then again....brilliant kids, brilliant and diverse colleagues, gorgeous facilities, awesome benefits, amazing place for our family to live and grow.... Hmmmm.....

To answer the question posed by my friend: I am not sure how I feel about leaving, but I know that I am really happy about where I am going.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Moving on Up

And the packing process is a pain.

We are three weeks till moving day, and life couldn't be any more chaotic. So, my conviction for blog writing has been swallowed by the process of "we have not used this, um, EVER, but it is a blender, and, ye gads, at some point in life I will have to grow up and use one, and better to use this one that we have right here than to try to find one in Lakeville (where there are no stores), so maybe we ought to keep it? Put it next to the other wedding presents we never opened, namely the iron, breadmakers (3), and ice cream churn."

On top of moving, we are cleaning out the house - which was owned by two parents that collected everything under the sun. And, sheesh, we EVEN had a yard sale this past Saturday, and we only made a dollar. Ok, so I forgot to avertise it. Oh, and it was at least 105 out at 7AM. Ok, so we will try again next week.

I have lots of thoughts about moving - some are perky and oh-so-Desi like. The others are melancholic and are way more Beth-like. I just have to thank my army of friends for A) listening to me whine (that would be Eloise), B) cheering me up when I am gloomy (Eloise, Daliah, and Liz), and C) understanding that my mind is mush from packing the attic (um, that might inlcude everyone I have ever known, but my mind is mush, so I can't remember).

The process is sprinkled with having to be a cheery Mom. So, I sing silly songs pretty much all day, and, of course, had to take Moustache man to see The Dark Knight (you must stop reading RIGHT NOW and go see it...even if it means hopping a plane to get to the states. Go. Now.).

Sharpie Boy has figured out that markers ALSO work on Mommy's VERY EXPENSIVE quilts. I am so glad that I do not understand the Chinese lady that does my dry cleaning. She said something to me in Chinese, and I am pretty sure I didn't want to know what it was based on the look on her face. She always says the same thing to me "You just give it. Pick up Friday." I will miss her...cranky, old, tired, and very amusing. I pity that guy in the back (I think it is her husband, as no other guy would listen to all that yelling she does). But, she does excellent work all the way around, and I like that she is cranky. By simple comparison, I can always say that I am not the CRANKIEST person alive. The Boss says she reminds me of the Mom on that MASH episode when Sun Lee's mother chases Klinger with a stick. Yeah, she does act a bit like that. But, thankfully, I haven't pushed her to the stick stage, just the swearing in Chinese phase.


You might wonder what I am doing writing at 4:54 AM. Other than ramblin on about the dry cleaner, I am waiting (for the past 5 hours) for my zip file to speed off to the my most daunting task this past week is not ranting and raving about LCCC.

There is a whole subtext here that I can't talk about. But, corruption, greed, stupidity, and insanity are all words that describe SOMETHING, and for some of us writing this blog post, that SOMETHING has been up our collective butt this last week. I can only say that I am thankful for change.

I am at 80% so I can blabber on for at least three more hours.

I was really nervous about the Big Move of 2008. But, I spent some time with my new colleagues last week, and can honestly say, they are truly awesome. I am excited now, and sooooooooooooooooooo ready to be done packing. I am even more ready to be at more than 81%.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Yup; 'tis true. I always knew it, and now I know it. says I'm a Dorky Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Dumpster Diving and Web 2.0

All I need to know can be learned from dumpster diving.

You think I speak with tongue in cheek...

You see, we are cleaning out 40 years of my parents crap and sorting through ten years of our own crap in our Big Move to the great state of Connecticut. In an effort to save the nice Garbage Man from back problems, we rented the largest dumpster money can buy (well, at least the largest they allow on our suburban street).

Every day, the Boss takes all sorts of crap out to the dumpster. 14 TV sets from BEFORE 1990...a mini fridge that was my Moms (that she forgot to take crab meat and butter out of before it was stored in dry storage....a coffin of stink...gag)...broken fishing name it.

Now, mind you, the NICE stuff (and even not so nice but still usable) goes on the corner with a little post to Craig's List for a curb alert. All paper and cardboard to recycling...all books to the library book sale...all clothes to the Good Will.



At 3 AM I am woken up (or I haven't yet fallen to sleep) by the Dumpster Diver. There are many, some I now know my first name. Though I tell them to come back during the day, they still prowl about at night..hunting for treasures that I would gladly just give them.

Then there are the DUMPERS..who I want to KICK...who go forth and dump their undumpables in our dumpster (things like tires). They wait till my light goes out. I imagine there is a parade of pick up trucks lined up around the corner just WAITING for me to turn off the light...


This dumpster, and all the antics that go with it, remind me a bit of Web 2.0 and all the sharing tools I am using right now (Twitter/Plurk/Diigo). Some people share great stuff (woot for Diigo!). Some people blabber on and on and on and on via Twitter. Plurk is cool if I can remember it is there and to go grab my posts from the corner.

But, the basics are there. Some people share, use what they can, and then pass it along. Some people hoard. Some people steal. Some people take advantage. But, stuff is spread. By golly, SOMEONE is using that stinky fridge!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Jeebus! SearchMe!

Lordy, this was fun, but, truly, we could use it for other things like authors and writers.

I am an EduPunker!

Finally! A Category for ME! Edupunks are those people irritating the curmudgeons at colleges and schools all over the nation. We are the ones who don't live and die by the status quo. We are the ones that truly believe that STUDENTS are at the heart of teaching (and not our trumped up egos!). Are you an Edupunker?

In addition to LOVING this song, this is me:

Charity Shopping

My friends down the street have started a new company that is really worth a mention! CharityShopper.Net allows you to shop for stuff you already need (at a discount), and a portion of the donations go to your favorite charity (for us, that is the Pediatric Stroke Network).

Now, I am not all about the cash flow here, but I AM ALL ABOUT CHARITY! What a cool concept! Help me get their name out there; spread the love!

The Thing About Bullies

Many thanks to Loony Hiker for passing this through the web hallway. Grab tissues first. This boy, Andrew Johnston (13), has the voice of an angel.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Thing 22

Cyndi Uriza posted this video on her blog. It is really worth 8 minutes of your time, as it shows the great gap between veteran teachers and the kids of today.

Reading Romeo and Juliet in 5 minutes??? Good Lord. That is a crying shame. The idea of "everyone spark notes" just reminds me of the intellectual robbery going on. There is plenty of time do make and post "model shots" but not enough time to read the best love play in all of Christendom?

Thanks, Cyndi, for posting the video!

It's All About Immersion

Right, so.

You don't hear from me for a month, and now you can't get me to shut up.

As I was unsleeping (you know, not NOT sleeping and yet not sleeping?), I was thinking about immersion (it is prolly all Freudian and wombish).

Every so often, we have to update the Wiki for Literature Alive. We move projects, we start new projects, we holodeck old projects, sponsors change, we get new get the picture. When we do that, we check all the Slurls and whatnots, and we revisit the mission and purpose of Literature Alive! We also go through each of the builds to make sure that things are as they oughta be in the world.

As I was looking over the wiki tonight, I had this pang of panic. Are all of our builds immersive?

There is probably a real definition out there, but to us it means making visitors DO stuff in order to learn. Reading notecards, listening to lectures, and watching videos is not enough; we could do that in REAL life, and it is passive in EITHER this life or that one.

Often, we think of builds being immersive because WE were immersed when we built them. On an average building day, we three queens are immersed....Eloise is generally scripting my latest bright and crazy request, Daliah's off shopping for low prim farm animals, and I am looking for Flickr photos. But, just because WE are immersed in the making of an environment, we must be careful not to OVERDO it and ruin the fun for students.

Right now, we are working on the Blithedale Project. Students at DeSales are reading it, and the project includes a virtual Fruitlands and a virtual Brook Farm (read up on Hawthorne :-)

As students complete classwork (Mixbooks, Animotos, wikis), I am imbedding them in flowers and lilly pads and fire logs. I'm into it. Totally. Daliah is building her first academic build, Eloise is being driven to edge with my random requests for scripts that do the impossible (are you SURE we can't do [insert wild brained Desi thought here]) The hard part is leaving stuff for the STUDENTS to do! It isn't that I want to DO it all; it is just that I am like a little kid at Christmas! I am excited; I love the American Romantic IS my is what I have loved since is the one class that I would teach if I swore off teaching!

It is a bit like tutoring writing. It is SO easy to say "write this" "write that" - but, truly, students learn nothing if you do it for them. So, I have to sit on my hands, and that gives me more time to blog!

As we look over our work, it is clear that we try very hard to make each and every build immersive for students. Our hope is that we won't ever lose sight of our mission: to foster a lifelong love of learning through a lifelong passion for reading.

Friday, July 04, 2008

My Leadership Day Post: Leadership in Virtual Worlds

This is my 2008 Leadership Day Post

Many of us are participating in the Leadership Post 2008 Challenge. Since most of my work has been centered on building immersive literary builds in Second Life, I thought I would discuss Edu Leadership in that arena.

Is there an "A List"?

I have no idea. If there is one, I am not sure who is on it or who created it. I am fairly sure there are people who think they are on it, assuming it exists, but I am not sure how they arrived at the notion that there is an A List or should be one.

The Leaders

Even though I can't identify all of the leaders that exist in SL, there are attributes of leadership that are readily identifiable. A leader is someone who:

  1. Shares Resources It is very easy to hoard ideas, concepts, and tools. It is very easy to withhold great information in an effort to look better. But, leaders share resources. Max Chatnoir/MA Clark, for example, shares her pooping Llama, her DNA Cats, and all of her teaching resources with me. She wouldn't have to, ya know. I don't teach science. But, she does. Horace Moody/Jean-Claude Bradley and Hiro Sheridan/Andy Lang are out there sharing tools AND real life scientific research. In fact, Jean-Claude is giving up potential PATENTS because he believes Open Notebook Science is the way of the future. Eloise Pasteur donates more scripts and builds to the Metaverse than anyone else (INCLUDING the Lindens!). Butch Dae/George Kurtz collects and shares research through his MindMap tool. Troy McLuhan/Troy McConaghy shares all that incredible science. Organizations like the Foundation for Rich Content, SLNN, Cattle Puppy, FireSabre, the V3 Group all share resources with Literature Alive! in the form of Linden and Land grants. Colleges and Universities like Drexel, Montclair State, Finger Lakes CC, Monroe Community College, North Georgia SCU, and Lehigh Carbon CC share land with Literature Alive! for our builds. Organizations like ISM, NOAA, ISTE and NMC share resources for new educators and programming for both veterans and newbies. There are so many others, and I apologize if I missed anyone. But, just this short list proves that leaders share and don't count the cost.
  2. Share and Cultivate Research While there are many of us out here teaching, we rely on others to prepare and gather research ABOUT teaching in virtual worlds. Wainbrave Bernal/Jonathon Richter, for example, is coordinating the 2008 SLCCed conference with an eye for professional development in mind. There are so many doing this, and others working on tools to share (Jeremy Hunsicker and Daniel Livingstone, for example).
  3. Share Ideas/Feedback/Comments/Criticism Our success at Literature Alive! has been a result of awesome students and wonderful collaborators. When someone leaves feedback about one of our builds (Glenn Linden, for example), it helps us to make our builds better. Active participation is a true form of leadership.
  4. Evangelize Those who go out and speak on behalf of Second Life solidify our usefullness and help us to gain professional merit for our work. Sarah Robbins, for example, has been out championing this teaching tool forever, and her grassroots leadership has made a difference!
  5. Teach in Second Life It is one thing to talk about teaching, but it is a WHOLE other basket of peas to actually DO it. I have infinite respects for those who are actually using SL to teach: Bryan Carter, Max Chatnoir, Jean-Claude Bradley, Dave Longenbach, Eloise Pasteur, Hiro Sheridan, Intellagirl Tully, Charlie and Becca Nesson, Peggy Sheehy, Larry Dugan, and countless others.
These are just a few traits of leadership. And, certainly, I missed a whole host of people. But, suffice it to say, we ALL have the potential to SHARE, EVANGELIZE, and TEACH.

More Cool Tools

I stumbled on this fantastic Mind Map whilst digging through the NECC resources. It is a listing of all the different Web 2.0 tools out there. It was created and presented at NECC by Greg Brandenburg. While I have tried most of these tools, there were a few new surpises. Also, Mindomo, the tool Greg used for this, is actually a really nice mind map tool. Given that mind maps never make sense to me, I was uberly impressed with this one.

Here are some of the new tools I learned because of Greg!

This is an easy to use online whiteboard. I am always on the look out for easy to use ones, as students can really do wonders with them when they work in groups.

Like Awesome Highlighter, WizLite marks up pages. i am not sure that there is an advantage of one over the other, but I hadn't heard of it.

Need to hold a meeting right this second? Twiddla is a meeting tool, and it is totally free. WOO!

This cool program allows people to share primary source material (photos, letters, etc.) with others. This is really interesting to me in my love of American literature.

I don't really know how to describe this program. It creates a ghost desktop from your desktop that you can access anywhere. I thought it might be really handy for Literature Alive! as we could all share a desktop. I have to play with it a bit, though, before I go endorsing it.

This is a free paint shoppy program that is actually really fun and easy to use. I used this picture, and turned it into the one next to it. Isn't that cool? Those can then be posted in SL as textures.

OMG! I need Karma

Oh jeebus.

I heard about three new tools at NECC...Diigo, Chatzy, and Plurk. Well, truthfully, I had heard of Diigo before, but had no idea why I needed one more sharing tool. I share on all the other tools...for the love of Pete...

But, I stand corrected. Diigo is better than all the others. I dont know how to explain it, but it just does more. You can highlight, comment, share, twitter, etc. It has a great tool bar, too. Mostly, I hate add on tool bars, but this one is actually easy to use.

Chatzy is a tool that allows you to create a free virtual room. It was used at the back channel for our NECC presentation, and I really like it.

The last tool is a little odd, and the jury within my mind is still mulling it over. It is called Plurk. It is a visual Right to Left version of twitter. Or maybe it IS twitter, or maybe a competitor? Who knows. Anywho, it tells me I have no Karma and I have to earn it. PUHHHHHLEEEEEZE.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

NECC 2008 Photos from Second Life

Here are some pictures from NECC 2008 (the virtual edition)!

Viral Learning and Teaching 101: Reflections from NECC

I wasn't able to attend NECC 2008 in San Antonio, TX. Well...I wasn't physically in Texas, anyway.

Technology, being what it is, allowed me to participate in so many ways that were not possible 5 years ago.

On Wednesday, for example, using Skype, virtual help from Darren Draper, and the can-do spirit, I was able to present with Vicki Davis, Robin Ellis, Darren Draper, Kristen Hokanson, Kelly Dumont, and Carolyn Foote on Viral Professional Development. Here is the UStream:

At the same time I was presenting with them, the Ramapo Story World Kids presented their amazing work. Peggy Sheehy, BernaJean Porter, Knowclue Kidd, and Kevin Jarrett presented the work of students who took Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken" and crafted an amazing and immersive application of it. Literature Alive! was able to step in during the final hours to help the students see their work materialize in Second Life. While I am proud of everything we do at Literature Alive!, I am really pleased with this project. Our mission is to help others share a love of literature through a passion for reading, and we say that we support others in their quest to share literature. We don't often have the opportunity to help others, so it was personally fulfilling to be able to do just meet our mission in such a complete and focused way. And, of course, that would not have been possible with out the tireless volunteerism of Eloise Pasteur and Daliah Carter.

Aside from being able to present at NECC, I was able to participate, as well. In addition to being able to listen to the excellent keynote addresses, I was able to participate in a workshop led by Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay. The Flat Classrooms workshop was very engaging, and it reinforced some ideas that were floating around in my head. For one, I have realized that I need instructions. I am not able to look at a wiki and guess the next step. So, I truly felt like a student because I often forget to break things down for them. Since I didn't understand the rules, I went ahead and created all kinds of pages that weren't needed and, as a result, messed up some other groups as they tried to prepare their wikis. I also learned that I love working with my international friends...I got to spend some quality time with Nick Noakes and Eloise Pasteur as learners, and we all struggled together as students instead of as teachers. I am fairly convinced that the three of us would have been in the naughty chairs in school!

So, in the span of 12 hours...I was connected with a boat load of people and, yet, I was alone in my dining room. Isn't technology great???


I love photoshop! I played with this image and made a wee movie. Someone needs to remind me to keep packing and stop playing!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Magic of Literature Alive!

Peggy Sheehy and the folks at the NECC conference are very kind to Literature Alive! They have truly said some nice things about us, and we really appreciate it.

We had the good fortune to work with Peggy and BernaJean Porter on the Story World Project that they are presenting at NECC on Wednesday (a link will be posted after their presentation).

When I started Literature Alive! over a year ago, I was all alone. I wanted to share literature with my students, but I also wanted to share it with the world. Eloise started volunteering a few months later (probably after seeing what a nightmare I was in the scripting department), and Daliah Carter was in the first group of students that came into SL. Over time, we have had some really great volunteers, but, for the most part, it is just the three of us. We have a special magic. Maybe it is because we all do something different (like a rock band), and we don't "compete." Maybe it is because our personalities just mesh, and we adore each other. Whatever it is, it works.

Eloise is our drummer. We all know that the drummer is the most important piece of a band. You can't keep time without it. Eloise is like a virtual Neil Peart (that would be RUSH's awesome drummer for those of you with bad taste in music). She quietly and shyly goes about her business, but, trust me, Literature Alive! would not exist without her. Gondola's through hell? Albatross HUDs? Only Eloise can make that kind of magic.

Daliah is the one that most people never see. She is a professional shopper, and now a growing builder. She also keeps my schedule, and calls me at home to remind me to do stuff. She is the queen of freebies, and does all the makeovers with students. She also hunts for textures like no one's business. She keeps our files up to date, and backs up our backup avatars (ya just nevva know, ya know?). She also reminds me to have fun in SL by dragging me to hair hunts and lucky chairs. In the band, she is our bass player (Geddy Lee, for my fellow RUSH fans).

My job is easy. I am like a lead singer (um, Geddy Lee without the guitar? Mick Jagger?)...I speak on behalf of the band, and I plan out the gigs. My job is content...and only content. I make sure that everything is correct and ethical, and that the overall build is immersive. My focus is student learning, and, for me, that extends beyond my own students and spills over into my global classroom - all those people I don't know that might stumble into one of our builds. I am an idea gyrl. And, of course we all know, I look like Barbie.

So, this is our dream team. We have magic; we have lots of magic. And, we appreciate when people notice and say lovely things about us (thanks, again, Peggy :-)

IMAGE: My first attempt at something creative in Photoshop!