The Bridge Blog A dialog about our new bridge and these web pages
Overview. As a pointy-headed
university professor, my weekend project of bridge photography and
building these web pages generated many questions and introduced me
to just-in-time learning. I enjoy chasing my curiosity and
want to identify ways to encourage younger learners to also enjoy curiosity
chasing and learning.
Learning usually requires repetition while forgetting occurs when
I infrequently use information. Many young learners do not understand
the importance of repetition. Weekly visits to the bridge provided
the repetition necessary to detect changes in the bridge and
many questions and opportunities for learning. Over the course of the
bridge project, I had access to few experts for answering questions.
Rather than a liability, this became an asset and pushed me to improve
my search skills with Google. Soon, I found that answers
to questions encountered during my weekly photo shoots were often
only a Google-search away -
Restoring the Joy in Learning). Consequently Google + Internet became
dependable extensions of my memory.
February 25, 2005: Time for another reorganization It has come time to separate my one way dialog (more like a web log or blog)
into a separate section. Matthew, Brian, Satya and Christopher, my IT Lab
brain trust, are pushing for a major reorganization along the lines of a
Blog. They assert, probably correctly, that all my text sometimes gets in
the way of my story. I have started experimenting with rebuilding the bridge
story with Blosxom, a blog (and a preliminary view will be available soon).
I am also exporing placing all the images in a database, with a separate tag
field so that you could pull back all images with the same tags. I am
thinking that providing a search facility will help some of you since I have
little insight into the ways many of you wish to explore this story.
February 17, 2005: A request for help. Now that the bridge is nearing completion, I am
thinking about what to do with these web pages - and perhaps how to better
package elements of this story. There are three ways to go about this:
I can assume I have all the knowledge and do it myself
I can appoint a committee and develop guidelines - following a sort of
proprietary development strategy
I can use the communicative power of the Internet and manage our affairs
with an open forum where we all are enabled to contribute to this concept
My explorations with Internet-centric learning and using the communicative
power of the Internet to engage anyone has demonstrated to me the utility
of open development - whether software or these bridge pages.
My brain trust (the MUSC IT Lab)
is pushing me to rebuild the pages using a
Blog or something similar
to a wikipedia
to facilitate organization
and navigation between story segments. Jim Abrahamson, friend of mine in
Chapel Hill, suggested that I build
a photo essay around the people that I have encountered during this
adventure - and title it: The Living Bridge. After all, this
comissioned composition for steel,
concrete, bolts, surface treatment, cables, etc did not just happen, but
required real people to do the work. PBC,
SCDOT, High Steel Structures and Freyssinet have provided me with unique
opportunities to watch (and photograph) their folks as they created the
new Cooper River Bridge. I would like to know your thoughts. What would
be interesting to you?
What would be a useful way to package what we have jointly built over
the past 18 months. How can I (we) use this opportunity to ignite
the curiosity of younger learners? Send me your thoughts and ideas by
email and tell me
what would bring you and your friends and family back to this site?
Can these web pages continue to evolve beyond the date of bridge completion,
developing new life that continues to bring weekly or monthly something new?
As you know, this has been an experiment with
what I call Internet-centric learning and I have
already learned more from you than I would have imagined (and the
"you" is an international "you"). I am hooked on finding a way
to continue the experiment and then transfering what I learn to the MUSC
Feb 13, 2005: Feeling the construction process.
For the past few weeks, I have been following
Oliver Forget and his Freyssinet team - more like a musical ensemble and
a conductor. As I watched, I came to know several of his guys and my story
began to change from a technical photo essay to a more personal photo essay.
Just as I have been learning from Bill Mankin (High Steel Structures),
David Wertz (SCDOT) and Marvin Tallent (QA/QC PBC), there is more to sculpting
a bridge and doing it with excellence and beauty than simply assembling pieces
of a tinker toy set. As the bridge construction winds down, I want to bring
more of the
people side of the story to these photo essays.