Archive for the 'work' Category

I really enjoyed this Wired article talking about Andrea Lunsford’s meta study of student writing from 2001-2006. What was fascinating to me was to realize how much more writing students are doing, especially outside of class. Compared to any generation before them, the volume of writing is astoundingly higher. Yes I know, the vast majority of that writing may seem to consist of meaningless combinations of LOL, ROFL and links in 140 character burst, but Lunsford’s data reveals a rich landscape many of us may not realize exists. Its worth a quick read, and of course we work very closely with the Writing and Rhetoric program at Wallenberg and supporting their efforts in two of our classrooms.

Read the Wired article

Media multitaskers pay mental price, Stanford study shows

Procrastinators of the world have never been more able to exercise their skill than in today’s media rich world. Forever connected at hip, fingertips and earlobes, we can always find a way to flip between tasks. Quick Facebook update, send a chat message here (its ok, its about work), ooh, new email better reply. And on it goes. I often find myself opening a browser window and by the time it loads (clearly Firefox 3.5 still ain’t fast enough!) I forgot what I was opening it for, and I’m moving on to something else.

Maybe you’re like me and have a nice electronic calendar and task system, and yet somehow, that system does not do the tasks for you. I forget less of them, but I am still struggling to budget time for bigger projects that require uninterrupted time. Those of us who didn’t grow up with a cell phone in one hand and a kindle in the other realize that cognitively we aren’t coping well with this. As an educator, I keep hearing people arguing that today’s children are cognitively different and more able to cope with multiple streams of information. As the father of a 5 year old, I constantly try and foster his ability to focus on a single task, not multi-task.

Clif Naas here at Stanford has done some interesting studies to show what’s happening to students when they multi-task.
Check out the video: Video about multitasking


Stanford…2 months later

At last, a new photo

Two months ago, I accepted a new position at Stanford University work for SCIL (Stanford Center for Innovations in Learning) which is housed inside of Wallenberg Hall. The history of Wallenberg is a rich one that started back in 2002 when the Wallenberg family funded a massive remodeling of Building 160. They have been a thought leader in learning space design ever since then, and I was given the opportunity to join them and work towards creating a “version 2” of WH.

Now that I am settled in and getting the know the community, I am still amazed at the diversity of energetic individuals pursuing interesting projects within the walls of Stanford. Innovative and stimulating ideas are constantly interjecting themselves into my daily activities and its often hard to focus on getting anything done, because you’re constantly pulled towards another idea path.

But, my move to Stanford was not entirely unnoticed, and I have received no small amount of haranguing for this writeup in Campus Technology’s February ’09 issue. Campus Technology has been a great partner while I was at SJSU and I’m humbled by this little spot. BTW, the photo credit is Bob Smith’s as we walked outside and he literally took a picture in two seconds. He’s the man.

At last, a new photo

Cycling is taking over the world

As I was walking in to work today, I came across this incredible piece of transportation. I have never seen anything quite like it, and thought it needs to be shared. I unfortunately did not see the student who rode this bike in, but I have a feeling they are in the Art/Design class in the IC. Who else would come up with something quite this spectacular.

Computer Awareness Class, circa 2001Based upon some work I did this summer, I had the opportunity to speak with T.H.E. Journal, a technology-focused education journal catering to K-12. The result was an article, called “A Moveable Feast” focusing on learning spaces and how K-12 is reacting to the higher ed trends in learning space design. Diana Oblinger from Educause was also interviewed, putting a nice overall perspective that complimented my up close and personal experience in the classroom. The contrast between my Crestview years and now was a powerful reminder of the feeling of many educators: the learning space is the last on the list of considerations, you make do with what you have. My room was converted from a swimming pool, made of brick, and windowless. They ran raceway for power and data along the walls, and we were not permitted to move anything in the classroom. I had 30 computers, and often up to 35 or more students. I brought in recycled machines from other places (thanks to my friends and donors at the local university) and made it work. I took ownership of the one projector in the building, ran a wire 30 feet across the floor, and did the best I could. The Incubator Classroom begs a different question: how would you like to teach today? Having been constrained in rooms that aren’t much better than mine at Crestview, faculty are flabbergasted by the choices. Its been a fun road getting here.

So what did this classroom look like? Well for your consideration and revelry I dug some up and put them on here for you. Granted they were taken with a digital camera that stored 30 images on a floppy disk, so keep that in mind.

Crestview Middle School Classroom Front Classroom DoorBrain DaySetting up for the first year

Learning Spaces Seminar at Campus Technology

When it rains, it pours! The last few weeks have been On December 11, I had the opportunity to present at Campus Technology’s Winter Conference with some great folks in learning space design. Robert Emery Smith from Stanford, Alan Cattier from Emory, and James Frazee from SDSU presented along with Mary Jo and myself. Its was a great time and we really had fun. I created a page on our website with info: or if you want to read about the session: While I prattled on longer than I had wished to, the sheer experience and wisdom assembled in the room made the whole day a great success.