Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Shiny Object Guy


I’m a “Shiny Object” guy.


I’m a Navy veteran. I served in the late seventies and early eighties for six years. Some memories from my experience have faded so much that I think they’re fantasy; others remain so vivid in my mind that they seem to have happened only yesterday.

One of the latter vivid variety memories happened on September 13, 1978. On that day I boarded an Air Force C-141 Starlifter. It would take me one half the way around the world to my first overseas duty station: NavComSta Diego Garcia. But that isn’t what this post is about.

What it is about is something that took place many months earlier. A standard Navy activity is reading the Plan-of-the-Day (POTD). During one such reading my instructor, I was then taking Electronics Technician 1 at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, read about a new program wherein students could dream-sheet a sixth choice of what advanced training they wanted to receive and where they would like to be stationed. A dream-sheet gave sailors the opportunity to provide their detailer (the Chief in D.C. who cut orders) input on where and what; usually we could submit up to five choices. He said if we asked to be stationed on Diego Garcia we wouldn’t have to bump one of the other choices to make room for it. So I did. I had no idea what Diego Garcia was.

Diego Garcia was, and remains, a shiny object for me. It’s difficult for me to tell this story because of all the tangentential stories about my time there that scream out to be told, too. Anyway, the gist of it is that as the Starlifter, after leaving Travis Air Force Base, flew over the Golden Gate Bridge (man how I wish I knew where that photo was) I was filled with a sense of wonder and joy for what was to come. It’s a rare feeling.


I have to work today. I’m worried it’s going to be a long one. At the end of my work day I’m going to be getting underway for Las Vegas. I’ll finally be on my way to CUEROCKSTAR. I signed up for it back in March after a CUE conference with Jon Corippo.

Jon Corippo and Urbie Delgado selfie

I was so motivated by the CUE experience. That CUE ball cap I’m wearing in the selfie with Jon is the first hat of any kind to be on my head since I left the Navy in ’83.

I do and I don’t know what to expect. I know it’ll be three days of learning with K-12 teachers from all over. Not being a K-12 teacher I have a fuzzy idea of what I’ll be learning. The past two years I’ve participated in something like 24 EdCamps. I’ve learned a lot about how our children learn during their K-12 experience. Some of what I’ve picked up has made it into the learning experiences I design. But the thing is EdCamps are brief experiences; several 50 minute sessions over the course of a few hours. I make connections with some teachers and encounter others during educational chats on Twitter afterwards. But CUEROCKSTAR will be different. It’s THREE DAYS!

I like to say that I design transformational learning experiences. That means learners will be butts-out-of-seats moving around doing stuff. They’ll be making their learning visible: to themselves, to their instructor/facilitator, and to their team back home. CUE ROCKSTAR will be transformational.


In my mind’s eye I can see the jewel that is San Francisco Bay through the Starlifter’s port-side porthole. A few minutes after leaving Travis I undid my jump seat belt and ambled over to the porthole (this wasn’t a smart move as the heavily laden transport plane, unlike a passenger jet, bounces and heaves like nobody’s business as it claws for altitude. I made my way past pallets piled with who-knows-what and gazed back in wonder at the bay, the bridge, and all that I had known before.

I’m going to be different after CUEROCKSTAR. It’s going to be different. How? I have no idea. That’s how it is with shiny objects.



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