I’m in Osage Beach, Missouri this evening, anticipating the start tomorrow of the 2007 MOREnet Instructional Technology Conference (MITC). (Actually right after finishing this blog post I’ll be drafting the narrative for a MacArthur grant on digital learning, but that’s another story.) The keynote speaker for the conference tomorrow is none other than the amazing Eric Langhorst, an 8th grade U.S. history teacher from Liberty, Missouri, who writes the blog and podcast “Speaking of History.” Last month, Eric was recognized as the Missouri state teacher of the year! This is not the state social studies teacher of the year, not the state secondary teacher of the year, but THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR for the entire state of Missouri!!! How wonderful this is– congrats to Eric! If you are regular listener to his podcast, you are likely to have a VERY good idea why Eric is the perfect choice for this recognition.
This evening prior to the start of tomorrow’s conference, I had the pleasure to eat dinner with Eric as well as Eric Nicklas, who is the K-12 Program Manager of MOREnet. In addition to a great meal we had a great conversation, which I am sure I’ll reflect on in greater detail later this week. Suffice it to say Missouri educators are doing LOTS of innovative things and striving to not only promote more collaboration among educators, but also the entire school reform agenda in various ways. Lots to think about and share.
This post is titled “the gauntlet has been tossed” not because of big picture conversations about school reform, but rather because Eric Langhorst and I are “avid” (putting it mildly) college football fans on opposite sides of a state border. Eric is a season ticket holder for Nebraska football, and I am a season ticket holder (albeit shared with my cousin) for Kansas State football. If you know much about the history of the Big 8 conference, and anything about the history of Kansas State football in the 1990s to the present, you will know why this is a big deal. If you’re still confused, these remarkable and stirring images from November 14, 1998 (which I took from my seat in the stands during and after that historic game) may help illuminate you.
Kansas State and Nebraska have a substantial football rivalry. This photograph from METC 2006 of Eric, David Warlick and I shows the reality of this rivalry in our everyday lives:
Eric is wearing a Nebraska Cornhuskers jacket, and I am wearing a KSU football tshirt.
This historic football rivalry has now entered the realm of the educational podcast. Eric and I have agreed on a friendly wager for this year’s scheduled KSU/Nebraska matchup on November 10, 2007. If K-State wins, Eric will play at least 30 seconds of the KSU fight song (the Washbash Cannonball) near the start of one of his podcast episodes. If Nebraska wins, I’ll do the same for the Nebraska fight song. (“There Is No Place Like Nebraska.”) This certainly raises the stakes of the game for me personally– and I’m looking forward even more to November 10th now! 🙂
If you want to check out the fight songs of all the Big 12 teams, I found this page this evening which includes mp3 versions of all of them. The gauntlet has been thrown, and the challenge accepted! It will be fun to see what happens.
It will also be fun to hear Eric’s keynote address tomorrow. I’ll be recording and sharing it here (with Eric’s permission of course) so stay tuned! 🙂
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