field reports? never heard of 'em.


Well guys, I've been working really hard (too hard to excuse not filing a field report….probably not) and I realized I haven't submitted one yet. Either way, I have been busy and I'd love to fill you in on what I've been doing. As you may or may not know, I’m working with the Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, located in Bothell, WA and I serve as the coordinator for the TechREACH Alliance Project ( ). One of the main tasks I was charged with was updating our old (and not quite up to date) curriculum. I spent pretty much all of September working on these new documents for the club leaders to use with their students. I made some new, and snazzy if I say so myself, power points to help demonstrate the different parts that make up a computer, and how to take one apart. I also helped to update the 70-or-so page document that will be distributed to each student and the accompanying club leader guide. I was able to team up with Karen Meyer, basically the curriculum specialist at the Puget Sound center and she really took the information I had compiled and tried to make curriculum, into curriculum. I’m really happy with the end result and if anyone wants to check it out, I’d be happy to share. I attached a word document with the first couple chapters of the student materials. Take a peek if you want.

So, we had a deadline to finish this curriculum because we had our first club leader training last Monday, October 13th. We distributed all the new club leader materials and I presented the new activities and information we added. It was a packed day and we covered a lot of important topics: computer refurbishment, club recruitment, student retention, holding a computer distribution, and last year’s evaluation results. We just got back the surveys from the training and almost all the responses were positive and confirmed we had a very successful orientation.

So now that the club leaders have been trained I’m really looking forward to my next duties as coordinator. I’m going to travel to each of the clubs and sit in and see how what I wrote works in the classroom. I’m really excited to meet some of the kids and evaluate what works and what doesn’t. And as an added bonus, I’ll be able to travel all across the state of Washington on PSCTLT’s budget (YES!!). In addition to stopping by the clubs, I’m also in the process of compiling some information and resources for the end of year computer distributions and what we at the PSCTLT (rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) have named “Technical Assistance Workshops” (TAWs), which are basically just what they sound like, classes for recipients to learn more about the computers they have. We’re working closely with the Department of Social and Health Services of the state of Washington to make partnerships and provide trainings for the families that have received computers (this is TAP’s second year). So basically I’m compiling information and making partnerships. It’s kinda fun.

Now I’ll include a personal update because this is my first field report and I’m trying to make up for missing my first two. So, let’s see. Living situation is great. I’m sharing a two bedroom apartment with my twin brother on First aka Pill Hill in Seattle. Kinda a big deal for me considering Kenyon (where I went to college) didn’t have off campus housing, so it’s my first apartment! Buying groceries still has some sort of novelty that hasn’t worn off yet. Unfortunately, First Hill is known as Pill Hill because of the inordinately large number of hospitals located in that area. This means ambulance sirens. All. The. Time. It’s actually not too terrible and I guess I’m getting used to it, but compared to the tranquil central Ohio birdsong it’s a change. One of the bonuses of living in that area means I have a decent commute. Bonus you ask? How is a long commute a bonus? Well let me explain, Seattle has this really sweet bike path (The Burke-Gilman bike path) and I can ride it home from work. Door to door it takes about 1.5 hours and it’s about 22 miles or so and the majority of it is on the bike path. I’m really glad to be biking almost daily (I work from home on Fridays (SWEET!!) and getting a pretty decent workout. In addition, this means I don’t have to pay for gas / any car related expenses but at the same time, bike repairs can be costly. In the past few months I’ve broken a spoke, my seat post, had 3 flat tires, been the target of some road rage (dude threatened me with some sort of object (Lead pipe? Hatchet? Knife?)), and almost died or got into a serious accident. Overall, I like riding the bike and I don’t foresee any reason to stop soon. Seattle winters are fairly mild or so I’m told. And the investment I just made in some rain pants and tights leaves me with no excuses.

Well, that sums things up for me. I’m looking forward to seeing some of you other VISTAs at the CTCNet conference in November. Until next time….

Student Materials Sample.doc2.6 MB

Comment from Edward Gonzales on October 22, 2008 - 2:48pm

Hi Will!

I am happy to hear that you are busy and doing well up in Seattle. You should post a picture of your bike. Also glad to hear you will be at the CTCNet Conference!

Just to clarify: will you present student material samples to the places you will traveling in Washington?

Comment from Josh King on October 27, 2008 - 5:21pm

Hey Will,

I hope you have a helmet! I wish there were more bike paths around here, we have so many crazy drivers from the local university that it gets pretty hazardous. Sounds like it's pretty hazardous there, too. Maybe we should all have government-issued brass knuckles to protect ourselves on the job.

In Solidarity,

Josh King