Tuesday, April 16. 2013
On April 16, 2007, my oldest son was a senior at Virginia Tech. I watched the coverage of the mass shooting that day on TV and I was on the phone with my son at the same time. He was safe.
Professor Kevin Granata
I never met Professor Granata, but I know that he was helping my son fill some gaps in his software skills by working with him outside class. He was his adviser for his capstone senior design project team that was designing a biomimetic walking robot.
On that day, Professor Granata heard the shooting from his office on the third floor and escorted about twenty students from a classroom to his office. After they were locked in, he went downstairs with another professor, Wally Grant, to investigate. Both teachers were shot. Professor Grant was wounded and survived, but Dr. Granata died from his injuries. The students locked in his office were all safe.
Kevin Granata was 45 years old. He was married with three children.
My son was never able to go back into the building. He couldn't complete his project. He didn't attend the graduation ceremonies. He wasn't able to follow up on contacts that he had discussed with Professor Granata about grad school and jobs.
Tuesday, February 5. 2013
This blog passed the anniversary/birthday of our launch date on February 2nd.
We had our first post in 2006 ("Why Serendipity35?") as a test of the software. That test post has 25,381 views now. Although I didn't really intend to continue blogging after we set things up and taught some workshops for faculty at NJIT (where Tim and I both worked at the time), I liked writing the posts and so...
You can never tell if people actually "read" posts, but we know that last month we had 412,471 visitors to the blog, so I feel safe assuming that some of them read my words.
I do know that compared to other blogs I write on, Serendipity35 readers are not ad clickers. Bother Tim & I still keep waiting for those ads to the right of this to generate enough for lunch and a few pints at McGovern's, but, like teaching, you better be doing it for more than money!
Monday, January 28. 2013
From my daily reading of The Writer's Almanac, I found this post for today:
It was on this day in 1754 that the word "serendipity" was first coined. It's defined by Merriam-Webster as "the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for." It was recently listed by a U.K. translation company as one of the English language's 10 most difficult words to translate. Other words to make their list include plenipotentiary, gobbledegook, poppycock, whimsy, spam, and kitsch.
When Tim and I launched Serendipity35 back in February 2006 as an experiment in blogging, the name came from the software we used for the blog and I added the somewhat ironic 35 to make the serendipitous a bit less serendipitous. Still, I do like the idea that the blog has some serendipityand that I am "finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for" and commenting on them so that others benefit.
Thursday, December 27. 2012
I generally don't post on Serendipity35 during the Christmas/New Year break while most American educators are away from school and, perhaps, not reading about education. But when December comes, I always choose at least one more charity to make a last contribution for the season. I particularly like charities that change something that will change a life forever.
In past years I looked at The Smile Train which is focused on solving a single problem: cleft lip and palate in developing countries where there are millions of children who are suffering with unrepaired clefts. This means they cannot eat or speak properly, won't be allowed to attend school or hold a job and face very difficult lives. But a $250 donation and a 45 minute procedure provides free cleft surgery.
One year I chose providing clean water as my focus. It's something we really take for granted in the U.S. More than 1 in 6 people in the world don't have access to safe drinking water. 1 out of every 4 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease. Nearly 80% of illnesses in developing countries are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions. There are a number of organizations that work to provide clean water in other parts of the world. $10 can provide water for one person for ten years. $500 can fund a project. $5000 can provide a well for an entire village. Here are 3 groups that you can consider. (I had selected charitywater.org.)
I donated to a group of charities this year that support our service members and their families.
Get Involved with Joining Forces
OurMilitary.mil: Community Support for our Military
United We Serve
National Resource Directory
I also donated to Families in Transition (FIT), a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1991 in response to the growing number of homeless individuals and families in New Hampshire. It's local but I liked their origin story which I saw reported on 60 Minutes.
Tuesday, December 25. 2012
Monday, October 29. 2012
Hurricane Sandy is on the way to New Jersey, so I am occupied with preparations rather than blogging. And there is a good chance that power failures will knock me offline, and perhaps also kick Tim in our South Jersey serverland offline. We hope all of you are safe and unaffected.
Tuesday, March 13. 2012
A nice automatically-generated email today from SlideShare:
100,000 views is a pretty nice milestone. If you have never used SlideShare as a viewer or as a contributor, you should check it out. It allows you to upload your own presentations so that: others can view them, favorite them, follow your work, download the presentation (as .pdf, .ppt or .key IF you want to allow that sharing). You can also follow, view and save presentations by others - and there are many. SlideShare is the world's largest community for sharing presentations. With 60 million monthly visitors and 130 million pageviews, it is amongst the most visited 200 websites in the world. Besides presentations, SlideShare also supports documents, PDFs, videos and webinars.
Some things that you can do on SlideShare:
Upload presentations publicly or privately
Download presentations on any topic and reuse or remix
Embed on blogs, websites, company intranets
Share on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
Zipcast: free, no download, 1 click web meetings
Leadshare: generate business leads with your presentations, documents, pdfs, videos
Slidecast: sync mp3 audio with slides to create a webinar
Embed YouTube videos inside SlideShare presentations
Use SlideShare PRO for premium features like branded channels, analytics, ad free pages etc.
This presentation on "LibGuides and Evolving Learning Spaces" that I posted in November 2008 has had 3,130 views, which is nice.
But this presentation on "Moodle: a free learning management system" from the year before has had 39,782 views! It was a presentation I did on NJIT’s pilot program using Moodle as a learning management system, and examining the open source/free aspect of Moodle and the support needed to implement it on a campus.
Now, that is sharing.
Thursday, February 2. 2012
I'm not sure if we should call today a birthday party or an anniversary, but it is exactly six years (that's at least 30 years in blog years) since my first post here back in 2006. That was a post called "Why Serendipity35?" which wasn't much of a post because all I was doing was testing out our new installation of the open source serendipity software. There wasn't really any plan to start blogging seriously.
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