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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.

Sun, 08 May 2005

May 8, 2005: Our extended bridge family

It is all about people chemistry. New chemical compounds are impossible as long as the reagents live in their individual bottles. Mix them together, add a bit of heat (sometimes) and something interesting might happen. The same with people. When I sit in my office or home, bottled as a chemical reagent in the supply room, nothing interesting happens. When I get up and poke around, I collide with others, and the possibility of something interesting is amplified. So it is with our bridge project.

Earlier this week, Sandrine phoned me about a surprise birthday party for her husband, Oliver (who directs the local Freyssinet work). This was a complete surprise for me because Sandrine did not have my phone number. But being the resourceful woman that she is - she managed to locate it. Yesterday, we all gathered at Oliver's place - for wonderful afternoon of celebrations. We celebrated the birth of their daughter, Lucille, we celebrated the appearance of Oliver's mother-in-law, Jackie, who quickly became the energy of the party, and finally, we celebrated Oliver's birthday. There is a photo essay of course.

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