Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"Innovator" Reflections Part 3

So, okay, I'm going out of order. Sort of. But one of my most exciting and magical innovations was devising and implementing SLedupotential at NECC 2008. That, of course, was back when ISTE called it's conferences the "National Educational Computing Conference."

All right, I'm lying again. I'll be a good boy and save SLedupotential for another post in this series.

Did I mention Snacks4theBrain? Yes I did, last post. Working one day a week for the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach, I produced and published 84 (or maybe more) podcasts, each of which you can still access at iTunes, and I've spent a little time looking for references to it. Here's one in an article at the Vanderbilt Register from 2006: http://news.vanderbilt.edu/archived-news/register/articles/index-id=28948.html.

How did I even get into this? Well, as I recall, I had been listening to podcasts from the early days, from the irreverent "Soccergirl" to Richard Vobes' "The Vobes Show," a daily online offering from a glorious madman in England. I also subscribed to Adam Curry's podcast, where the early MTV vjay held forth from his Netherlands expatriat residence, earning him the moniker "the podfather," because he claims to have invented the genre. Podcasts, of course, are online resident audio files, and after some time listening to my favorites I thought, well, how about one dedicated to emerging science? And let's make it entertaining. And let's add some music. I used

One of my favorite podcasts, The Goodbeershow, featured folks sitting around a table at a watering hole in Muncy, Indiana talking with Jeffrey T. Meyers about the beer(s) they were sampling that night, and he featured live or recorded music along with the ribald discussion. As it turned out, I was able to sit in and contribute to two shows in Muncy and to host one at Yazoo Brew here in Nashville when Jeffrey was passing through town. What fun all that was.

I proceeded to establish a format. I would open with a standard recorded intro, describe what was to come, play some independent (read: "free") music, interview a working scientist about her or his work, play some more independent music, and mess around a bunch. I would plug the Center for Science Outreach and their good work, reference the website, and play around with sound effects like a crazy person. I worked first in CoolEdit Pro, then Adobe bought that software and I moved to Adobe Audition. Eventually I was working with the freeware Audacity. And eventually, after all that work, I called it quits when I left the CSO (described in the last post).

I was "in the Cat Bird Seat," as my father-in-law would say. I'd invented something, was able to produce it mostly at home every Monday whilst working for the CSO, run in for meetings when necessary, and everyone was happy. Best of all, I interviewed a bunch of brilliant people, pretending that I knew what I was doing and, almost unimaginably, getting away with it.

You know that Vanderbilt scientist the national news always breaks out when there's any kind of viral outbreak? Dr. William Shaffner? I interviewed him about the Swine flu. Check. You know David Warlick, brilliant front vanguard for change in education? I interviewed him and we became friends. Peggy Sheehy? Of Second Life Teen Grid reknown? Check, and dear friend. Steve Spangler, the modern-day Mr. Wizard? Check. It's all there at Snacks4theBrain. Still and always. They are archived in the Vanderbilt University Discovery Archive. Go listen to one and help keep the series alive. I'd appreciate it. Hint: The best way to do this is to "Save File" and listen locally. You may need to rename it, taking out some weird characters, before it works. Looks like they need to do some maintenance on their 2008 archives. Ha. The direct link in http://discoverarchive.vanderbilt.edu/handle/1803/3186 but I've already renamed it and made it available for you at the following:

Here's a link to one episode, my replay of an earlier Dr. William Shaffner interview, so if you have 30 minutes for some weirdness and fun, go for it. 


So yeah, that's something I'm proud of. Something else I made up. More "innovation," though I was just making things up. It's what I do.

So SLedupotential next post? Maybe. Maybe not...

Stay tooned.

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