The Storm and Dangers that Took Down the Global Project

The ice storm took down the power grid for Scott Meech and his black out was nowhere in my radar of feeds or Ice stormmessages. Lucy Gray and myself exchanged a few chat messages and I played with Skype emoticons. Sundays are reserved for our ProTechT conference call on Skype. Later I thought about the fact that I don’t even have everyones’ cell numbers, addresses, etc. close at hand, but I assume it is accessible on the “net.” And in a way, our connections are as tenuous as the wind, fragile but determined, and yet we are as close as we can be. I say that for the moment from a stand point of each members’ abilities, and the fact that I can follow, if allowed, each members’ status on Skype. No this project does not have the staying power of an ARPANET, we are each joined in a highly personal way, on computers that each of us must maintain, different hardware and OS. We are not at a distance from each other however, in that my concern would surface should anything happen to any one of the participants. Participants have already been sick and earlier Scott also had a very close connection to NIU. It has something of the miracle about it, a project living and breathing with its members. I always hope for my students something of a sense of “groupness,” such as this.

And The bleeding edge of what we do doesn’t help maintain clear communication and has many dangers in power and lightterms of misinterpretations should messages be truncated or too few words not convey the real meaning with conversations interrupted as software crashes or fails. I think there is the element of half empty and half full in ones relationships with others that allows something to grow with these types of activities. Following up on more perspective on Wesley Fryer’s Ustream presentation  for ProTechT – The wireless started cutting out and a third of the class didn’t seem too bothered by it. They moved to the front of the room between the screen and my traditional science black countertop. They were following the chat as well as what audio they could as I kept reloading/refreshing the Ustream feed. The sound came back at the end of a period as if another class had been using up all the bandwidth, which unfortunately my school has a strong tie with iMovies, and was probably the case. There is no bandwidth management and some teachers still don’t have good wireless. For the last fifteen minutes the sound was fine, but students, as one would move progressively towards the back, were now holding conversations and they were not listening but were engaged and listening and speaking to each other. So I was let down somewhere in the delivery system, each part not quite correct, but also a future non-issue. I may gain here though the experience in knowledge that sometime shortly will be obsolete, but you have to enjoy in some way or tip the scales to favor the successes over failure and along with all of it the messiness.

image sources: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9147703@N03/2243954328
http://www.flickr.com/photos/38819451@N00/84401047

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One thought on “The Storm and Dangers that Took Down the Global Project

  1. Hey Derrall-
    Nice post here! I’ve definitely enjoyed working with everyone on the project. While it certainly hasn’t been perfect, it has been a good attempt to have some authentic dialgoue with the young people that we work with (and adults too) about making decisions in the digital world. Just today while we had the students creating avatars to go along with their online profile in wikispaces, we had a boy who was acting like a jerk and was about to send a group note in wikispaces that wasn’t in good taste.
    The teacher handled it perfectly by taking him off of the project for the class period and calling home.
    I’m hopeful that we can all maintain our connections and continue to work together in various capacities after the protecht project is over this spring. It has been great working with everyone. We’ll have to get back in the groove with our Sunday night conversation once again this coming weekend.
    Cheers!
    Matt Montagne
    Milwaukee, WI

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