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Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Horizontal Contributions

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Since I am thinking in a very Google Wave like mode I thought I’d share another thought related to the tectonic change that platform may inspire. In the days after watching the video of the Wave demo I’ve been finding myself thinking about how much of our online cnversations we are missing. In the Universe the Wave has led us to conversations happen in lots of places, but are instantly available in one central place — the Wave client. What I mean is that I can start a Wave, embed it in a page, and let people contribute from all over the place. The power in what I am understanding this whole thing to look like is that these contributions are not only available in the context of the submission (perhaps a comment on an embedded wave on a blog), but also in the original Wave. What I am pulling from this is that I can, via my Wave client, revisit my social contributions in context without revisiting all the sites. Just this idea has me really spinning.

So if I apply this to the notion of the traditional blogging platform I can see where this could be really important. Here at PSU we promote our Blogs at Penn State as a publishing platform … one that is powering new forms of ePortfolios. Last summer while working with Carla Zembal-Saul we explored and shared the idea that the portfolio is more than a single person’s thinking, but also a place to engage conversations. So if we look at the fact that someone commenting enhances my own artifact, then shouldn’t we think about the comments we leave elsewhere as part of our overall evidence as well?

If I think about it, lots of times I stumble across an old blog post someone created that I’ve commented on at one point and I’ve forgotten. Sometimes I read those comments and think that I should have a way to move that content back into my own space — even if it means I can only review it out of the context of the original post. With all that said, I’ve been thinking about what I’ll call horizontal contributions. In a vertical sense we contribute original posts in our own space and people comment on them. Then if I show up at your blog, I can contribute a comment in that same vertical sense. In a horizontal model I have some sort of tracking that allows me to see not only all my own posts, but also my comments across the entire web. This would give an opportunity to gather these as further evidence of my overall contributions online.

This isn’t Wave specific per se as there are third party commenting engines that do stuff like this — if everyone on the social web used them. I’m not promoting a tool like Disqus for general use, but in an environment like ours we could easily replace our MT commenting engine with a third party one. It would be integrated into the templates so it would be invisible to users. What would need to happen is shibboleth integration, but we’ve done that before. I think it is something we’ll explore … and if we do I’ll be sure to share what we find. What do you think about this thinking? Crazy talk or is there something to it?

Written by Cole Camplese

June 3rd, 2009 at 6:08 pm

More Waving

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Thanks much for the comments from yesterday’s post! Seems there is real interest in the Google Wave platform out there in ed tech land. One thing that is striking me as interesting are the number of comments I’m getting these days via Twitter … what excites me is that people are reading in the moment and are compelled to share a short thought with me.

@colecamplese great commentary cole. Thanks for translating to .edu space! (from @Clifhirtle)

What concerns me is that these are comments that could potentially move the conversation further if left within the context of the blog post. And in that statement I am making the case for what I understand Wave to be — a platflorm that will allow for in stream communication that will filter back into context. This is amazing to me in and of itself. Today I figured out that it will be relatively easy for us to run our own Wave instance … this will (presumably) give us a layer of control that could empower a whole new level of openness and conversation in our classrooms.

The old thinking of commenting where I need you to could be destroyed — and that is an amazingly scary thought. I love it.

The big talk across the edublog space is that it could mean the end of the LMS. I’ll just say it, that’s crazy talk. What it probably means is that we might get a better footing in the LMS contract world and that we’ll have new opportunities to innovate. This platform can do quite a bit for us in the teaching and learning space, but as far as I can tell it probably will not be suited for testing on a real scale and it probably cannot replace the basics of the LMS definition — learner management. We need the LMS to do lots of things, but we also need new tools to support pedagogy that works to engage students. I think Wave will begin to even the playing field so that we have easy to use teaching and learning platforms alongside our real need to manage assessment, participation, and the like. Wave represents a new opportunity.

I am thinking quite a bit about a post by colleague Michael Feldstein … I think it and the comments should be part of any of our push to understand these changes. Its worth a read and a discussion. As always I am happy to hear thoughts!

Written by Cole Camplese

June 2nd, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Google Wave

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I’ve worked really hard over the last couple of days to make sense of the Google Wave demo from the weekend. I’ve actually taken three days to watch the demo and I have to say I am both a bit stunned and impressed. Clearly this is a huge move and one that has big implications for all of us in the .edu space. If it will be ultimately successful as a product I can’t say quite yet — I was not lucky enough to be there and to get a developer account. I’m not even going to attempt to do a review or an overview … there are plenty of those available online and the demo gives a good a view as you are going to get for the time being.

There are a couple of things I do want to throw out as reactions and see if anyone else is thinking about this stuff — and I will be wanting to talk about it when we run into each other. The first thing that comes to mind is how obvious this all is — I mean once I’d seen it. They released the tool that so many people I spend time with are always talking about, typicaly in terms like “wouldn’t it be cool if we could just edit this document in real time and just blah, blah, blah.” In so many ways, it is a real representation of the many conversations I’ve had the last several years. Once I started to see how documents could be authored in such a naturally collaborative fashion I was sold. I’ve honestly not seen something so paradigm bending in a single demo in quite a long time.

Just the portion of the demo where they are collaboritivly editing a Wave that gets instantly published to a blog is mind blowing. When anyone can wander up to that blog post and drop comments or edits and it flows back into the Wave I was beyond astonished. I can now use a blog for a big class and have every single conversation happen in real time either in that blog or in my Wave client (if that is even a real thing). Instead of browsing to sites (even via an RSS reader) I can just stay in Wave and watch all of the conversations happen. Everything I need to do can live there — I think. If it really does pull together email, Twitter, and Herculean-powered google doc like features then I can only begin to see how this can change how we use technology in the classroom. Sign me up for that as my google for education suite — you can keep the rest.

And that is one of the other things that just blows my mind … Google previewed something that could make so much of their other stuff obsolete (even before much of it comes out of beta). Honestly, why would I use separate spaces for email, collaborative document creation, project management, communication, publishing, form building, and conversations of every shape and size when I can simply live in the Wave environment. Until I see it I can’t say for sure, but so far I am impressed.

As I was watching the demo I was hanging out with my friend and colleague, Scott McDonald. Scott and I taught a course together that has gotten some press for our use of Twitter … as we are watching this demo we kept chomping at the bit to give it a go next Spring. What it left me wondering was if this will be viewed as a massively disruptive environment like nearly all the other social platforms are, or if it will be welcomed into our teaching and learning environments? It seems to have so much of what we’d want from a platform that the implications for our work is enormous. I have to say I am very anxious to see how it plays with several of the ideas Scott and I have been tossing around.

The timing is amazing as well … just as we and so many others are entering into transitional periods with our LMS/CMS environments Wave has come along and shattered our notions of what it means to use the web as a platform to empower real time conversations. I know the traditional systems cannot catch up to something like this in time, it is quite frankly just too damn insane of an environment for them to latch onto. This isn’t like bolting a blogging platform to an existing code base, this is about rethinking the way we do things together face to face and online. It is about completely rethinking learning, teaching, authoring, sharing, collaborating, and so much more. I wonder if the rest of you feel as energized by the potential? From where I am sitting, this could be the start of what is next on so many levels.

Written by Cole Camplese

June 1st, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Staying Put

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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.

Written by Cole Camplese

May 25th, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Running on Faith

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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.

Written by Cole Camplese

May 19th, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Posted in Personal,Thoughts

Social Media Lesson

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A couple of weeks ago we held our annual Symposium on Teaching and Learning with Technology here at Penn State. It was an amazing event once again — this time with just shy of 400 faculty and staff choosing to spend a beautiful Saturday with us. Our keynotes rocked, with David Wiley supplying a rallying call towards openness that has helped move our OER conversations forward. At lunch, danah boyd delivered a whirlwind of a talk that people are still buzzing about. One thing in particular was how both David and danah hung out with us not only the night before, but all day on Saturday. Up until this year none of our previous keynotes have stayed and chilled with us — they even joined us for the post Symposium party afterwards.

danah wearing the hat.

danah wearing the hat.

Sessions were excellent and the conversations in the hallways was lively. I could go on and on, but nearly all the sessions are now captured over at the Symposium site — including David’s keynote with a slick side by side widescreen presentation that our Digital Commons team came up with (danah is coming soon).

Click for full image

Click for full image

But this post is about something related … two things are lingering in my mind after the event. The first is how much Twitter was used during the event itself. The tltsym09 hashtag turned into a trending topic early in the morning — sometime during David’s opening keynote. That in and of itself is really cool and very interesting. The Twitter stream of the day is long and it does tell a bit of a story all by itself. But, sometime during the morning I realized that people weren’t really blogging the event like they had in the past — does a Twitter stream provide enough for those not there to grab onto? With the lack of sessions being blogged I am afraid we could be doing the event a disservice. I’d love to hear thoughts on how to take the Twitter stream and do some real sense making on it all.

Click for Full Screen

Click for Full Screen

The other big social media lesson I am taking away from the event has to do with Flickr and community tagging. Early on we decided to use the tltsym09 tag for the event across the social web. We were thrilled to see hundreds of photos flow into the tag aggregation on Flickr. What I wasn’t thrilled about was the hijacking of the tag by a cross dresser on his bed in lingerie. It didn’t offend me per se, but I know for a fact (from a couple of emails) some folks were mortified and I was asked to “fix” it. Flickr doesn’t really allow me to delete tags from other peoples’ photos and while the pictures clearly didn’t fit into our group, there was nothing about the pictures that would cause Flickr to pull them. Turns out it was simple to just contact the guy and ask nicely — he removed the tag.

This is one of the reasons people are terrified of openness and the social web — lack of control. It has caused us to rethink our own use of the social web, so we’ve created a Flickr account that will be the repository for our pictures, but it doesn’t solve the community stuff. I think we need to have a conversation about how we take advantage of the social web in light of the fact that it is as simple as watching the trending tags on Twitter Search and hijacking them to insert your product, pictures, etc into the flow of the emergent conversation. Funny how even after all these years of participating in an increasingly open way, we can continue to learn and adapt our usage to really take advantage of what we are learning.

Any thoughts?

Written by Cole Camplese

May 3rd, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Asking New Questions

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This morning as I was plowing through the post TLT Symposium haze I came across a track back to a couple of my posts last week over at my friend and colleague, Dr. Chris Brady’s site titled “Technology revolution or evolution.” I started to leave a comment at Chris’ blog, but thought I might work to extend the conversation a bit by offering a little bit more thought to my response. In so many ways I agree completely with what Chris is saying, but wanted to extend it just a bit.

While I don’t see any massive revolution on the horizon in the teaching space, I do see a continual refinement of our understanding of the affordances emerging (or emerged) technologies have on classroom practice. I don’t think web 2.0 is any more related to scholarship than the chalkboard when taken by itself. When I argue that new forms of scholarship are emerging, I am asking people to consider there are new opportunities to ask new types of questions that couldn’t be asked before. Take for example the “Texas Slavery Project” from the University of Richmond. When I got a chance to sit down and listen to the researchers behind it, they insisted that being able to visualize data in this environment caused them to ask questions they hadn’t considered before — that is, the technology was used to create new scholarship opportunities.

We’ve started working with quite a few humanities faculty here at ETS to let them do things with these tools that couldn’t be done before. If we dismiss the notion that these tools are somehow outside the boundaries of scholarship (and I do not believe Chris was saying that) we are not maximizing our new ability to attack new and interesting questions.

So back to the conversation around the Twitter use in the classroom that Scott McDonald and I stumbled upon … we are eager to investigate these same kinds of emergent questions in classrooms — the outcome of the Twitter use in class last year was shocking to me and without that experience I would not be able to question the value of backchannel conversations as enablers of learning. This is just a question that would not exist without the initial disruption. Is a revolution coming? Perhaps, but it will feel more like a glacier moving across the frozen tundra — a few centimeters at a time. But to me, that works because each step makes a big difference for a few students.

Written by Cole Camplese

April 19th, 2009 at 11:46 am

Upon Further Reflection

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Perhaps its been the miserable weather here in State College or the stress of running the largest and most ambitious TLT Symposium ever, but I think I’ve been grumpy. Things are looking up … today the sun came out, the sky was blue, and to top it all off last night I got to hang out with our guest Andy Ihnakto and it was a blast — so much so that I think it calibrated my perspective a bit. Today I spent the day feeling the amazing quiet before the storm that rolls in tomorrow with the arrival of both keynotes — David Wiley and danah boyd. Both of these folks are people I have followed for years and both of them have had a huge hand in forming my current thinking. I cannot wait to hang out with them. Tomorrow is the start of a killer weekend and I am now mentally prepared for what is to come. Bring it.

After I wrote my last post I felt like I needed to go back and rethink what I wrote — after doing so, I almost regretted it. Here’s why — it was short sighted on several levels. If I am honest, the people at the Chronicle event last week were overwhelmingly positive with my message. So there were a few difficult questions tossed out — and that is where the reflection comes in. I can’t spend energy being defensive or uptight about that. I have to spend my time working even harder engaging those people in real conversations. It is my responsibility and I am willing to take that really seriously.

Wordle of Positive Comments by Cindyu

Wordle of Positive Comments by Cindyu

What the talks showed me is that people are interested. What the posts in the Chronicle space illustrated was something more powerful — that people are really interested in expressing their thoughts on the changes we are seeing on our campuses. If we don’t get beyond an us vs. them approach — and I think we all know who the us vs. them represents (or is perceived to represent). We need people pushing dialogue locally related to the stories that appeared last week so we can all come out of our labs, ivory towers, classrooms, and offices to really engage in some serious conversations or we can’t make progress. All I care about is moving the conversation forward — and my early reactions to my perceived inability to engage that audience goes against everything I believe in … and it sent me into a defensive mode. I believe in pushing people to talk and without real intelligent dialogue we are doomed to spend our existence in education living in a jacked up worksheet nation. We need to forget about the power struggles, the us vs. them mentality, the edupunk need to blow it all up, and spend time finding common ground. If we do that I believe there will be places in the academy for punking, rocking, chilling, reflecting, embracing, and encouraging teaching and learning.

Four of us were having dinner
and I threw down the paper with a curse.
And my wife said, “complaining doesn’t get it,
you gotta do something or you can bet it will get worse.”
–David Crosby, Tracks in the Dust

Upon further reflection, the issues are with me — not the world. When I say that I say it because I am committing myself to the notion of the conversation and the notion of breaking through the bullshit walls so many of us (and I am in that crowd) lean on — walls that make us safe and don’t push us to work towards shared meaning and understanding. We need to forget the no we can’t mentality and move into the future.

See you at the Symposium!

Written by Cole Camplese

April 16th, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Odd Week

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Last week was strange on several levels. It was an odd set of experiences that have left me more confused than usual … so much so that I have been unable to figure out how to write about it all. I attended and presented twice at the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Tech Forum event in Washington DC and while I was really excited to attend I left feeling a bit down. I don’t think it was the event that did it to me, I just think the overall vibe was way outside of my sweet spot. It was a crowd that seemed to be much more interested in yesterday than tomorrow — and as a critical reflection, that may seem a bit short sighted or jaded but that is how I left feeling. If you look at the Twitter search results from the hashtag I introduced I think you can see a bit of the tension, although there may have only been a dozen of us using our Internet voice while things were happening. It felt like an event that was working really hard to connect with fresh ideas, but was not quite ready to let go of old constructs and have some really difficult discussions. With that said, I did learn quite a bit and I met some really interesting people while there … to top it all off, I got to present and spend time with a great friend and make some new ones. I am honestly hoping the CHE does this again and maybe invites some of us to be a part of the planning for the event. I would definitely go back — if they’ll have me.

As a personal aside, I firmly believe my talks did little to stir up the crowd in any sort of proactive ways — there were lots of folks who dismissed what I had to say as being fluffy and not based on the perceived rigors of traditional scholarship. Of course I was running a risk by showing youtube videos of Charlie getting his finger chomped on, but I wasn’t using the videos as the message — I was using them as a metaphor for the explosion of new forms of conversations happening all over the social web. I know for a fact I missed the mark with at least one audience member who had his hand up even before I finished … his comment created a strange segue into the open discussion portion … and he was serious.

If that is scholarship, we are all doomed.

Never mind the session was titled, “Building the Classroom of the Future” … these folks wanted to hear something else. It was very comforting when a woman in the audience raised her hand and told an amazing story about her 8th grade son who decided to (on his own) create a new religion. At first I was nervous where it was going, but the way she described his passion and his intensity as he researched existing doctrine to come to his own conclusions was the exact right kind of example we needed to get back from the edge of being “doomed.” Interestingly enough I spent time talking to one of the other people in the audience who really challenged my notions and he was far more interested in having a dialogue in a more private setting, even telling me he found the talk “engaging and interesting.” He didn’t seem that way during the session as he told me that all this was fine and good for the soft sciences, but there is no room for distractions in the real sciences (he was a mechanical engineer). Not sure I agree and when we did talk he told me how he does use youtube to show difficult concepts.

But perhaps the biggest stir came after the event when the Chronicle ran two separate stories on my message … the first was titled, “Web 2.0 Classrooms Versus Learning.” I was a bit upset with the use of the word “versus,” but I am guessing conflict sells — I felt as though a more appropriate title might have used the word, “supports” or even “and” as a replacement. Oh well … it created some dialogue. The thing that seemed to blow the doors off it all came about as Jeff Young from the Chronicle called me as I was driving home to talk to me about some things I mentioned about how my colleague, Scott McDonald, and I used Twitter during our classes. In the piece titled, “Professor Encourages Students to Pass Notes During Class — via Twitter” my ideas come off as a product of a crazy mad scientist using my students as guinea pigs and my class as an out of control research lab. The comment stream speaks for itself — this is a heavy debate and one that I am really hoping to engage in here locally. I think we have a lot of new opportunities to capture students imagination and engage them in new ways — if we are looking to be a bit crazy … well, here’s to the crazy ones!

And so it was an odd week that has me wondering if what I have to say really does resonate with people or if I am getting the polite nod because people actually think it is all bullshit. Not sure, but I am working to check my own confidence level and working hard this week to get my mojo rising for our own TLT Symposium. I really need to hang out with a group of really engaged and excited educators to get my head back on — and trust me, we have them here at PSU! Maybe I’m not ready to deal with the truth that nothing we do will matter outside these walls — or maybe that is the bullshit in it all. Perhaps those who call it all fluff are holding onto something that no longer exists, maybe notions of control, or maybe that never did exist? I don’t know. Do you?

Written by Cole Camplese

April 15th, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Changing Nature of Physical Spaces

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Each Saturday I meet my friend and colleague, Scott McDonald, at a local coffee shop for an hour or so to discuss some emerging research topics we’re working towards. Each week we are amazed at the number of people in Saint’s sitting on their laptops working — most of them are doing browser based work like google docs, Facebook, and the like. It is rare that I see anyone not using the browser as the primary mode of work. That is a big change from even a year or so ago.

The same can typically be observed if you walk onto our campus and into the student union building. You see table after table of students on laptops, living in their browsers — Facebook, gmail, and ANGEL seem to be what I see. Rarely do I observe work happening in “real” applications. I am guessing that will only get more common as the Blogs at PSU gain wider adoption for writing and students begin to weave google docs into their daily workflow.

PSU HUB, Photo by Allan Gyorke

PSU HUB, Photo by Allan Gyorke

I am observing a radically changing dynamic on campus that will force us to rethink much of what we offer to students. I’m glad to see my colleague, Allan Gyorke, is leading a team looking at the design of informal learning spaces because we need to really make some changes to keep up with the new reality of mobile computing. I don’t have numbers from this year right in front of me, but I am betting computer ownership among our students is close to 100% and I am betting laptop ownership is around 80% or higher. The old argument/claim that they don’t bring them to campus is holding less water for me … just as an incidental observation, there are more laptop users all over the place than I’ve ever seen.

As I was doing some reading this morning I came across an announcement that the University of Virginia is phasing out its public computing labs. Talk about a radical move! They will repurpose several of the lab spaces to support the need for collaborative work, but the idea that the stand by public computer lab is being phased out is stunning. In the linked announcement they share some remarkable usage statistics that I am fairly sure we could gather quite easily as well … from the piece,

Lab software usage statistics from 2008 reveal that out of a total of 651,900 hours spent using software in the public computing labs, 95% of the time (over 619,500 hours), students were running commodity or free programs such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe Acrobat Reader, or Microsoft Office. All of these software programs come pre-loaded on student laptops or are available at low or no cost to UVa students. In contrast, just 5% of the time spent running software in public labs was devoted to specialized packages such as MatLab, Eclipse, Mathcad, or SPSS.

The browser is winning. The idea that all students need access to specialized, high-end software like Adobe Photoshop, MatLab, CAD, and other packages is slipping as the ability to do more advanced things in the browser expands. As more of what we do moves to the cloud, the more we’ll have to rethink services. Add to it the extreme economic pressure many institutions are facing and you have a recipe for a changing physical computing landscape. I’d be really interested to know what you are seeing on and around your campuses … are students bringing laptops to campus and do you believe they live in the browser? What should we be doing to address it?

Written by Cole Camplese

March 29th, 2009 at 9:22 am

The Right Start

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I’ve had a tough time getting back into writing since my One Post a Day participation during February. March brought about Spring Break and an absolutely amazing vacation that was just what the doctor ordered … problem is that I have been buried in a way I haven’t been in some time. Every day this week I’ve been hoping to write something but I haven’t been able to find the time or the energy.

Driving to work this morning I was in a bit of a funk so I shuffled the music and got a dose of what I really needed — a serendipitous series of songs that changed my day.

It left me wondering what the things are that make our days work? So many of us walk into environments that demand change and attention that it can be a bit overwhelming and lead to frustration. Some days it works and you are ready to meet the challenges … there are other days when it is more than difficult. The best part about it is that each day provides something that makes me want to meet the challenges, to work to change things, and push thinking. The bad parts really do pull me down.

So when the perfect trio of random music carried me to my 8 AM meeting I felt better than I have. Its amazing that three songs can make a day. Are there things that change the day for you?

Written by Cole Camplese

March 18th, 2009 at 8:46 am

Posted in Thoughts

Taking a Break

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I’ve been quiet here for the last week trying to collect thoughts after writing so much last month. I think I’ll be a little quiet for the next several days as well. I’m not giving up on writing, just need to find my voice again. Before I sign off to enjoy Spring Break, I wanted to mention something … I dropped a friend of the family’s son off at school today for them and walked him to his pre-K classroom. It is the same private school my daughter went to prior to moving on to first grade this year at the public school. As I was walking down the hall I saw the quilt her class made last year as a culminating project. I was stopped in my tracks — I was just in awe of what it means.

It was filled with color, life, and inspiration. I recall hearing her talk about the quilt nearly every day last year and didn’t quite understand why it was such a big deal. Even at her graduation when they showed it off it didn’t quite hit me. Seeing this living example of my daughter’s contribution to the intellectual, emotional, and perhaps spiritual embodiment of her school in the hall today made me both very sad and very happy. It is, in every single way, in stark contrast to the representation of her contribution in the public school system — the “adequate sign.” I can’t tell you how it made me feel to know she made something tangible that the current students point to as a model for how they learn to contribute, share, and participate in the process of learning. Really an amazing thing to see.

mgc_quilt

And with that, I’ll talk to you when the mood strikes!

Written by Cole Camplese

March 6th, 2009 at 12:16 pm

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