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Next best thing to being there


The image above is a screen shot from a session I did for a Pennsylvania school district over my lunchtime today, using Elluminate, a popular web collaboration tool. With a microphone/headset, a video cam, and my PowerBook, I was able to present to a group of K-12 teachers, share a slide show, do some real-time Q&A, and monitor comments via chat. Sort of fun. Got a very nice round of applause at the end. A polite group, I expect.

I hope the means of delivery was as much a "lesson" for these educators as much as anything I had to say. Teaching and learning is possible from distances with few equipment requirements. I didn't have the hassle of travel and the school didn't have the expense of my travel. OK, I still think F2F is a more rewarding experience, but this wasn't so bad.

The online presentation format has been picking up for me over the past year or so. I've worked with college classrooms, educational service districts, private companies and now school districts using Elluminate, GoToMeeting and WebEx (if I remember the names correctly). And Second Life as I mentioned recently.

I still feel like a rookie as an online presenter. A person learns a few things after having given hundreds of F2F presentations and workshops. This feels new and not all my tricks can be ported to this new medium.

I guess it keeps the brain cell stimulated. 


Tall tales

The Weather Bug says it is -17F here in southern Minnesota. That's -27C for those of you living in civilized places. Wind chill factor is predicted to be -35F (I don't think the Celsius scale goes this low.) I asked the LWW to remind me again just why we live here. She didn't have a convincing answer.

The temps did put me in mind of this old Paul Bunyan tall tale:

Well now, one winter it was so cold that all the geese flew backward and all the fish moved south and even the snow turned blue. Late at night, it got so frigid that all spoken words froze solid afore they could be heard. People had to wait until sunup to find out what folks were talking about the night before. ... from Babe the Blue Ox retold by S. E. Schlosser

Actually that year Schlosser describes was fairly mild. When I was a little boy growing up on the prairie, we had a winter so cold that our words didn't thaw until springtime. It was so noisy that June, a person needed ear plugs.

I absolutely loved tall tales as a kid. How many of these do you remember?

  • Paul Bunyan the Lumberjack
  • Pecos Bill the Cowboy
  • Febold Feboldson the Farmer
  • Stormalong the Sailor
  • Casey Jones and John Henry the Railroad Men
  • Mike Fink the Riverboat Man
  • Joe Magarac a Steel Worker

And whose tales did I forget?

Who should our tall tales be written about today? What occupations characterize heroic deeds and challenges?

  • Chip Motherboard the IT Manager
  • Susie Subprime the Realtor
  • J.P. Speculator the Futures Trader
  • Jean Genome the Genetic Engineer
  • Twelve Squarefeet the Cubicle Worker

With the right imagination, I suspect pretty good deeds of derring-do could be constructed for most of today's workers. Stuff to amaze and inspire.

Do today's kids read tall tales or have Babe the Ox and Slue-Foot Sue been thrown over for super heroes and urban myth? I'm feeling old.

Talk to you again - in the spring?


Not the Paul I remember, but... 




Get on the stick, Minnesota librarians!

Check this out, Minnesota librarians:

23 Things On a Stick Officially Begins January 20, 2008.
You will find all the details and be able to register your blog that day.

In the meantime, here is the Intro!

Have you ever thought, ”Gosh, I wish I had time to learn more about Flickr , wikis , or (enter your Web 2.0 tool here)?” Well, this is your chance to take the time to focus on your personal and professional development around Web 2.0 tools. It’s fun to explore these tools and figure out ways to use them in the library, with your personal Web sites, or in other ways.

23 Things On a Stick is the Minnesota twist on the Library Learning 2.0 program developed by Helene Blowers at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenberg County and adopted or adapted byhot_dog_and_fries_on_a_stick.jpg many other libraries and organizations since then. 23 Things On a Stick was developed by the seven multitype multicounty library systems as part of the staff development the multitypes offer in their regions.

Who Can Participate
This program is open to all staff in any Minnesota library—public, academic, school, or special—as well as members of their Governing Boards, their Friends groups, or Advisory Groups. 23 Things on a Stick is approved for Minnesota Voluntary Certification for Library Employees and CEUs . Experienced Web 2.0 users as well as novices and everyone in between are invited to join. This is self-paced and self-directed.

Registration begins January 20, 2008. You must register your blog by February 15 and then complete all 23 Things by April 16, during National Library Week.

23 Things on a Stick will be a breakout session on January 28 at the MEMO Midwinter Conference. School librarians and everyone else are invited to attend the Monday sessions to learn more and begin completing the 23 Things on a Stick. You do not need to attend MEMO Midwinter to participate.

Thanks to the Multitype Directors and Minitex for helping get this going. It'll be great fun. I'll gettin' my prize come National Library Week! I can only hope it is a new Jaguar or round the world cruise!

Great name by the way. For non-Minneostans, state fair goer can find nearly anything they care to eat "on a stick."