Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Snow in June

Who would have thunk it. We (Dave and I and wives and friends) are in Steamboat Springs, CO just to experience the hot springs and the high country. At 5 am it started to snow. It is June and was 80 degrees yesterday. Love it -- snowed in June. So what do you do in June when it snows? You make little snowmen and put them on the railing of the balcony. That is what you do.


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Our Secret Concert

This year Don, Jeff and I organized with some insider students a secret concert. To attend you had to figure out when and where it was to be. We tried to deconstruct the normal composer/performer roles as well as redefine venue to include electronic media.

Basically, the multimedia students became the composers for the music students who worked with them to draft definitions for musical composition and improvisatory performance. We also wanted to share the "musical experience" with attendees by including them in the greater performance ensemble.

It was a fitting final concert for Don and me. We worked from a conceptual premise that changed week to week as we met with our students. And, the students were great! They trusted us and offered new fresh cross currents to our thinking and were unencumbered by traditional curricular trappings. I was incredibly proud of them.

So.... the multimedia students created video scores which guided all of us through performances. We captured the performances on video and produced them on YouTube -- our final venue. Jeff and his students were essential in completing this final step.

You can find the videos on YouTube by searching for "secret avant garde experience."

If you want I have the SLOs for the creation of the content; the performance is the authentic assessment; and the rubric for evaluating our success is the number of times the YouTube videos are viewed. Viral = Success!


Education Think Tank

I have been thinking about starting a think tank (now that I am retired and dangerous as Lisa says). It should be an educational think tank that is free from the pressures of tenure, bureaucracy, educational fads, program building, or career building. Look what has come out of political groups that have failed from the beginning -- no child left behind. What a disaster.

I have lived through so many fads like "Total Quality Education" -- now, thank God, a forgotten movement. At present the latest fad is "Student Learning Outcomes" SLO. Where is the back pressure on this movement? Out of obligation Dave and I pounded out the SLOs for the music department. If it were something wonderful, we would be better for having done this. But, we just used the accepted verbs in the order desired. And of course, we did not abuse the presentation on the hallowed form. To mess this up would have made the experience drag on and become even more ugly than it is.

So back to the think tank. It would be fresh and welcoming to not try and persuade others of an idea but let ideas or reflections bubble up in a room of proven visionaries and creative thinkers.

I think it should be called The Megill Group (it seems all think tanks have a name like this). Our product would be white papers on the insights or outsights of the group.

Yep, the Megill group needs to meet. Now that every day is Saturday, I guess it will have to be on Saturday.


Monday, June 02, 2008

Stuff -- Good Stuff

Before I retired and now, after it has begun, I faced one question over and over again.

"What are you going to do when you retire?" Not having a great response to this I kept saying that

"I will continue to produce online course and authoring some of them as well."

"For fun?"

"Yes and for money." I would respond.

Well I am now sitting around thinking of what I will really do now that I don't have to go to committee meetings, develop Student Learning Outcomes (SLO), preparing the fall schedule, build a budget and arguing it to whomever, overseeing the building of the new theater, trying to see why the door to my office doesn't work when it is a power lock and has wires rather than keys, what to take home, what to throw away, ---- it just goes on.

I think I have figured it out. I won't be doing the stuff just listed, I will be doing STUFF, GOOD STUFF, STUFF THAT I WANT TO DO.

And of course I will continue to share what I know -- you know that teacher stops working but never stops teaching which is really sharing.

Feeling good,