Catching Up: What I have been up to

Lots to catch up on, busy getting a web site launched and much else. So got in the way of important things like blogging.

Here’s the most recent web site the VOX team and I just produced:

Narcolepsy Screen Shot
Narcolepsy Patient Education Web Site

This is one of a series of sites for the Harvard Division of Sleep Medicine I was executive producer on; previous modules have covered apnea, insufficient sleep, and healthy sleep. It’s a fascinating project, and narcolepsy–subject of many misconceptions and stigmatizing jokes–is both a serious disorder, but also a treatable one. The neurology behind it–and all of sleep–is fascinating.  So please check the site out, and  send the link along to anyone you think might be interested in it.  Narcolepsy typically begins in or just before the teen years, and is often misdiagnosed or missed entirely, so one hope for the site is to bring it to attention in relevant cases and get people in for evals and treatment.

I’ve been doing web sites a long time. But video is a new world for me, and the other project I finished recently is a series of teacher professional development videos for mathematics teachers. I was co-producer on 13 videos, and there’s a funny blog post called “web guy in video land” sometime in my future, but for now I’ll just link to the site, on PBS’ Learning Media. The collection is called “Making the Case” and it’s focused on the argumentation standard in the new Common Core Standards in Mathematics. I realize that most people are not as engrossed in math pedagogy as I am, and have been my whole life oddly enough. But if you are, or if you know a high school math teacher who is interested in learning about argumentation, check it out.

Making the Case
Teacher PD resources, with videos co-produced by Arthur!

It was a rewarding project, and a real honor to see great teaching and learning in high schools all over the country. Given the gloomy national narrative about K-12 education, I feel lucky that my work takes me into schools regularly, where, without fail, I see remarkable students and teachers. There are tough stories too, but a lot is working. My personal take on the endless school reform wars and the attendant litany about “our failing schools” is that we tell that story for rhetorical and political reasons: it’s not really about our schools per se. Our schools are multifaceted institutions. Some aspects of them could be better, some facets are amazing and moving. It’s important to tell ourselves, endlessly and in every generation, that our schools are failing. They have always been failing for some purposes by some yardsticks.  But the schools we captured for these videos, where great places to be in many ways, and the experiences these students were having were what I would hope for my own kids.

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