Off to New York

Very busy lately…

Progress is occuring with the Moodle Cluster, but it’s slow. We have the system running now with the database, but we’re still waiting for the consulting firm to repoint Moodle to access the file storage on the second server. Once that is done, we can do full testing.

Tomorrow, I fly to New York for the NAIS annual meeting. I’m looking forward to dinner with ISEN and ISED-L members. I’m also meeting with portal and student information system vendors. I’ll try to take some pics from the trip to post here.

Okay, back to work!

Escape Route

Sailing the Rival 34

Just for the record, we’re closing the deal on our third sailboat this week– a 1973 Rival 34 that was built in Southampton. It’s a solid, off-shore capable boat that happens to be easy enough to daysail but sea-kindly enough to not scare our kids if a gale blows up (which is remarkably common on the English Channel and Solent).

Her name is Southern Rival (based on the name of her builder– Southern Boatyard, and the name of her design– Rival). Her decks are gray, as she was when new, because the color reduces glare from bright sunlight on long ocean passages. It’s relatively common for these boats to cross the Atlantic and some have circumnavigated.

We had an excellent test sail out of Brighton yesterday with the owner, and we’ll finalize the paperwork this week. If all goes well, we’ll be spending more time with the boat next weekend.

For pictures from the test sail, see

Southern Rival

A Question of Scope and Compromise

Some trailing thoughts from the ECIS 2008 Technology Leadership Conference in Prague.

By far, the best question I heard at the event was the following: “Why are asking the same questions after 20 years of technology integration work?” Overall, I think this is a fair question, but it is a difficult one. If the same problems and issues continue to circle back, perhaps our approach to the challenges is somehow wrong.

As I think about this, I’m reminded of the Open Classroom concept that was popular in the 1970s. Research showed positive effects from the architectural changes, and I’d surprised if there weren’t open classroom schools that continue to thrive. In the same vein, however, I’ve been to several schools built in the 1970s to the Open Classroom design, and then had walls added in to split the classrooms again a few years later. The philosophy of the design didn’t stick– there had to be compromises.

Maybe there are no parallels with “the promises of technology to revolutionize education,” but it’s always worth looking for similarities. Maybe the most important is that of strategic compromise. Much of the Open Classroom concept (at least as reflected in the architecture) seemed to be “all or nothing,” but really a compromise was needed for successful integration. The promise of a revolution makes it sounds like everything changes, but should it?

As I’ve noted before, it would be good if we had a clearer picture of “victory” in terms of technology integration. In some schools, it could be a lot of technology used throughout the entire day. In other schools, it might be much more targeted but fully focused on higher order thinking skills. Each school might be different, but the technology should support a broader philosophy instead of trying to create one.

Anyway, it was a great conference. At the end of the month, I head to NY for the NAIS Annual Conference. I also believe I’m doing a session at the Lausanne Laptop Conference in July titled “When One Size Doesn’t Fit All.” (More on this later.)

As for now, it’s time for a walk on Hampstead Heath, and then a morning reading and coffee session at a coffee house with the family.

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