Watch the Construction of the new Cooper River Bridge


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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 consequently generated 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 - (see Restoring the Joy in Learning). Consequently Google + Internet became dependable extensions of my memory.

The bridge story is a work in progress and is evolving from a simple collections of photographs to an experiment with Internet-centric just-in-time learning. Insights I gain from you will find their way into the learning centers of MUSC. Palmetto Bridge Constructors, a joint venture between Tidewater Skanska and Flatiron Constructors, as well as High Steel Structures, Freyssinet, the SCDOT and the Federal Highway Commission Office of Bridge Technology guided much of my learning. I also learn from many of you and from Google-linked resources. More important is the e-mail encouragement I receive from many of you.

Sat, 05 Mar 2005

March 5, 2005: A visit from my dad

My dad transferred many gifts to me. But perhaps the greatest gift was that of endless curiosity. When I was a kid - we used to travel to different construction sites where he was installing elevators. Sometimes on the weekends, we would visit a sick elevator and repair it. Sometimes we simply walked from our home in Greensboro to the railroad switch house. We would sit for hours watching the trains pass. We would count the cars. Sometimes, we would enter the switch house and if we were good and very very lucky we got to throw swiches which changed the communication between parallel tracks. All the time, he displayed not only curiosity but an enquiring mind.

Yesterday my brother, Jack, phoned from Burlington, N.C. He had just driven to my dad's place from Pennsylvania and announced, "can we visit"? Of course, and so about 7pm last night they appeared. My dad is 88 and still just as curious as ever. I knew of his love of construction and thought of the possibility to drive to various places and view the new Cooper River Bridge. The perfect opportunity for an unplan-plan. Every time I said "Cooper River Bridge" he told a story about elevators he installed at Santee Cooper - probably 50 years ago (I don't really know). Anyway, this morning, we started our tour. We saw the bridge from many perspectives. All the time he was telling stories and looking and asking questions: a 16 year old curiosity hard at work.

posted at: 12:15 | path: | permanent link to this entry

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