About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Teaching with technology in a non-tech room: solutions

As I mentioned previously, I am teaching two sections of the same class, one in a tech room, the other in a non-tech room. Well, come to find out the second section is only in a semi-tech room as I don't have a computer monitor, although I have access to the internet through a lcd projector.

I do have a video and DVD monitor, and have received some information from other blogs that have given me some ideas as to how I might use technology. All of my students have access to e-mail, the internet (at least through the school library), and a computer. However, one consideration has to do with the school filters to certain sites. So working through the library, at home, and my school office, I tested different sites and have decided on a few. In additions to the constraints listed above, I also have be considerate of the FERPA laws, that insure privacy for students over the age of 18. Our school interprets this as students are only required to use the technology that has officially been recognized through the university, requiring password protection. As a result, any outside technology I use must be optional, with the possible use of aliases.

I have decided to use a Ning, in which I post links, resources (I am not using a text this semester), discussion forums for student questions with the option of online class discussions when the weather requires the cancellation of class (such as tomorrow when 12 inches of snow is expected). The ning also allows for videos to be posted (for those that have the technology), groups to be created, and a chat function. Since I have two sections for the same class, I have one site. Today I informed my students that some of the questions posed will be appropriate to both classes or one class or another. As a result, as I answer questions, I will need to identify whether the answer is true for both classes, or class 1 or class 2 only. I have also decided to create two groups within the Ning for online discussions, one for each class.

I have also decided to use delicious as another format for students to find links, especially for video clips I want them to watch. Most of the video clips will be through YouTube, which is one of the few programs not blocked (due to faculty request). Students will be able to submit assignments through e-mail. One quirk about our e-mail is that during the semester, e-mail may take up to 48 hours to post. However, e-mails are time dated at the moment it is posted. I have found e-mails posted 2 days earlier, despite the fact that I check the e-mails daily. I opted not to use the LMS for assignments because assignments that were posted (I had actually seen them) were disappearing after they were posted. As our ITS department were not able to identify what the problem was, I decided to use a more reliable technology (albeit, late in access, the posting date and time is accurate).

I am still trying to download clips and format them into a usable form for the DVD playable. I also need to look into hooking up the laptop to the TV or the LCD projector. However, I will need to determine if I can get internet access in the room as we are currently having our buildings converted for wireless access in all of the classes. This conversion will take place over the next 3 months on a rolling basis. If I have internet access, both my students and I will be able to access additional resources. I will place students into groups according to laptops so they can access and analyze video clips of speeches.

Hopefully, this will be helpful for those who have limited or no access to technology in the classroom. I am open to more ideas on how to integrate technology into a non-tech classroom!

Friday, January 23, 2009

The advantages (and disadvantages) of live webcasts

We just had a new senator appointed to take the place of Hilary Clinton for our state. As I watched the live webcast, and the formal speeches ended, I was amused at the way that the state press secretary (tried) to handle the press. After a couple of minutes of asking the press to return to their seats, he whispered something to the Governor. Then he announced, "If the press does not take their seats in 2 minutes, the Governor will leave." And still the members of the press, like disorderly school kids, wandered around. Finally, someone took the mic and began to call on members to ask their questions.

Just like a classroom, many members of the press then answered. However, some still were walking around and speaking (in none too quiet voices). Also during this time, you could hear the new appointee, Kirsten Gillibrand, apologize to the governor for going over her time. "I was a bit nervous, "you could hear her murmur.

New Access to Information

The new technologies have given those who want it an unprecidented access to information without the commentary. In the press conference that followed, I was very impressed with the level of knowledge that the new senator has on a variety of issues. I was also shocked at the lack of respect and even rudeness that some of the reporters showed during the press conference. I will be interested in hearing what the edited version will be.

What this means is that citizens can listen to either the edited version or the unedited version. When listening to the commentary on the President's inauguration speech, I wondered if I had listened to the same speech. My children were not allowed to hear the entire speech, so we looked for the full speech on line so they could hear it for themselves.

This is not to say that I don't think there is a role for the press. However, the press is not the only opinion or "experts" any more who decide which information "the common person" can hear (or tolerate). In rehearing the President Obama's speech, for example, I was able to pick up on new things I had missed in the original speech (because of the press commentary). It did not mean I agreed with them, but it gave me a different perspective.

Future of the Press

I feel that this is the dawn of a new role for the press. It is important that citizens have access to our govenment processes. We should have access to the bodies of government, including their debates, decision making processes, and even a way to dialog with policy makers. To do this, we need to change our current, old fashioned way of teaching civic education to make government more interactive.

We also need our government officials to be aware that we have access to their decision making process. They should not be afraid of the public, but rather aware of it.

Did you know....?

There have been some interesting tidbits I have gathered about the new US administration. Among the more interesting for me are:

  • The Obama's head speech writer, Jon Favreau, is only 27. He helped to write the Iowa speech when he was 26. I am hoping this will be motivational for my undergraduates taking my course in Speech Composition and Presentation.
  • Jill Biden received her Ph.D. in Education Leadership in 2007. This definately gives me inspiration to finish my dissertation! And should inspire all my fellow bloggers working on their Ph.D.'s (Janet Clarey), while working and raising a family.
  • There were almost 2 million people at the inauguration, yet not one arrest. It just goes to show that people can be respectful of each other.
  • President Obama's mother died of ovarian cancer. It is no wonder he is so keen on health care for all. Any child (young or adult) who has had to go through a parent's fatel disease knows of the fear as to whether your parent will be able to get the best treatment available.
  • As a child in Indonesia, Obama's mother would wake him up in the early morning to give him English lessions for 3 hours before school began. This is the life that many immigrant children live in the US as well. I have friends and family from all over the world that teach their children their home language so their children can maintain contact with relatives in other countries.
Some questions I would like to pose to the new administration if I had the chance:

  • How much of the speech does President Obama write himself? (This is a common question my students pose about speech writers that I don't really have an answer for).
  • What skills did Jon Favreau develop to become such an effective speech writer? What skills would he suggest that my students develop if they want to be a speech writer?
  • What languages does President Obama speak? I know that Bill Clinton was fluent in German. Will foreign languages be put back into a national priorty for educational policy?
  • How long did it take for Jill Biden to get her Ph.D.? How did she balance a job, her husband's job, family, and school?
  • As our first Tech Savvy President, how will President Obama support teachers (at all levels of education) to integrate technology into the classroom? What is his proposal for closing the digital divide, especially in rural areas where there is no infrastructure for the type of high tech equipment needed to be tech savvy?
If you had the opportunity to ask the administration any questions, what would they be? (I have not heard any of these questions addressed by the press!).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Doing collaborative learning correctly

I just read Ken Allen's post on Collaborative Learning and felt that it deserved a post rather than a comment.

In the post Ken addresses Donald Clark's comments on the failure of collaborative learning. He says:

Clark explained how this has not worked, in spite of the huge cost in the attempt. Much of what he is quoted as saying has not moved a smidgen from the opinion he has shared on his blog since the interview.

I am not sure what Clark is using to measure the failure of collaborative learning. What I find is that the current educational system in the US is based on standardized tests which do not measure "deep thinking" or social interaction. My students come to the university expecting to be spoon feed by the professor, learning only what is going to be on the test, and not able to work in teams and groups. Furthermore, I hear complaints from those in business that new graduates don't have any ability to plan their work, work in teams, work without direction, problem solve (especially "messy" problems), or network effectively. My sister, who is in the field of science and my brother in law (a veterinarian and researcher for veterinarian pharmaceuticals) also have been seeing this trend in science. This is the result of an educational system based on testing, not collaborative learning.

What is collaborative learning

One of the common mistakes for new teachers using collaborative learning is that they equate "group work" with "collaborative learning". Vygotsky, in fact, did not take the teacher out of the equation but rather looked at learning as a social process. Many of my student teachers will put children in groups "to learn from each other."

As Ken asks: How does a group of children assist each other to develop the numeracy that they need? How does such a group help one another to improve their reading abilities? How can a group of young learners teach each other about Science or History or learn a second language?

I can only speak from second language learning, however, it can be done. In fact, this is the way in which I teach second language (French and English). Unlike my students that have a vague sense of what they want children to get out of a group experience, it takes me a lot to plan a group activity. Part of the plan is analyzing what my students have coming into the activity, what they will need from me, how much "space" I can give the groups, even a question of which students will need to be put into the group. If I do the groups randomly, I must know the needs and dynamics of these groups (which an inexperienced teacher might have trouble doing).

Also important in planning the collaborative learning activity is how I am going to assess it, and the directions that will be given to the students. This structure takes a lot of planning and anticipation of problems, my role, student roles, and scaffolding for learning.

For example, a elementary level English language class for middle schoolers working on pronunciation of "sch" or "sk" sounds can do this collaboratively. I might begin by having students in groups, generate a list of words with that sound. They would write down the list. This allows students to build vocabulary that they might not have had if they were to do it individually. I would need to monitor the list, check it over, ask the group questions such as "should 'schedule' be included in this?". After this activity, I would address to the class as a whole the question of schedule (which is pronounced differently in the US--part of the list--than in England--not part of the list). Next, I would have students create a dialog or "jazz chant" (basically a rhyme) so students could work on the pronunciation in context. After this has been created, I would ask each group to practice saying the dialog or chant out loud as a group. As they practiced, I would monitor their progress, identifying when there were problems with combination of the "sk" sound with other sounds. I would then ask students to come up with strategies to over come those problems. I might write group suggestions on the board as groups are working, take my own notes, or just monitor areas that need further work.

What is key here is that I am still working as a teacher. This is not the time for me to correct, or tune out. One of the hardest skills to learn as a good facilitator of collaborative learning is to monitor multiple groups simultaneously, listening and speaking at the same time. It also takes a tremendous amount of management skill to ensure the groups stay on task. In addition, the teacher needs to be able to identify common problems and address those problems either immediately or to create a lesson for the next class to follow them up.

Can collaborative learning work?

I am a product of collaborative learning. While my own learning was not completely based on collaborative learning, what I remember most from school were lessons in which we learned collaboratively. My high school was considered "experimental". We had 3 different types of classes for each course: a large lecture (100-200 students) usually once a week to introduce main concepts; a medium group 920-45 students) which was usually teacher led, but with interaction with the students in the form of questions and answers; and the small group (5-12 students) which was more of a discussion group. We had a number of group projects, especially in history and science. As my chemistry teacher used to tell us, "if you can explain a concept to someone else, you must really understand it." She often had mixed groups with the advanced students put with those that were struggling. One of my group members, who is now a doctor, told me that my questions in our group work helped in when he got to college because he really knew the information (he was brilliant and could figure things out when needed, but to explain, he had to UNDERSTAND it). I took chemistry in college (for science majors) for my required science course, even though I was not a science major. I did better than a number of the science majors. So I would say that the collaborative learning methods worked.

Many countries with successful educational systems, including Japan and Sweden, use collaborative learning as the basis for their educational systems.

So is collaborative learning THE model for learn?

It was obvious from Ken's posting that for collaborative learning to be effective 1) the teacher needs to have a strong presence and be trained in planning, assessing, and implementing collaborative learning activities, and 2)students need to be trained and prepared to learn from each other. Also, I am a firm believer in a variety of approaches to teaching so that students can learn in different ways, drawing on their strengths and working on their weaknesses. I was never a good memorizer, although I do recognize in teaching foreign languages that sometimes it is necessary to memorize content (i.e. irregular verbs and verb conjugation).

I hope that Donald and Ken don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. On the other hand, I do agree with them that collaborative learning is not an easy out to budget crises. Poorly executed collaborative learning is the same as poorly executed teaching in general: bad education.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Working from Home: the office of the future?

I have noticed a difference between blogs from those who work out of a home office (see especially Karyn Romeis, Janet Clarey, and Michele Martin's blogs). While I teach at a university, most of my time is spent at home. I have very little interaction with those outside of class except electronically.

I bring this up because in his post yesterday, Clark Quinn discussed the predictions for elearning for next year. As he discussed the different types of technology and how it would be used, I kept thinking that the cost cutting and current economy will mean more people will be working from home, either as freelancers, or as companies cut overhead.

I have not seen this being discussed on the work literacy sites. I wonder what the impact this will have on social networking and/or blogs. This time of year, especially, in the northern hemisphere, there is a real feeling of isolation. In a brick and mortar workplace, there are opportunities to interact with colleagues during the "midwinter blues". But what happens when there are no colleagues within "water cooler" distance?

I feel that blogging allows workers to reach out, bounce ideas off of colleagues (that might be at a distance), create a professional relationship, get feedback and support, and feel as if they are part of a profession and organization. As a result, I wonder if the nature of blogs will differ. I know last year Michele Martin asked if women blogged differently than men. I wonder if those who work from home blog differently than those who are physically part of an organization? If there is a difference, will this mean that blogging will become more important (especially in this economic environment)?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Gadgets you can't live without

In the January 2 US edition of the Financial Times, there was an article on "The gadgets I never leave home without...". I saved the article to read through at a later time.

This weekend, however, I was caught on the interstate going to pick up my son. Fortunately I had left a bit early, but I had forgotten my cell phone. Later I found out that there was a shoot out about 1/2 a mile from where I sat stuck in traffic. The highway was closed and evacuated, and I was able to pick up my son. Had I had my cell phone however, I could have found out if the alternate routes I could take home were backed up or not. I also could have used a mobile device that allowed me to access the internet to see if I could find out information on what the problem was on the internet (I thought it was a traffic accident, and was in fact moving up closer to the area where the person was shooting).

Trends for busy professionals

Interestingly enough, these are the same gadgets listed by most of those interviewed for the FT article. Most had some sort of cell phone, usually with internet access. Other interesting gadgets needed were memory sticks/flash drives, devices to recharge batteries (when are they going to invent a solar powered recharger?), and satellite phone (to be used regardless of location).

I feel that mobile technology will become increasingly important for trainers, as cell phones have podcasting features, access to the internet, mini keyboards, and camera features. Already, many of my colleagues who teach on line courses have students accessing those courses through their blackberries and iphones.

So what gadgets can you never leave home without? What gadgets could you never teach without?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Using technology in a no-tech classroom

I just found out that one of the classes I'm teaching will not have a LCD projector or computer as part of the classroom. There is wireless computer access. The course is "Speech Composition and Presentation", which can be taught without technology. However, last semester I used a variety of video clips to illustrate concepts we were covering in class. In addition, I used technology such as a free teleprompter (web-based) or powerpoint, technologies that are becoming more and more important to use effectively for communicators.

So my quandary is how to teach this class with limited access to technology. I decided to open this up to readers in hope they had some suggestions. Next week, I will outline some of my ideas for addressing this problem.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Learning Theories: In support of Connectivism

I was first introduced to the idea of Connectivism through an online conference hosted by George Sieman's group at the University of Manitoba. Over the last 2 years, my thoughts have changed, (as have George's and others)as the theory evolves. This fall, I dropped in and was a lurker to the Connectivism course offered by the University of Manitoba, which helped me to clarify both what I like about the theory and some of the short comings.

Connectivism as a learning theory

I initially embraced Connectism as an extension of Constructivism, not really seeing it as a new learning theory. However, as I continue to integrate social networking tools into my teaching, analyze what skills my students need for the 21st Century, and redesign my instructional design to help address these needs, I have begun to see the difference between the two theories. I now see that there is a difference in understanding of learning (and facilitating learning).

This became especially evident as I began to revise my courses for this semester. I am teaching a course I have taught in one format or another for 15 years now, Speech Composition and Presentation. What has changed is the fact that many of my students in their future careers will not have immediate contact with their audience (primary or secondary). This is very important to public speaking, as face to face contact with the full audience means that you can adjust your message, style, language, even body language based on the audience feedback (verbal or non-verbal). However, more and more "public speaking" for organizations is including video clips (i.e. on YouTube) or pod casts. As a result, speakers need to find new ways to get feedback including comments and networking with potential audiences.

What this means for my instruction is that I need to teach my students how to create these feedback channels (networking) and how to deal with the more individualized needs assessment for their audience. No longer can speakers lump an audience together and assess their needs as a whole. There is much more segmentation and students need to understand the impact their message has on not just the listener, but that listener's network. Secondary audience analysis becomes even more important (as ideas can then be transferred through the network).

Research support in distinguishing the two theories

My current research on distributed groups in an organization is leaning towards support (I am just in the preliminary analysis stage) supporting George's contention that there is a difference in learning in the new networked environment which Constructivism does not support.

Individuals in a distributed group are members of various networks. Each of their networks provide different pieces of information and ways of negotiating meaning. Language, processes, and definition of "knowledge" varies between networks. However, a distributed group then creates its own "language", processes, and understanding of knowledge to be used within that network. These new understandings then have an impact on the other networks. In some cases, new language, processes, and understanding is transferred to members' other networks. But more often than not, a new negotiation of language, processes, and knowledge is the result of a member's interaction with the distributed group.

While constructivism and cognitive learning theories address the individual's learning, they do not address the group level learning and transfer/negotiation of understanding. As a result, connectivism seems to give a better explanation of the "group level" or organizational learning that goes on. It addresses the individual, group, and individual/group dynamic.

Culture and the Politics of Networks

Over the last two years, there has been something about the theory, however, that bothered me. As I begin to do my analysis, I feel I have put my finger on the major short coming of the theory as it exists today. Connectivism is grounded in systems and chaos theories. I find that these theories try to take the "personal" or "values" out of the approach. However, as humans, all of us are influenced by politics and culture.

Any one involved in curriculum develop understands that curriculum choices are dependent upon what those in power (whether it be professional leaders, instructors, governmental leaders, society, or policy makers) feel is important to know. Often, this is dependent upon their epistemology. Epistemology can be defined as, "An area of philosophical study that focuses on our understanding of knowledge. Epistemology asks questions about what is true and false, and what constitutes valid “information”. A key question of epistemology is whether information is absolute or relative, reflecting a tension between the “scientific method” and “social constructivism”." In other words, "knowledge" is a complex system that is dependent upon values, negotiation of meaning, patterns of behavior, and even recognition of stimuli. "Snow" and what constitutes snow will differ in the English speaking world depending on what part of the world you live in. (I use this as an example as we currently have "snow", "sleet", and "freezing rain" this morning). In my part of the country, it is important to know the difference as it will have an impact on a person's safety. But it is not important for someone in Florida to know this. This is one reason why curriculum in the US is diverse from state to state.

Epistemology is based on culture (patterns of behavior). Culture has an impact on the values of knowledge, interaction, network creation, even the difference between group and individual. The politics of a network adds to the complexity of epistemology. I am finding that power structures within networks help to establish which knowledge is considered important and which is considered irrelevant. Competing definitions between networks causes tension between networks and within intersecting networks (as with distributed groups). How these tensions are resolved (or not) will impact learning.

What's next?

As a result, in order for connectivism to be a viable learning theory, it is important that the impact of politics and culture be integrated into the theory. Specifically, the following questions need to be asked:

1) How are networks constructed? What are the power structures within networks? How are connection established? What factors (cultural and political) influence the construction of a learning network?
2) Are there differences between "engineered" networks (in which a network, such as a distributed group, is created for a specific purpose) and organic network (in which connections are established due to need or common interests without any outside help)? How is meaning negotiated in each, are patterns of behavior established, and is the network maintained?
3) How can these networks be leveraged to facilitate learning? How should instruction be designed to address the political and cultural factors that effect learning due to the networked/connectedness environment? What skills do students need to learn in a connected environment?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Do we want a world of outliers?

There has been much discussion about the new book out analyzing how highly successful people have achieved that success. Let me begin by clarifying that I have not read the book so my comments are in reaction to others interpretation of the book. But here is my reaction to some of the posts others have written.

Michelle Martin

Michelle asked the question as to whether we should be changing the learning environment to help support "budding" outliers. In fact, I am a bit concerned with jumping on the outliers bandwagon. My question, as I read her post was, would I want one of these outliers as my boss or in my class? Aren't they outliers because they are outside of the system? I guess, then this also addresses her question of environment, shouldn't we be fixing the system if there are so many outliers that can't work within the system, rather than trying to develop more outliers? Finally, (as I did not read the book, I don't know if it is addressed) what about the outliers who are unsuccessful?

My concern is that our country and even globally, many countries, are developing a duel system of those "in" the system, and those "outside of the system". As we push more and more people outside of the system, we are loosing our middle class and core of society that will bring us back to reality when the outliers want to take us into dangerous territory. I did a paper a while back on the psychology of the entrepreneur, and we found that they had a much greater propensity for risk taking and acceptance of failure. Often entrepreneurs fail, but are able to overcome that failure. There was overwhelming evidence that entrepreneurs did have a certain psychological profile. But what about those in marginal communities that don't have that optimistic outlook? And how do those that are born into an outlier community that is UNSUCCESSFUL overcome those barriers to be "successful" in life.

This brings me to another thought. Who has determined what "success" is? Over the Christmas holidays, my kids and I watched the show, "Secret Millionaire." What struck us (and many of the millionaires) was that there were very successful people who lived in very poor areas. These people were part of the community, contributing to society, but on very limited means. One women in particular, started a stable in the Watts neighborhood of LA. She was able to maintain this stable, helping to keep teenagers off the street and out of the gangs. Was not this success? Is this woman not an outlier for her community? However, on paper, she would be considered an "average" person or marginally successful because she did not own a company or make millions of dollars (which I think was the point of the show).

Britt Watwood

Britt brings up the question of practice. He points out how allowing for people to practice will allow them to be successful in what they are trying to learn. However, he does not bring up the problems of practicing just one thing over and over. As Ken Allen points out, will practice alone allow one to be an "expert" or rather just someone who is accomplished in a skill? I wonder if the book addresses the politics of sport. Sometimes, those with a natural aptitude might have difficulty accomplishing their goals because they are not allowed the time or opportunity to practice. My children's own experience with sports has taught them how to handle the politics of "success" or "expertise".

I worry that in concentrating on just one skill, there are other skills being lost. I see many student athletes who are lacking in some of the more basic skills of empathy, or even communication. What about the universal man like Divinci? If he only concentrated on painting, do you think he would have been as successful? I have had students that become obsessed with one aspect of my course. They become "expert" at it, but miss the more important context in which this skill is needed. For example, I have had students that spend hours on their powerpoints, trying different things, putting in links, etc... It is a masterpiece, but is not necessary for a professional presentation. This tunnel vision is advantageous when society is willing to accept the idea, but can lead to disaster when a person's skill is not really needed (is it really necessary to be an "expert" at dungeon's and dragons?). This is where the politics of success come in.

Ken Allen<

Ken wrote:
This is one message that I took from Outliers, that a successful society has to be built on collaboration for the common good, not just for the privileged or the elite.

I was glad to see that this was the message of this book (as Michelle also spoke similarly). However, I can't help but think of "super successful" people like Jake Walsh who was successful on the backs of others. I keep thinking that in order for society to be successful, we need to start redefining success. One of the problems with our current economy is that the super rich became rich by pushing the marginal and the middle class into a lower standard of living. It seems that we should be striving for a definition of "success" in which wealth is shared, professions that "do good" are compensated (such as nurses, social workers, teachers, community workers, development workers) and society is encouraged to look at our world as a connected ecosystem in which the individual actions of one person has an impact (positive or negative) on others who may not be visible.

Monday, January 5, 2009

7 things you don't need to know about me

I was tagged by Michelle Martin to post 7 things you don't need to know about me.

1) I had all my childhood diseases before the age of 2, so I don't remember suffering from any of them. I had a sister that began kindergarten (primary school) the year I was born, so all my sisters and I got the childhood diseases together (imagine 4 kids under the age of 5 with the mumps or chicken pox!). My brother, who is two years younger than me, had to wait until HE started school to get them.

2) I broke my foot 5 years ago tripping over a drain pipe in the driveway. (My husband insists it was always in the same place, but I am sure he moved it slightly).

3) My two favorite foods that I have trouble getting locally are blood oranges and pain noir du bois (dark bread baked in a wood oven--found in Fribourg, Switerland).

4) I was an exchange student in Deventer, Holland during the filming of the movie, "A Bridge Too Far". Many of the scenes were shot in Deventer and I knew many of the actors with bit speaking parts.

5) The only class I ever failed was a semester of high school Spanish. (I also failed the Spanish Regents, NY State's standardized test).

6) I was exempted from my Geometry final examination because of my high scores, but then my Trigonometry teacher told my parents that I wouldn't do very well in math because "women just didn't have the aptitude". I ended up with an 87 on the Trigonometry regents (no thanks to the teacher who used to answer our questions with "I did it in my head") and a regents diploma in Math!

7. My father was a football player for Yale so he used to make us play football every Sunday afternoon in the fall when we were growing up. My sisters put a stop to this when they entered high school and we played a game in which we beat a few of the boys in our neighborhood (sometimes it pays to be younger).

I guess the way this goes is to then continue the meme by tagging others. However, the majority of the blogs I read already have been tagged. So I am going to tag my followers:

Ann Marie
and the owner of "digital perspectives" (I'd love to see her do the random facts in photos).