Friday, April 24, 2009

Time to Celebrate

Wow it is hard to believe but a year ago Sarah and Ray were newly hired at the EMC. We were not in the Champlain Mill. We did not know Michel. We were not working with Peter Bingham on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to create games for patients with CF. We were not working with the marvelous crew at Population Media Center and Aminata and Leyla at the UNFPA on the game to address Violence Against Women. Heather Kelley was not with us. And Megan Frenzen was not at Champlain! South Africa was a distant place with people we did not know. Ken was not working with us. We had not worked with Paul, Tom, and Paul at IBM. There was no Teletrust or "Disaster Master". We were searching for funds to work on the Info Lit games and did not know Andy! 

Wow! We have a to celebrate—the efforts of hard working Champlain faculty, staff and administrators. The incredible creativity and work of 114 Champlain students! The commitment of all our partners, who now are our friends. And celebrate we shall! Please join us  Thursday, April 30, 2009 5:00 PM-9:00 PM (GMT-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada) for a party in the Mill—games, art creation, pizza, and I hear a disco ball. I am especially looking forward to sharing the video magic of our video blog crew! Come join us!

The sad piece is that Champlain graduation is May 9th and we will miss those students we will be losing!!!! Come celebrate what they have brought to us all!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Night caller

Pardon me if this post is due to flights of fancy resulting from a mere four hours of sleep (ah weather and air flight!)...or perhaps to thoughts tossing in my head like bright fall leaves in a windstorm:  Red Burns—her life discoveries critically shaping "computational media"; our soon-to-be graduating seniors—we will miss these key individuals who in growing have shaped the EMC and us alongside them; a summer suddenly blossoming with new, future focused projects; and the puzzle pieces of learning being positioned for a new Masters based within the EMC. All these ramblings swirl around the question of wisdom and wealth: how we come to possess it and where does it lead? 

Then propelled out of the darkening forest under the power of a 4 foot wingspan, wise Athena alights upon a pine that keeps guard over my backyard pond! Or is she perhaps the Hindu goddess Lakshmi, purveyor of wealth and generosity? 
Is she not one and the same—wisdom and wealth? Or does this owl symbolize our graduates on their journeys (is it coincidental that Spring owls are most easily sighted and in Spring graduates fully fly the nest)? Or as a dusk-to-night visitor, is the owl a metaphor for the sorting of our dreams, of our selves? Whoo? Or as a night caller is she a portent of where our technological dreams may lead us? What the day lit future will reveal? 

Thoreau writes in Walden
 "I rejoice that there are owls. Let them do the idiotic and maniacal hooting for men. It is a sound admirably suited to swamps and twilight woods which no day illustrates, suggesting a vast and underdeveloped nature which men have not recognized. They represent the stark twilight and unsatisfied thoughts which all have."

Monday, April 20, 2009

I dreamed...

It has been quite a while since I last posted. Partly this has been due to the fact that SO much has been going on, partly due to the pressure of insuring the EMC finds financial stability, partly to insuring that the students, project teams and partners are supported in non-financial terms, partly to insuring that projects  in-house deliver and are completed, partly to seeking funding to support said projects to completion...this all on top of normal operating and faculty responsibilities.
This is what I have not been able to report on—the students have produced enormous results: 
  • Innovation Congress successful and we will be doing a variation of it at the VHA conference in May in San Antonio, 
  • the Masie Learning 2008 team blew away all expectations with Teletrust
  • CIMIT RIPS—solidly done and delivered, 
  • America's Army—the online community commented that they may have been some of the best maps to come out of the line recently, 
  • IBM project presented a concept so awesome I can't wait to see it on my desktop and now the project is going into Stage 2 funding, 
  • UNFPA Violence Against Women—presented at MIGS, a digital concept successfully presented and Stage 2 received funds to extend development through to July, 
  • Cystic Fibrosis game project—concepts to be released for testing in a month, 
  • Burlington 3D—models excepted into Google Earth and funding extended through the summer (fly in and check out the models around campus), 
  • and then there's all the other cool projects happening—the video blogs, the wiki, and now Twitter (see our roll on the right)!
But what I have also not been able to report on is our community! We've grown to over 114 students involved in varying ways in varying projects. We've grown in so many other ways as well.
Yet we have so much further to reach and to make happen. I'm writing once again from JFK. Today I was extremely fortunate to meet with a woman who blows me away and if we can create half what she has done, the world could be that much richer. President Finney introduced us via email, as she was a former colleague of his at NYU. 30 years ago despite the challenges that beset visionaries dreams, Red Burns began I.T.P. at Tisch . Meeting her, I felt as if I was meeting a sister soul. Perhaps today more than ever we need to share her vision—a dream of a collectively created future. Red sees humanity first and technology second—as an enabler, a connector, not as a vehicle for separation and disassociation. 

One last dream I wish to share comes from Wes Knee's blog. He begins "Last night I dreamed of Africa...". Perhaps this is how humanity calls out to those who have the ends to enable change—through our dreams. A call to share. Personally I can not dream of a better purpose for a teacher than to enable her students to follow these dreams.