Catalyst CAMP Recap

I was a Catalyst CAMP Ranger at the recently concluded WCET09 conference in Denver. Catalyst CAMP is a wrap-around leadership academy that was started by WCET this year. By “wrap-around” I mean that the camp started the day before the annual conference began and concluded with the end of the conference on Saturday.

The CAMP was led by Hae Okimoto of Univ. of Hawaii System and Myk Garn of Southern Regional Education Board. That’s Myk in the Ranger hat when he was welcoming the campers on Day 1. Fellow CAMP Rangers included Maggi Murdock, Muriel Oaks, Mollie McGill, Karen Paulson, Russ Poulin, Philip Cameron, and David Phillips.

I had the pleasure of working directly with three of the fifteen campers; Judith Steed, Reed Scull, and James Russom. Their testimonials are shown below.

“There were three main high points of the camp: 1) meeting others learning their way into the WCET advantage, 2) getting to talk with the keynote speakers in smaller group discussions and 3) connecting with the great rangers who had experience, ideas and encouragement to share so very generously. I especially enjoyed the campers’ willingness to share and explore together with humor and productive intention. I look forward to meeting my camping cohort next time.”

Judith L. Steed, M.S.
Director of Assessment: Promoting Student Learning
University of the Rockies


“There were several very helpful aspects to Catalyst CAMP.  One was the opportunity to discuss issues of common concern with experienced campus distance education leaders.  Secondly, the canoe speech was helpful in seeing how others process and explain challenging distance education topics.  The time constraint of three minutes for this speech was very important in encouraging us to reflect on what elements of our “pitches” were the most salient.  Lastly, the opportunity to interact in small groups with the plenary speakers was very helpful.  Overall, I learned more from the camp than I expected, and I made some nice friendships to boot.”

W. Reed Scull, Ed.D.
Director, Outreach Credit Programs and Associate Dean,
The Outreach School, University of Wyoming


“The Catalyst Camp experience was extremely beneficial.”

“Benefits included:

  • Leadership by the Camp Rangers was personal and relevant – a good learning atmosphere
  • Exposure to folks that are extremely knowledgeable in their field of expertise
  • The fellowship and networking among peers
  • The unique learning experience from being face to face with the keynote speakers
  • The fellowship at meal times”

“The format, food, fellowship with the other campers and the face-to-face with the keynote speakers was invaluable. I cannot imagine not taking part in future camps.”

Dr. James R. Russom
Associate Director of Online Education
Nazarene  Bible College


It was my pleasure to meet these fine leaders and work with them over the four days of CAMP.

Who the hell is Brian Lamb?

This video helps answer two burning questions:

  1. Who the hell is Brian Lamb?
  2. Why is he saying all these terrible things about Learning Objects?

Brian is one of my favorite EdTech speakers and thought leaders. He was the closing keynote speaker at the recently concluded WCET conference in Denver. My flight was scheduled to leave at about the same time that Brian’s address was scheduled to begin. I even tried to pay extra to get a seat on a later flight, but alas, none were available so I was destined to miss this event.

As luck (and good planning) would have it, Brian agreed to spend an hour with the Catalyst CAMP attendees on the day prior to his keynote. I was one of the CAMP Rangers (my cabin group was known as the Tweetarondaks) and so was able to be part of the group that spent an hour with Brian in a more informal session. He agreed to let me shoot some video during the chat and this is the first one that I’d like to share.

In this 10 minute video you’ll learn about how Brian got started working in education, and how his first job at UBC was essentially to help them build a closed-system Learning Object Repository with all the SCORM and IMS guidelines and requirements, and all that jazz. Not surprisingly, Brian tells the tale of how open-ness and simple technologies can be used much more effectively for those who truly want to share.

BTW, Brian started this session by asking the question in the title of this post, and wondered why we should care what he had to say. We cared.

(Post edited 3/20/13)

Catalyst CAMP Begins

I will be serving as a camp ranger for the WCET higher education leadership academy called CatalystCAMP (Changing Academic Methods & Practices) from Oct. 21-24 in Denver.

The leadership academy is wrapped around the WCET annual conference that starts Oct. 22. Myk Garn of the SREB and I will be leading the group through their paces as we talk about the Articulation step in the process. The five A’s are as follows:

  1. Awareness
  2. Anticipation
  3. Articulation
  4. Action
  5. Assessment

One of the first things we provided to the campers was a suggested reading list. Here are my contributions to the list.

1) The Cluetrain Manifesto by Locke, Searles, Weinberger, Levine

“A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies.”

Barry says: this book is still as informative and relevant as it was 10 years ago when it was first published. Every leader in higher ed should be familiar with the manifesto and how it represents a fundmental change in how we must communicate with the world by speaking with a human voice. BTW, this book can be read in its entirety for free, online.

2) Disrupting Class by Clayton Christensen

“According to recent studies in neuroscience, the way we learn doesn’t always match up with the way we are taught. If we hope to stay competitive-academically, economically, and technologically-we need to rethink our understanding of intelligence, reevaluate our educational system, and reinvigorate our commitment to learning. In other words, we need ‘disruptive innovation.'”

Barry says: There’s lots of books out there about how we need to reform education or “fix” schools. This book takes a reasoned approach of how we can use technology effectively to create truly individualized instruction that can help students learn at many different levels – where they are and when they need it. Based on the idea of “disruptive innovation.”

3) The Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein

“50 Million Minds Diverted, Distracted, Devoured. The technology that was supposed to make young adults more astute, diversify their tastes, and improve their minds had the opposite effect.”

Barry says: Don’t believe the hype about the “tech-savvy” (quote marks intentional) Millennial generation and most definitely don’t make big strategic plans to change the way you provide education based upon that same hype and drivel. If anything, this generation (and presumably the next one, etc.) will need more of our help to make sense of and productive uses of technology in their educational pursuits.

4) 33,000,000 people in the room – by Juliette Powell

“33 Million People in the Room offers practical tools and advice for optimizing every stage of your own social networking initiative, from planning through measurement. The techniques can help you build your company, introduce new products and services, and strengthen your brands, whatever they are: business or personal.”

Barry says: We’ll talk about this idea during the camp; you probably won’t need to read the book after that discussion. It’s an important idea about creating your own network of connections. This book is not specific to education, but the examples allow you to make your own connections to higher education.