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.
Way back in January, when there was a gap separating the east and west
main spans, I
took a photo of the crane used to lift edge and floor girders from barges
to the deck and then hold them in place while the iron workers attached
the splice plates.
Here is the "Last Dinosaur Standing" as seen from the old Pearman bridge.
(Click to see
the story about Philip and the Last Dinosaur Standing.)
Yesterday I was taking some photos of the main span paving and two guys
walked up and started talking - they were Philip and Lewis. Philip, I sort
of knew because of email from his mom and wife. I had never met Lewis but
had watched Lewis (and Jack) attach the splice plates that linked the north
side of the east and west edge girders - thus bridging the gap.
But yesterday was special. I was able to meet both of them, talk a bit and
for me, close the loop from distant observer to acquaintance. This
closes another gap, the people gap, and enables my understanding of the
bridge project at
both the technical level as well as at the people level.
The bridge project has impressed me from the people perspective. I have come
to know many people associated, either locally or remotely, with the building
of the new Cooper River Bridge. First Bill Mankin
from High Steel Structures, then David Wertz (SCDOT) then Wade Watson (PBC)
then Peo Halvarsson (Skanska and PBC), Marvin Tallent (Flatiron and PBC)
and Oliver Forget and his Freyssinet team, Wilbur Poole (PBC)
and on and on the list goes. Everyone has helped me understand some aspect
of our bridge project and has given generously of their time.
Helping me understand different components of bridge building has enabled
me to convey what was happening on the main span and approaches with
both the local Charleston community as well as our Internet community. What
pleases me, from my MUSC perspective,
is the opportunity to share the work product of my
hyperactive curiosity with other members of the MUSC community as well as
young learners outside MUSC (particularly with Jonnell at E. L.
Frierson school (Wadmalaw)) - and illustrate the opportunities Google
provides for building episodes of "just-in-time" learning. All these lessons
help me better understand the
IT infrastructure needs at MUSC that facilitate
the paradigm shift from "just-in-case" learning (that is compromised by
the the biology of the forgetting process)
and "just-in-time" learning (which is much more immune to the forgetting
process). The real winner is MUSC which now, thanks
to my bridge friends, has a rather
unconventional source of new insights into learning in general and
Internet-centric learning in particular.