February 25th, 2011


My good friends, Corey and Sarah, are building a fantastic website called MercuryApp.  It tracks your feelings over time to help you make decisions.  While you’re using it, you can pick a selection of ratings, one of which are pandas that I have drawn.


And, because Corey and Sarah are so good, you’ll never see the 404 page, but if you ever did, you’d see my illustration here.

NCCEP/GEAR UP Capacity Building Workshop

February 20th, 2011


I have just returned from the NCCEP/GEAR UP Capacity Building Workshop in sunny Orlando, Florida. I’ve returned with a horrible, horrible cold (happens every time I get on a plane, I swear).  I’ve also returned wondering how I could get it to be more sunny in Chicago. Finally, I’ve returned with some interesting information on the GEAR UP RFP process and how things are changing at the federal level. I was super happy to see the emphasis being placed on STEM, and was thrilled to see congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA) speak, as he played a huge role in making these opportunities available for our students. I plan on attending the NCCEP conference in San Francisco in July, and meeting more fellow GEAR UPers.

iMATHination 2011

February 7th, 2011


This past weekend was CTC’s 5th annual iMATHination conference in lovely St. Charles, Illinois at the grand Q Center.  The focused content includes algebra, geometry and integrated math/science, math/technology sessions.  I love iMATHination mostly because it treats teachers the way they ought to be treated: like professionals.  Aaron Cortes, the Director of UBMS, and I presented on our afterschool and summer STEA2M (Science, Teachnology, Engineering, Arts, Agriculture and Math) programs.

I’m an AEL again!

February 2nd, 2011


Awesome!  Adobe has just informed me that I have been selected to serve a new two-year term as an Adobe Education Leader (AEL)! That’s another 2 great years of excellent resources and an amazing network of people interested in advancing K12 education.  Yay!

Listen: Explaining remote sensing remotely

January 17th, 2011


In a reversal of what we’ve done in the past of me teaching students in the UK, my colleague Ian Usher (with some help from Greg Hodgson) taught Photography and Imaging to students here in Chicago as part of the UBMS program.  He brought on some fascinating guests and did an amazing job of teaching, giving me lots of ideas for my next online course!  One of his guests, Dr. Mat Disney, was recently featured in the University College London site for the work he did with us!

VSS 2010

November 17th, 2010


I had a great time at VSS 2010, and in Arizona.  It’s a lovely state, and I hope to one day see more than the amazing Grand Canyon and Sedona.

The conference was a wonderful opportunity for learning and networking.  Our presentation, Games Design Workshop: Using a Blended Model to Teach Digital Media, was very well received and we got great feedback.

You can learn about our endeavors with teaching digital media virtually with industry professionals on our brand new blog,  Big World Learning.

Google Apps for Education @ CTC

November 10th, 2010


For the past year, I’ve been working on implementing Google Apps for Education (GAFE) for the Chicago Teachers’ Center.  We’re now in the process of rolling out training for our employees, so that we can all share documents, calendars, websites, photos, videos and so much more!  This will make helping the students of Chicago so much easier!

Here’s a picture of our staff posing in their Halloween costumes in front of our new GAFE poster that Google so kindly sent us.

YAL 2010

October 23rd, 2010


Last night, with help from Cole Pierce and Andy David, I presented at YAL’s 10th anniversary at the Q Center in St. Charles on the GEAR UP Summer Film Institute. I talked a little bit about how our philosophy aligned with Learning By Design (LBD) (a kind of inquiry education), gave an overview of the process, and showed a couple of the student films. The presentation was very well-received and the teachers in attendance wanted to learn how they could do this at their schools!

All in the Game Plan

October 1st, 2010


There’s a nice article this month by Jack Kenny in TES about the games course.  It’s getting me all excited about the directions we are going to take it this year.  We’re hoping to branch out to new subject areas and refine the way we teach in our online courses, getting more students more interested in and prepared for STEM careers!


September 2nd, 2010


So, in case I haven’t told you, or you haven’t noticed on Facebook or Twitter, I’m now a student.  Again.  I’m a doctoral student in Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Education.  I’m going part-time, while working full-time at the CTC.  If I finish, it would be in 7 years; I will be 40.  It won’t be easy, and I’m still not positive I can do it.  But luckily, my family, friends and coworkers are incredibly supportive, so I’m going to give it my best shot.

I started with a class in Essentials of Quantitative Inquiry in Education (otherwise known as basic stats) this past summer, which was a rough introduction, but I was able to get through with a good instructor and patience from everyone around me.  I am now in Cognition and Instruction with Dr. Gavelek, a class I adore, even though I’m not entirely sure I know what we’re talking about half of the time; and Proseminar in Educational Psychology with Dr. Thorkildsen, which is proving to be super helpful figuring out why I am doing what I am doing and how I should go about doing it.

Anyhow, I’m very excited and scared and happy and everything … it’s going to be quite a trip.