Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why the Cultured Web?

I suppose I should have done this first, but better late than never..

I taught elementary school right out of college. The school was across the street from my home. I relieved teachers during their 45 minute break. It became apparent very quickly the children needed to move. That concept was not always accepted in an environment where young children were expected to sit quietly for long periods of time. I taught first grade the following year, just to think some of these children didn't know how to hold a pencil! I integrated many new techniques, sometimes "exotic" activities, such as who could create the biggest bubble with their bubble gum, yes, we discuss size, how to....get it off your face after it burst. Every child's art work was displayed, much to the dismay of the administration, " was messy...".

I left teaching to live in Europe, where I taught English to executives for a couple of years. Upon my return, I got a position teaching on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, in a Junior High school, I taught English. Books and supplies were always lacking, the neighborhood was being incinerated (1970's) and drugs were rampant. I knew I had to bring in things to expand their worlds. I believed (and still do) I had to introduce them to the best literature, even if I had to read to them, which I did often . I wanted to get them out of the school and past their neighborhood boundary of 14th street, where most rarely ventured. The city's museums served us well, the Donnell Film Library offered relevant films such as the Miracle Worker with Ann Bancroft, MOMA, Guggenheim, Museum of Natural History just to site a few. After 10 years, I left for a better school, a new school, a new neighborhood.

IS 226 in Queens, NY was deemed a Chancellor school, the principal introduced the school as innovative, it had a longer day....yes, parents could pick their children up after work. Sadly, I lasted one year, and ultimately left the NYC Public School system. I have fond memories as a 5th grade English teacher/mentor during the year. I trained a group of children to run the mini-marathon in Central Park, running around the school for training, much to the chagrin of the Principal. We read, watched, and acted out some of the great classics, The Red Pony, The Telltale Heart, Of Mice and Men and Nosferatu (first Dracula film). My desires of what I wanted to be as teacher/mentor, and how to educate were being challenged too often.

I marketed word processors for Philips. Then worked for Data General, one of my accounts was Carnegie Hall. Training was sorely needed, "...ah, back to teaching..", what I enjoy doing most. I left DG, and started Innovative Computing, teaching the entire staff at Carnegie Hall. A perfect milieu, challenging applications to develop, intelligent people, the arts, and freedom to develop classes as needed. I stayed for 3.5 years. WordPerfect offered a certification which I achieved giving me a phenomenal foundation into the guts of computing. I then moved on to Goldman Sachs for one year. At that time the buzz of the Internet was heard, the graphical interface had evolved. I was asked by BBN - Bolt, Bernanek, Newman to find a space to demonstrate the Internet using Mosaic in NYC. In return I was able to attend a 3 day seminar. I remember being unable to sit still, I knew what was coming. NY Magazine featured Innovative Computing twice: MAC Daddy and Webbed passion for the web grew, I see it as the library of the world.

In 1998 I attended my first Museums and Web conference and decided these website have to be introduced to the teaching and learning community as a major resource, with potential of replacing many heavy, expensive, old, boring textbooks. The Internet afforded safe, interactive, edutaining, prime source materials to anyone with connectivity and a computer. I search many resources for museum and cultural web sites with educational components. I am always seeking new sites, so if you know of any please let me know and I will enter them into the database:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Magnum Photos

This site is owned and operated by the photographers shown on this site. Their chronicles of the world events and happenings is truly the best I have seen. Take a look, what do you think?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

BABBEL - Having Fun Learning a Foreign Language

Bravo, Brava, Bravi...a well done site to learn a language. Begin with basics, and expand your vocabulary to various timely conversations. Try it, see if it works for you. We think this is a great complement to textbook learning, what do you think? We'd like to hear what you think.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Renaissance Begins - Barack Obama

The 44th President of the United States with his beautiful, loving, and intelligent family will grace our Whitehouse. Rumor has it that as promised the girls will get their puppy, a poodle! Tell us what you think....