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talk / contributions / sandbox / welcome

Just another freelance wikifier, most recently cranking up my participation as relevant for my work as a high school teacher of "new" media literacy. Past dabblings include both new article creation (especially in the realms of folk festivals and folk/bluegrass musicians) and in the Wikipedia Reference Desks, especially in the Humanities.

Who I Am[edit]

I'm 37, a polymath intellectual, a jack-of-all-subjects educator with a Masters of Arts in Teaching with Internet Technologies and a BA in Sociology, American Studies, and Communications. I live in rural Massachusetts, in a house abutting miles of wild conservation land and a small watershed, with two wee girlchildren, a Jack Russel Terrier and a pair of kittens. In my spare time, I host Cover Lay Down, a folk covers blog.

How I Got Here[edit]

After a childhood in the mall culture of the American suburb, my professional life began in earnest when I dropped out of college at age 19 for a stint as a full-time volunteer for City Year in Boston. My time in public service led to both a part-time job teaching in the Boston inner city schools and a three year fellowship as an educator and public demonstrator at the Museum of Science in Boston. There I became interested in how our audience's expectations were driving the form (and thereby the content) of our public demonstrations, and I moved on to a tiny hilltop in Vermont to pursue study of the media/mind/culture connection.

In order to pay for college and graduate school, I taught writing, math, and theater to gifted and talented students, special needs students, and as an artist in residence in the Vermont public schools. Upon graduation, I married my college sweetheart, and we moved on to the world of private education.

After seven years teaching media and cultural studies, communications, sociology, modern american culture, and theater, coordinating teacher efforts to integrate library and technology literacies into their classrooms, and living the dorm parent life in a boarding school environment, I moved on to a three-year stint coordinating two labs and a library/media center, and teaching information and technology literacy to teachers and middle school students, in a suburban middle school in the Massachusetts (US) public school system.

As of 2008, I am now employed as a full-time teacher of Media and Society at the High School of Science and Technology in Springfield, MA, the third largest city in Massachusetts.

My Areas Of Expertise[edit]

As an academic and professional, my specific interest is media ecology, which addresses the complex and causal relationships between mind, perception, medium, culture, and content; the theories of Neil Postman and, before him, Marshall McLuhan, Harold Innis, and Walter Ong most closely fit my own biases and interest, though applied to new media and, these days, Web 2.0 most specifically.

As such, my areas of expertise include the applied socio-cultural ramifications of technology development, information literacy (including fair use and copyright), media and communications, education, and the social sciences more generally, and I tend to come in for an especially long round of activity when the subject comes up in my twice-yearly teaching unit on Web 2.0.

As a hobbyist I follow a mess of folk and acoustic music pretty seriously, especially as it relates to transient music communities and summer festivals; additionally, much of my background includes formal study of writing and poetics as well, and the logical syllogism...but I'm not adverse to sticking my neck out wherever it might go.

I believe...[edit]

  • that quality, clarity and precision matter.
  • that a given communications medium is never inherently bad/good.
  • that the importance of context in determining meaning should not be underestimated, but too often is.
  • that there are nonetheless numerous universal truths.
  • that there are many paths to these truths, and indeed to all truth.
  • that all people of all belief systems, background, ability, physical makeup, and orientation should be celebrated and welcomed, and supported...except in the case of belief systems which themselves deny such rights to others.
  • that tolerance is a meager substitute for acceptance.
  • that, in most cases, education is a better solution than legislation.
  • that, in most cases, conversation is better than consensus.
  • that eating locally produced food best serves the community, the earth, and the palatte.
  • that local beer is better, no matter where you are.

Why I Wiki[edit]

Thinking "out loud" keeps my brain fresh, mostly. Doing so with others, moreso.

I tend to fact-check a lot for backdata on whatever I'm pursuing that the moment, whether professionally or just to feed the soul; when I see an incomplete or missing entry I pop in and update information if I can. Recently updated entries on Claire Lynch, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, for example, and more here.

Oh, and I am a strong proponent of Wikipedia use in school settings, both for its content and for the way it helps us understand the new world of virtual information communities. Because of this, I use wikipedia, including my own activities, as a teaching tool. So a big shout-out to any of my students out there reading this.

sample page I made for school