Take a Waze


EdCampAzusa was marvelous. But it was only the beginning.


This past Saturday found me in Azusa, California. I was there to participate in EdCampAzusa, a gathering of educators for a day of unstructured, I like to say organic, professional dvelopment/personal learning (PD/PL).

I wanted to come away with more perspectives on how educators view and experience professional development: how it occurs, what questions are asked, how answers are processed. I wasn’t disappointed.

There were two EdCamps on my radar last weekend: EdCampAzusa and EdCamPalooza. Both were some distance from my home. The latter was more than twice as far away. I would have gone to it still, but the threat of bad weather made the decision for me. In both instances I would be going somewhere I hadn’t been before. The process I depend on to get to new places is Waze. Waze is an iPad app. I enter the address of where I’m going and it gives me turn-by-turn directions. If only learning were that simple.

When I leave an EdCamp it’s usually with more questions than answers. That’s where reflection, connections and Twitter chats with my PLN and serendipity come into play. Yesterday morning I had a conversation on Twitter with John R. Walkup (@jwalkup).

Fuzzy thoughts coalesced into understanding when I read that.


It’s challenging (and fun) applying what I learn with and from teachers into my instructional design craft. It can take some time, sometimes a long time, before the pegs fit. Light bulbs glow brightest when I hear something in a meeting and something clicks. I suggest it, sometimes withouth considering the organization’s culture, and then conversations begin. I love that part. It’s amazing when a half-baked idea leads to a chance to prototype. The resultant mess, an incredibly organic thing, completes the journey. It’s marvelous to be a part of.


Begin with the bend in mind


I'm doing a talk on interactive presentation design at AZTEA's Fall tech conference. In the spirit of #lrnchat and #ShowYourWork here are some things that helped me ideate and produce the experience.


What's wrong with this picture? In a typical conference session attendees mostly sit. If they have wifi and a mobile device they could be doing most anything. How can the presenter make participants out of attendees?



How about walking participants through a story a little at a time?

Maybe something that talks to us at an emotional level.

Or that asks us to think really hard about about what we want.

Maybe having someone near to guide us?


So that's the gist of the idea. Three simple slides telling a story.


Thumb Aplomb


I did a lot of rhizoming yesterday driving from Salliwell, OK to Abilene, TX. I backtracked and stopped quite a lot along the way when curiosity got the better of me. I’d see something and think about stopping to take a closer look. Only I wouldn’t stop right away. I’d continue on for a bit then think, “I may never pass this way again.” and turn around.

Photo of horses for sale


I took a couple hundred photos of stuff yesterday. It was after importing them just now from my iPhone into my Mac’s Photo app and deleting the ones that didn’t come out right that I remembered The Thumb. You know, when an errant finger finds its way into the picture frame.

Photo of an old metal slide

In the olden times of film you'd take a picture of something then later when the film comes back there it was: a thumb or finger spoiling the shot. Only today we get to see the oops in real time just after taking the picture or, as happened for me just now, whilst importing and curating the pictures.


I’d deleted all the thumbs and fingers when I remembered last night’s #LRNCHAT Twitter chat. The chat was moderated by @SarahMMcKay, a neuroscience researcher. Question 6, my tweet, and Dr. McKay’s reply came back to me.

Screen capture of lrnchat subject

My reply to Dr. McKay was to agree to disagree. Not worrying overmuch about theory and research I go about designing learning experiences with aplomb.


My design craft has been influenced greatly the past couple of years by the thoughts and experiences shared by educators I’ve met throught EdCamp, TCEA, CUE, the Elearning Guild, and my local ATD chapter.

Photo of Urbie in front of a Bigfoot crossing signpost

I can’t recall that we talk about research a lot, at least I don’t remember anyone calling out anything specific. I’m a practitioner among practitioners. But I wonder what’s out there I might be missing?


Role/Roll Your Own PD (Professional Development)


Why should kids have all the fun when they learn?


I’ve got a granddaughter. She’ll be two years old next month. That kid learns so much so fast. She’s fearless about it, too. She knows what she's about and rolls with it.

Photo of OldPa and Carly

Watching her the other day gave me an idea. How does a two year old learn compared to an adult? So I came up with this table based on information contained in the websites referenced below; I probably got the citation form wrong but it’s been a while.

Role/Roll Your Own PD (Professional Development)


Child Development Tracker, PBS Approaches to Learning, Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/two/approachestolearning.html August 23, 2015

US Department of Education, Adult Learning Theories, Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2yoAdults August 23, 2015


Who designs your PD learning experiences? If your answer wasn’t yourself I suggest you take a step back and rethink it. Who knows your interests better than you? Who knows where you want to go and what you want to do in and with your life? I suggest you take some time, as much as you need, to come up with some questions that may shed some light on where you might go for answers.

I'm going to be presenting this at a conference in October. I'll share more about it later.


This entry’s a work-in-progress. I wanted, no needed, to get this thought down for later. I didn’t want this one to be, like too many others, an idea that flitted in for a moment and then was gone forever.



Redux: Djinn Tech


About two months into my tour of duty on NavComSta Diego Garcia I got my Dear John letter. What has stayed with me was she went with a guy more into technology than I was in 1978. Shortly after arriving at Hickam AFB I hightailed it over to ComputerLand Honolulu and bought my first personal computer: a TRS-80 Model 1 Level II.


Ever since I can remember I’ve been enamored (a word, btw, my ex taught me) by technology. One of my uncles was a Navy radioman during WWII. He was all the time tinkering with stuff. I got into that TRS-80 for a couple of months; all I really remember about it was how gray it was. I soon traded up to an Apple ][ (integer model). I’ve been an Apple fanboy ever since. I bought one of the first Macintosh computers. Well I remember shopping for software and finding none. It was a sad feeling.

These long forgotten memories welled up in my mind yesterday. After being exposed to oodles of Google Chrome and Chromebook goodness during three days of CueRockStar I decided to buy one. Only the stores I went to had only one or two models available. At Staples they only had display models: none in stock. At a Best Buy the sales person began arguing with me about how I NEEDED Windows 10 as soon as I asked “Where are your Chromebooks?” As I left the store to give OfficeDepot a try I recollected my early Apple days. It felt good thinking different again.


Christy Fennewald, at great peril I believe, revealed the Secrets of a Google Ninja during her first CueRockStar session.

My take is it’s less about becoming a ninja and more about becoming a djinn. That’s how it was with me and my trusty Apple ][ and early Mac. I’m going back out again today and I will come home with a Chromebook.

What’s a Meta You?


It's Jon's fault.


I'm in Las Vegas through Friday. I'm participating in Cue Rockstar Las Vegas edition. Someone asked me a little while ago what I thought about it.

To review: Since EdCampWestTexas in 2013 the bulk of my PD has come from learning from and sharing with K-12 educators. It occurred to me the other day that I'm at the point where I'm learning less about things (educational technology tools) and more about metacognition: How others practices inform and inspire my learning experience design work.

So far I've learned how teachers design learning experiences using Google applications. I'm in the process of learning about PBL/IBL (more on these later).


I like how experiential CUEROCKSTAR is. Even though we're not making things (so far) there is the two-way dialogue reminiscent of EdCamp. There's more time for conversation. The cool part is going deep on why teachers applied pedagogy and technology to content/context.

Gotta go. Lots going on





EDU Rocks


What happens when we're not expecting or ready to learn and we witness something amazing, do we learn anyway? Or put another way: If a father is helping his eldest daughter haul a mattress across town and he hears something amazing during a podcast but there is no one around to test him on it has he really learned?


Some time ago a peer I respect greatly explained how education and training are two different things. Education, as I understood him to say, is foundational systematic learning involving a teacher. Training, on the other hand, is teaching skills or behaviors to someone.

Then and now I'm not so sure education and training are all that different. Both involve a teacher. What does foundational mean anyway? When we learn don't we build on what we know already? One more question to mull over.


Anyway, I get to go to CUERockstar Vegas in 10 more days. I have been anticipating this since CUE15 last March. I feel like a 30 year old again as I pour (drool?) over everything I can find about it.

Today's CUERockstar Aha! moment came to me thanks to @adnanedtech and his The Convergence of Education Productivity & Technology podcast, episode 19. He interviewed CUERockstar's papa, @jcorippo. Several things said brought me up short. I had to stop what I was doing and give a serious listen to him explain:

  • ROCKS is a web domain available for registration
  • Educational research is six years behind what teachers are practicing today
  • How @davidtedu's ideas expressed in his blog make him cry

I have been a little worried the past couple years when I try something I learned alongside teachers at an EdCamp or CUE conference or Twitter chat. Some ideas have worked straight out of the box. Others didn't go over do well at first. I haven't failed outright (given up) just yet though. Maybe it's grit or something else but I love learning about and trying ways to improve my instructional design craft.

Sketch of a researcher six months behind teachers teaching

Hearing researchers were years behind how teachers practice teaching today made me smile. Hearing that someone else gets emotional while learning from others made my face break out in a wide grin.


I think CUERockstar is a learning experience like no other. I am looking forward to all the goofs I'm going to make on the way to mastery. I can't wait!

Oh yeah, one more thing. I registered urbie.rocks. It'll go live August 5th at CUERockstar Vegas.

** I saw Paper Towns yesterday. I like how Margo Roth Spiegelman explained capital letters in the middle of words.