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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.

Wed, 25 May 2005

May 25, 2005: A view from the top - Exploring photo stitching

Sunday found me on the bridge again to check out what had happened the night before. What had happened was a lot of paving on the outside south lane. Also Murray and Wade were deep in discussion and suddenly there was an opportunity to visit the top of the west pylon. This time, I was determined to take a series of photos of the horizon and later to try to piece them together to make a panorama.

I was in luck - the temperature was cool, the humidity was low and the view was perfectly clear. At home, I found an open source program hugin - a Panorama Tools GUI available on sourceforge, a really great resource where many many people manage open source development projects (including my IT Lab at MUSC). So I downloaded the software, installed it, followed their how to tutorial and tried to piece two images together. It worked the first time - so I tried 4 photos stiched together. It worked as you can see above.

Whether it is the bridge project or open source software or research, Google, as the card catalog and the Internet, as our library, level the playing field such that everyone has access to the same resources. Only our energy level and curiosity make a difference.

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