About this site
This is a site primarily focused on learning and teaching. To a lesser extent, this site is also about design--because learning and teaching relate to other systems that are constantly changing and that contextualize everything we do. It's also about other topics that relate to my interests and beliefs. Such as: I believe that public schools and public libraries are the best. I believe that talking about problems helps us understand them better. I believe there is value in talking about problems without solutions. I'm interested in small-scale improvements at the school and classroom level. I'm interested in experimentation and openness. I'm interested in people who make things. I'm interested in making things.
The main purpose of this site is to help me curate and "fix" the chatter that's always going on in my mind. I have a restless mind, and I'm constantly looking for ways to expand the limits of my thinking in all directions. These ideas often begin in my notebook, and then, if they seem to warrant a little more development, I'll write either an Instagram post (for short ones) or a blog post (for longer ones).
A secondary purpose for this site is to make my professional thinking as transparent as possible--both for my students, their parents, and anyone else who cares what I think about my work. Schools often seem impenetrably complicated, and I'm trying to use this site as a way to provide a context for the instructional and curriculum design decisions I make in my classroom every day.
About my work
I teach media production and broadcast technology at Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kansas. In my introductory course, students learn broadcasting fundamentals and a post-production workflow that includes Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, and Adobe Photoshop. My advanced students operate a professionally-equipped video production studio that serves clients in the school and community, producing award-winning documentary, narrative, and experimental films, along with a monthly school-based broadcast program. Collaborative relationships with professional and post-secondary partners in the Kansas City region continually inform the curriculum and structure of these courses.
Before specializing in visual communication and digital production, I taught high school English, where, in addition to composition and literature, my courses emphasized media studies and critical literacies. Regardless of classroom context, I've always tried to help students negotiate and communicate meaning in authentic and empowering ways.
My abiding professional interests include problem-based learning, instructional design, language, documentary film, visual thinking, and creativity.
I grew up on a farm in east-central Missouri, where I did all the things one does on a farm in east-central Missouri: hunt, fish, bale, shoot, burn, camp, climb, swim, cut, feed, ride, bury, etc. In college I studied secondary education, but I also studied composition and writing. I started teaching in 1999, at an English language school in Wonju, South Korea. In the years since, I've taught in both St. Louis and Kansas City. I'm married to the best librarian in the world, and we share our house with a pack of spoiled-rotten animals.