Monday, July 13, 2009

Douglas Rushkoff on Life, Inc.

Date: Tuesday, July 14th, 2009
Time: 5:30 pm Pacific / 8:30 pm Eastern / 12:30 am GMT (next day) (international times here)
Length: 1 hour
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at http://tinyurl.com/convnet. The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit http://www.elluminate.com/support. Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event.
Links:
Life, Inc. Website
Douglas Rushkoff Website


Join us as we kick off the new Conversations.net interview series by talking with Douglas Rushkoff, the author of Life, Inc.

Winner of the first Neil Postman award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity, Douglas Rushkoff is an author, teacher, and documentarian who focuses on the ways people, cultures, and institutions create, share, and influence each other’s values. He teaches media studies at the New School University, serves as technology columnist for The Daily Beast, and lectures around the world.

He has just released his most important book to date: an analysis of the corporate spectacle called Life Inc. for RandomHouse, as well as a series of short films called Life Inc Dispatches.

His ten best-selling books on new media and popular culture have been translated to over thirty languages. They include Cyberia, Media Virus, Playing the Future, Nothing Sacred: The Truth about Judaism, Get Back in the Box: Innovation from the Inside Out and Coercion, winner of the Marshall Mcluhan Award for best media book. Rushkoff also wrote the acclaimed novels Ecstasy Club and Exit Strategy and graphic novel, Club Zero-G. He wrote a series of graphic novels for Vertigo called Testament, and is currently working on another book for Vertigo as well as a new series of graphic novels for Smoking Gun Interactive.

He has written and hosted two award-winning Frontline documentaries – The Merchants of Cool looked at the influence of corporations on youth culture, and The Persuaders, about the cluttered landscape of marketing, and new efforts to overcome consumer resistance.

Rushkoff writes a column for the music and culture magazine, Arthur. His commentaries have aired on CBS Sunday Morning and NPR’s All Things Considered, and have appeared in publications from The New York Times to Time magazine. He wrote the first syndicated column on cyberculture for The New York Times and Guardian of London, as well as regular columns for Discover Magazine and The Feature.

Rushkoff is a PhD candidate at Utrecht University’s New Media Program. He has taught regularly for the MaybeLogic Academy, NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, and the Esalen Institute. He also lectures about media, art, society, and change at conferences and universities around the world.

He serves on the Board of Directors of the Media Ecology Association, The Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, and as a founding member of Technorealism, as well as the Advisory Board of The National Association for Media Literacy Education, MeetUp.com and HyperWords . He has been awarded Senior Fellowships by the Markle Foundation, the Center for Global Communications, and the International University of Japan. He served as an Advisor to the United Nations Commission on World Culture and regularly appears on TV shows from NBC Nightly News to Larry King and Bill Maher. He developed the Electronic Oracle software series for HarperCollins Interactive.

Rushkoff is on the board of several new media non-profits and companies, and regularly consults on new media arts and ethics to museums, governments, synagogues, churches, and universities, as well as Sony, TCI, advertising agencies, and other Fortune 500 companies.
Rushkoff graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, received an MFA in Directing from California Institute of the Arts, a post-graduate fellowship (MFA) from The American Film Institute, and a Director’s Grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He’s finishing his dissertation on media literacy and gaming for University Utrecht. He has worked as a certified stage fight choreographer, an SAT tutor, and as keyboardist for the industrial band PsychicTV.

Friday, July 10, 2009

NECC 09 Feedback Session with the Great Anita McAnear!

This coming Monday, July 13th, at 4:00 pm Pacific (7:00pm Eastern), Anita McAnear from ISTE will join us to talk about your experiences at NECC! Log in to the Elluminate session at http://tinyurl.com/necc09talk.

Anita has been a great advocate for both our community-generated events (Bloggers' Cafe, EduBloggerCon, and NECC Unplugged) as well as the Open Source Pavilion, playground, and speakers track. Hurrah for Anita!

Hope you'll join in thanking her and talking about your experiences at NECC.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Hosting Your Own Free Webinars in Elluminate

This is an exciting day for us at LearnCentral! We have our initial set of procedures for you to hold your own public web meetings in the LearnCentral Elluminate room. Wahoo!

LearnCentral allows educators to use a free public Elluminate room to hold large webinars or group meetings. To qualify, the events must be 1) education-oriented, 2) free (you're not charging those who attend), 3) recordable (will be done automatically), and 4) available to anyone to attend. We're really excited to see what you do with this capability, and are hoping that it allows you to regularly gather other educators around curricular interests in "historic" ways.

The current instructions are below. This is a new service, so your feedback (and help!) are greatly appreciated.

Join LearnCentral

To host a meeting, first join LearnCentral and then join the "Host Your Own Webinars" group.

Before Scheduling a Meeting

We ask that you go through the live or recorded free Elluminate training (http://www.elluminate.com/support/training/index.jsp) before hosting a session, and suggest strongly that you attend another session as a participant to see how an Elluminate session works. Please don't go in without any actual experience--it won't be good for you or your attendees! :) This is an honor system, but we do ask that you are prepared as we don't want these free sessions to reflect poorly on Elluminate!

To Schedule a Meeting

To schedule a meeting in the LearnCentral public-use Elluminate room, please create the event using the calendar for this group by going to the events tab here and clicking on "Create Event." Please check the calendar first and take care not to schedule over another event. Please also leave at least 30 minutes before and after each event (so that you and the organizer who follows you both have time to come into the room to prepare before your events).

The URL to put in the calendar event, or to give out to others to attend, is https://sas.elluminate.com/d.jnlp?sid=lcevents&password=Webinar_Guest. You can also use this shortened version: http://tinyurl.com/lcparticipant. Participants do not need to be members of LearnCentral to attend the event, but please encourage them to join!

Once your event is scheduled in the group calendar, you are welcome to also add it to the calendars of other groups you are a part of. If you believe your event might be of interest to the LearnCentral community as a whole, please email me at stevehargadon@elluminate.com so that I can place it on the community calendar. You also need to email me for the moderator log-in information of this is your first time holding a LearnCentral Elluminate meeting.

Please keep meetings to under two hours in order for others to be able to use the room. If you need a session that is longer than two hours, please contact me directly. Also, the LearnCentral Elluminate room has limit of 300 participants. If you believe that you will need to accommodate more than this number, please contact me directly as well.

The Actual Meeting

When you enter the room, there will be one or two standard slides that we ask that you leave in place. Any slide you want to upload should be placed after our default slides.

If you need to set up a telephone bridge, see the instructions in the Elluminate manual at http://www.elluminate.com/support/docs/9.5/telephony/index.jsp. You'll need to have your own conference call system and dial-in number.


Ending a Meeting

When your session is over, please clear the room of all participants, yourself included. The room must be empty for the recording to process. If you have participants who have left the session running and don't exit on their own, you can click on them in the participant window, then right-click to manually remove.

After a Meeting
When your meeting is done, you will need to find your recording link and place in the post-event URL. The Recording Table is at https://sas.elluminate.com/drtbl?suid=D.40F698971780B7AEE5FAD85F5E2D6D. Look for the date and time of your session for the link.

With that, we hope you have fun and find lots of good uses for this service!

Future of Education Interview July 16th: "Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education"

Date: Thursday, July 16th, 2009
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am GMT (next day) (international times here)
Length: 1 hour including Q&A
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at http://tinyurl.com/futureofed. The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit http://www.elluminate.com/support. Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event.

Join us as we talk with Terry M. Moe and John E. Chubb, the authors of Liberating Learning: Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education.

Overview (from book jacket):

"Technology has transformed all aspects of our everyday lives. From online banking to social networking, we communicate, connect, and consume in ways radically different from the past. Yet, the average classroom is not that different from the classroom of fifty years ago."

What's wrong with this picture? Terry M. Moe and John E. Chubb, two thought leaders on education reform, tell a dramatic story about the pitched battle to bring about real change and improvement to America's schools—a battle that pits the innovative forces of technology against the entrenched interests that powerfully protect the educational status quo.

The timing could not be more critical, as the United States struggles to keep pace with a world economy that places a growing premium on education. Right now, technology has a tremendous capacity to promote learning—for all students, regardless of background or neighborhood—by opening up a dazzling array of new opportunities that can literally customize education to the needs, schedules, styles, and interests of each student. But it is being blocked in the political process.
Controversial and compelling, Liberating Learning maps out a dynamic vision of the nation's educational future, showing how the ideas and innovations of technology will ultimately transform the public schools to the great benefit of the nation and its children—and how learning will be liberated from the special interests, and from the dead hand of the past.

Guests:

Terry M. Moe is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, a member of the Institution's Koret Task Force on K–12 education, and the William Bennett Munro Professor of political science at Stanford University.
He is an expert on educational policy, U.S. political institutions, and organization theory. His current research projects are concerned with school choice, public bureaucracy, and the presidency. Moe has written extensively on educational issues. His book (with John E. Chubb), Politics, Markets, and America's Schools, is among the most influential and controversial works on education to be published during the last decade, and has been a major force in the movement for school choice in America and abroad. He is also the author of Schools, Vouchers, and the American Public, the first detailed analysis of public opinion on the voucher issue. In addition, he is editor of A Primer on America's Schools (Hoover Press, 2001), which provides a critical assessment of the current state of American education, and Private Vouchers (Hoover Press, 1995), the first book to be published on the growing movement among private-sector foundations to provide vouchers for low-income children.
More generally, Moe has written extensively on public bureaucracy and the presidency, and he is a leading figure in both fields. His influential articles on bureaucracy include "The New Economics of Organization," "The Politics of Bureaucratic Structure," "Political Institutions: The Neglected Side of the Story," and "The Institutional Foundations of Democratic Government: A Comparison of Presidential and Parliamentary Systems." Among his articles on the presidency are "The Politicized Presidency," "Presidents, Institutions, and Theory," and "The President and the Bureaucracy: The Presidential Advantage." In 2005, Moe received the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation Prize for Excellence in Education. In addition to his positions at Stanford and Hoover, Moe has served as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C.

John E. Chubb is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution and a member of the Koret Task Force on K–12 Education . He is also chief development officer and cofounder of EdisonLearning, a company that for nearly twenty years has partnered with public school districts and charter school boards nationwide to provide innovative schools and education programs, with a focus on disadvantaged students. He has previously served as a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and faculty member at Stanford University. He has also served as an adviser, consultant, and speaker for the White House and for many state governments, public and private school systems, and nonprofit organizations. Chubb is the author of several books, including Liberating Learning and Politics, Markets, and America's Schools, both coauthored with Hoover Institution senior fellow and fellow K–12 Education Task Force member Terry M. Moe; andLearning From No Child Left Behind as well as Within Our Reach: How America Can Educate Every Child, an assessment by the Koret Task Force. Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools is an analysis of 500 public and private high schools based on data gathered from more than 20,000 students, teachers, and principals. It argues for the introduction of free market principals to the American education system. Articles written by Chubb have appeared in the Brookings Review, American Political Science Review, Public Interest, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time magazine, and other publications. Chubb coedited Can the Government Govern? with Hoover Institution distinguished visiting fellow and fellow K–12 Education Task Force member Paul E. Peterson. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and an A.B. summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis, both in political science.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Talk About NECC 2009: Post-Conference Recaps, Take-Aways, Brainstorms, and Conversations

NECC 2009 wrapped up last week, but more than ever we have a chance to capture, as the "audience" or "community" who participated in or followed the show, our thoughts and feelings about what took place. For those parts of the conference that have been "community-generated" (like EduBloggerCon and NECC Unplugged) this is highly practical, as we can try to capture thoughts and ideas for when we start planning next for next year (at which point the conference will be called the ISTE Conference and not NECC, by the way). For the formal parts of the conference that are fully under the control of ISTE (starting with the keynote speakers to everything else), it's a chance for us to give really proactive feedback to an organization that has shown itself very open to both the conversations and the technologies that allow this. My own "grading" of my experiences at NECC I've put in another post.

I am going to use this blog post as a flexible starting place, both to schedule live Elluminate sessions on specific aspects of the conference, and to point to other places where there are discussions already taking place. I'lll start with the events that I had some responsibility for and will gladly expand from there to other events or aspects of the conference that you feel deserve a live "drill-down" session. I'll also post all these sessions in LearnCentral.org's community calendar so you can check there as well.

If you want to set up your own post-NECC discussion in Elluminate, let me know in the comments below! Please also let me know if there are other conversations taking place that I need to link to.

"WHAT WE LEARNED AT NECC"
This is a general brain dump, well-suited for those who attended and those who did not. Not about logistics at all, but just a chance to talk about the learning. What were the significant "aha" moments for you? What speakers spoke to you?
"NECC 2009 CONFERENCE FEEDBACK SESSION"
  • Elluminate Live Session: (UPDATED!) Monday, July 13th, at 4:00 pm Pacific (7:00pm Eastern). Anita McAnear from ISTE joins us to talk about your experiences at NECC! Log in at http://tinyurl.com/necc09talk
"EDUBLOGGERCON, BLOGGERS' CAFE, AND NECC UNPLUGGED -- FEEDBACK AND BRAINSTORMING"
  • Elluminate Live Session: Wednesday, July 8th, at 6pm Pacific (9pm Eastern) for one hour, immediately following the Future of Education session with Maria Droujkova on Math 2.0 that evening. We'll talk about lessons learned, the logistics, and what we want to do next year around these programs. Log in at http://tinyurl.com/necc09talk
"OPEN SOURCE PAVILION, SPEAKER SERIES, AND NEXT YEAR'S OPENSOURCECON"
This is our fourth year running the Open Source Pavilion, and it's never been so popular. Let us know what you liked and what you didn't, and help us plan for next year. We're especially interested in running a free, all-day OpenSourceCon (like EduBloggerCon) "unconference" next year--what do you think? Would you come?
Hope you'll participate and make your perspective known!

Grading NECC 2009

Over the past four years NECC has become an increasingly significant event for me and one where I have felt and greatly appreciated the opportunity for the "community" to contribute to increasingly significant aspects of the conference. What started for me four years ago in Philadelphia as a relatively modest opportunity to provide used computer equipment for demonstrating the use of Open Source Software has become a fascinatingly broad range of involvement in user-created aspects of the conference, very much to ISTE's credit.

For my own sake, and to also keep the "audience" discussion going, I want to grade those aspects of the conference where I had involvement.

EduBloggerCon: "A"
I feel comfortable giving our third annual EduBloggerCon a solid "A" this year. Not that the event could not be improved, but we were able to recover the feel from two years ago that made the original EduBloggerCon such a significant event, and we were able to get past some of the "ghosts" from last year that worried me a little. We also have to recognize that EduBloggerCon can't be, ever again, what it was that first year: the first time most of the edublogger community had met face-to-face. Some of the really "heady" discussions of that first year have of necessity moved to other venues like EduCon where they can be nurtured amongst a more self-selected audience over more than one day; whereas EduBloggerCon is really about the the chance to meet and talk in an environment not only more open to the beginner, but intentionally welcoming to him or her. Which makes me wonder if we need a name change that recognizes that there are a lot of ways in which educators are becoming involved in social media that often aren't directly related to blogging. On the other hand, keeping the name probably helps with recognition and continuity. Feedback and suggestions welcome--I've been playing with the name "sharecamp" which potentially has the added benefit of being more universally usable by many in other venues.

One area of EduBloggerCon in which I'd like to see improvement would be the ability for at least the major sessions of the day to be well-streamed to those not in physical attendance. We tried this year, but what we really needed to do was to pipe the mic system directly into the Elluminate session that was running live--otherwise, it's just too darn hard to hear the sound clearly. The point of EduBloggerCon is the physical being together, but I do think it would be nice to make some of it available to those who can't attend.

Bloggers' Cafe: "B"
This brilliant idea three years ago (or more?) from David Warlick to have a place for the bloggers to gather and talk has become an institution. I honestly don't think many of us could imagine NECC now without it. I can remember when, in talking about EduBloggerCon and the Bloggers' cafe originally, people would say to me: "NECC really isn't relevant for me anymore." I don't think I've heard anything even remotely close to that lately, and in fact, I think ISTE's done such a good job supporting this kind of casual conversation at NECC that 1) NECC has become a must-attend event when there are funds to do so, and 2) the Bloggers' Cafe is such a significant part of the experience that being in there is often seen as more valuable than attending a formal session.

So, why a "B" grade from me? We still haven't figured out how to make this a more inviting experience. I still feels exclusive and can be very intimidating for someone walking by to just come in to a group of people who all seem to know each other and are already very engaged in conversation. Maybe that's just an inherent dilemma, but I'm with those who think that a name change here might also be valuable--this isn't just about blogging anymore. (I think I saw a suggestion to call it the "Personal Learning Plaza.") I'd also argue that we need signage which basically says "Welcome and come on in!" Last year we tried t-shirts that "mentors" could wear and walk around to invite participation, but I'm not sure it there was a really concerted effort to do so. This year Sue Waters made up cool buttons, but somehow I think more is needed. Like EduBloggerCon as well, the potential cost to this openness to beginners is a possible intrusion on our existing conversations, but what are we about if not being inclusive?

NECC Unplugged: "C"
There was never an idea more near and dear to my heart than NECC Unplugged, but an honest assessment of year two of this program is solidly in the "not what it could have been category." I know, we're breaking amazing ground with this program, and those who presented and helped did an EXCELLENT job (my own daughter included--love ya Kate!)--but we need to crank this thing up a little. Roadblocks this year:
  1. Lack of signage that made finding the space very hard on the first day.
  2. Lack of formal A/V support by ISTE. When my own home-grown mic/speaker solution didn't work it meant that the sound experience online was often better than in person (we did to a really good job piping sound directly into the Elluminate session, unlike at EduBloggerCon). If we are going to have a presentation area in the hallway, we've got to have sound amplification...
  3. Lack of planning planning time by a largely absentee coordinator: me. It's OK, we can say it, I just shouldn't have been in charge of one more activity if I couldn't actually be there to oversee it. If it hadn't been for Kate, Peggy George and Meredith Melragon there would not have been an NECC Unplugged this year. Kate allowed me to fly her out last minute and discovered how hard it is that adults actually work at events like these, and TOTAL CHAMPS Peggy and Meredith gave up their own precious NECC time to pitch in and fill in the gaps.
Even with these deficiencies, which I take responsibility for, NECC Unplugged is an amazing concept that I still can't believe we get permission to do. Anyone who wants to can present at NECC, and those who aren't at the show are able to have things to watch directly from the event. I also think that the hybrid physical/virtual conference combination is an amazing model, and Kim Caise deserves a HUGE round of applause for overseeing the EduBloggerCon "remotely" and three days of virtual presentations that took place in Elluminate concurrent with the physical ones. I think I'm also right in sending major "props" to Derrall Garrission who voluntarily supported both for EduBloggerCon's virtual side and NECC Unplugged.

Open Source Pavilion, Playground, and Speaker Series: "A+"
As we've moved over the last four years from an off-the-beaten track demo area to a full room with our own speaking track, the Open Source activities at NECC keep getting better and better. This year, with amazing help from a variety of sponsors, I think people were blown away by the 60-computer "lab"/classroom running Linux thin clients. Especially helpful to me was an amazing volunteer crew, led by Randy Orwin and Benoit St-Andre who got the lab set up in less time and with less of my help than ever before. (Someday we'll look back fondly on all those shows where we trucked in used computers and stayed up until the wee hours of the night patching them together into a usable lab... but for now I'm SO glad those days are passed!) Asus provided the thin clients, Kevin McGuire of Michigan City Area Schools loaned us the flat panel monitors, and Revolution Linux provided the server and the printed brochures and flyers. It's so fun for me to see Open Source move into the realm of the tangible for schools, especially since I make the claim that we will not see computing transform education without Linux and Open Source. With similar Open Source programs we are running at CUE, NSBA's T+L, and now (we think) at FETC, I think we are actually making a difference and increasingly helping schools to see tangible examples of how Open Source can be implemented.

Best idea to come out of the post-show cleanup time: holding a free pre-NECC OpenSourceCon unconference, like EduBloggerCon, but for those interested in Open Source. Wow.

Panels on Open Source and Web 2.0: "A+"
This year I led two panel discussions, one at the very beginning of NECC and one at the end! The first was on the state of Open Source in Education, and it was, in a word, brilliant. The panelists were great, I performed well enough to not interfere with the learning, but it was the audience that amazed me. In a larger meeting room than I would have thought we could fill with people interested in Open Source (and that was completely full), it became clear early on by the questions that were being asked that there are a substantial number of people seriously implementing Linux and Open Source their schools. This was the most surprising moment for me at NECC, and it was enormously satisfying to think of how far this dialog has come. I remember the first NECC talk I gave on Open Source, and how disbelieving I remember the audience being. The Web 2.0 panel, with equally stellar panelists, while it engendered some controversy was still solidly an "A+" for me. First, I made a conscious effort to make the session interactive as a reflection of the participative nature of Web 2.0, and instead of sitting with the panelists I walked the floor with a portable mic. Second, as the last question of the session, I think I asked the best question I've ever asked of a panel: "What did you learn from being on this panel today?" If the bringing together of active minds around a significant topic doesn't produce enough synergy to have the panelists learn along with the audience, then we're just getting the same old "talking heads" kind of stuff. In my mind there's no greater crime at a conference than a panel of experts giving us the worst of both worlds: being asked to each speak individually for 10 minutes when we'd love to hear hours from any one of them them, and then not even getting to hear them argue or interact with each other. Which brings me to the argument side: we got some major push-back from some members of the audience in this session, and it largely had to do with how a back-channel chat was being handled. And I think they were largely valid criticisms. Wahoo--actual learning!

Birds of a Feather Sessions on Open Source and Web 2.0: "B+"
I'm interested in how popular these BOF sessions are, and how the combination of the large number of people who attend with the more general reticence of the "audience" to participate create the temptation turn what I think should be discussion sessions into presentations. In years past when the BOF sessions I was a part of didn't draw so many people, I actually felt like you could go around the group, have people introduce themselves to each other, and then have a conversation. Now I've had to try and find questions and activities that help to engage the crowd in as participative way as possible. There was an "aha" moment for me in this regard in the Web 2.0 BOF. I did a modified version of the "speed demo" program we do at the Classroom 2.0 workshops, combining people being able to quickly demo a Web 2.0 tool with being able to ask the others in the room a question about Web 2.0. It felt a little to me like I was pulling teeth to keep things going, and I would have given the session a true "C" based on how I felt at the end. But after we were done I had a couple of people come up to me and say, essentially, "this was the best session I've had at NECC." I was taken aback by this, and after thinking about it for a while, came to the conclusion that my NECC experiences, which are all so highly interactive, keep me in a little bit of a bubble--and that for many who attend NECC their experiences are still highly passive. That's a good reminder to me that the learning experiences that educators have must parallel their sense of the learning experiences that should take place in the classroom, and the more we can exemplify engaged learning at conferences the more we're encouraging that kind of learning environment in the classroom.

My Individual Presentations on Open Source and Social Networking: "A" / "B-"
I've got a new presentation on Open Source in K-12 that I think is greatly improved over my previous general survey of the landscape, mainly because I have gotten bold enough to say what I really feel: that we will not have ubiquitous or transformative computing in schools without Open Source and Linux. I'm definitely giving with both barrels with this new presentation, so my "A" there reflects my feeling like I am making a difference. My presentation on social networking was disappointing to me, I think partly because I didn't feel I could devote the whole time to talking about my current passion: the combination of the asynchronous networking in social networks with the synchronous capability of Elluminate built into LearnCentral (full disclosure--my paid employment is with Elluminate). Because I'd promised to do a tour of setting up a Ning network as a part of this session, I didn't feel like I had time to do either justice. When you're presenting you don't always hit them out of the park, and that was the case for me here...

The Launch of LearnCentral.org: "A"
Again, making sure that it's clear that I'm an Elluminate employee, and that my role is to serve as community manager of LearnCentral--and making it clear that LearnCentral is still in beta form and very much a work-in-progress that we hope the community will help us steer toward great things--I had a great time talking about LearnCentral with the media, a role I've never really played before. I'm really excited about what Elluminate is committing to with this project, especially the ability for anyone to hold free, public Elluminate sessions, and I found that the discussions with the media about the project were a greater opportunity for me to be enthusiastic and passionate than I expected them to be. Instead of the interview schedule being a burden, I began to look forward to them as a chance to talk about what a significant moment this is in education right now, and how I think Elluminate can help. Plus, having flown solo now for so many shows, organizing volunteers with varying degrees of success, it's fun to watch a well-oiled machine get things done. I'm learning!

A Moonlit-Tour with My Daughter of National Monuments by Pedi-Cab Late Wednesday Night: "Priceless."
I would have felt like a really pathetic parent if, after spending several days with my daughter in Washington, DC, we flew home without actually seeing anything historical. After helping Kate get an autograph and a hug from the charming Erin Gruwell, cleaning up the Open Source Pavilion, and having a late dinner, at 9:00pm we negotiated with a "bike-taxi" driver while it was raining for a 90-minute tour. The rain stopped, the moon came out, and he actually gave us a good two hours. We stopped and spent time with a surprising number of other night-tourists with Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and FDR. We saw the Vietnam and Korean War Veterans memorials. And we stopped at the White House for good measure. A lifetime memory.

Overall Grade for NECC: "A"
Great job, ISTE. Thanks for allowing such creativity and balancing so many demands and expectations so well. Special thanks to Anita McAnear, who's gentle shepherding of my activities has made such a difference. You are appreciated!