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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.

Sun, 01 May 2005

May 1, 2005: Adventures with elevators and the traveler

Yesterday I met Murray Feldman and indirectly Bill Nesteruk and his company, Specialized Engineered Products Ltd. Bill creates these modern marvels that transport stuff horizontally (as with the bridge traveler) as well as vertically (or almost vertically) - i.e. the bridge elevators. Murray makes them work in the field. Again, design and engineering of the traveler and elevators generated for me, a quiet smile.

The traveler, used for cleaning and inspecting the underside of the bridge, is a necessity. Similarly, the four elevators that travel up and down the inclined surfaces of the east and west pylons, provide access to the pylon base, the crossbeam and the top. I experienced these elevators when I was learning from Freyssinet about building stay cables - but somehow the issue of traveling up and down an incline where the angle of the incline changes at the pylon crossbeam never caught my curiosity.

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