The countdown has begun! There are only 51 days left! Yesterday, I helped launch an indiegogo campaign. The race to fund the HCLE Virtual Museum finally began to move. There are other countdowns commencing, things that can make a person anxious or eager: foreclosure, taxes, real estate contract, portfolio recovery, job applications, consultant gigs, classes, and collaborations. They all seem to be working to similar schedules. Will the funds I need arrive in time? I certainly hope so. When I ran marathons I always reminded myself, Set My Own Pace, Run My Own Race.
Yesterday, we (Liza Loop and I), launched an indiegogo campaign for the History of Computing in Learning and Education Virtual Museum. Do you remember the 70s and 80s? Within a very short time what, how, and why we learned changed. Computers became part of our world through our workplaces and classrooms. We had to learn about them using old school techniques of lecture and lab. They were the subject. By the end of that short period the computers had become the tool. That was a serious bit of adaptation we went through, and those efforts shouldn’t be ignored. The human species has survived because we’ve adapted whenever we’ve met change. Studying those periods of adaptation teaches us a lot about ourselves, our society, our culture, and how to survive future adaptations. Thousands of documents were produced as pioneering educators documented the change and their best guesses at appropriate responses.
Plenty of museums are preserving the hardware. Thank you. Liza realized that no one was collecting the documents, research reports, and software. Back in 2006, she founded the museum by collecting over ten thousand of the documents. Care to add to the collection? HCLE’s museum will be virtual because everything vital to that mission can be stored electronically. The documents can be scanned. The software can be loaded, and run in emulation environments. Even the lessons that are only stored as personal memories can be recorded as audio and video. (We’ve started a facebook page and a twitter feed. Join in!) After a determined up-front effort, the museum can exist virtually, and inexpensively. But there’s a race here, too. The documents weren’t all written on archival paper. Many of them are newsletters run off from the days of dot matrix printers. The software may survive, if it is already stored in the cloud, but only a curated effort will know for sure. And, of course, human memories aren’t immortal (at least not yet.)
(My story: My freshman year at Virginia Tech was the last year they offered a class in slide rule, the first year they required hand calculators for engineers, and an era when I could meet my foreign language credits by learning FORTRAN. That transitory perspective affected my philosophy of life. That’s a much longer story.)
The sooner we get started, the more we can save. Which hopefully, saves time and effort and stress for some future educator. By the way, there’s a fun aspect to this too. Many people learned how to use computers by playing games. We intend to save games, too – and have them available for play in emulations of their original software environments.
Personal Disclosure: The sooner the museum gets funded, the sooner I get funded. Currently, I am the Interim Program Manager, a title I enjoy. Do you notice the “Interim” part? The indiegogo campaign funds the Proof of Concept. Full funding is still being sought through traditional philanthropy. After we get sufficient funding the job title drops the Interim and switches from 1099s to a W-2s, and not just for me. The museum will require dozens of employees (though volunteers are definitely welcome) to sort thousands of documents, catalog, scan, and archive as necessary. There is also a need for folks on the IT side. The museum is virtual, which will be the result of a lot of real effort.
But that’s not all! (That phrase sets of a sensorial suite of insomniac television viewing.) But here, there’s more; because, there are no guarantees.
Indiegogo and I may become very familiar with each other. As I’ve mentioned before, most of the people I know who are in similar situations are working together to find common solutions. There’s a lot of collaboration going on. There’s never been a lack of ideas or energy, just money. Finally with indiegogo, we can reach beyond our island. (It gets a bit silly when we’re all asking each other for money and none of us has enough. Even attending the potlucks gets to be an expensive aspect of the process.) Several of the collaborations are consolidating around ideas that pervade the 47%, or the 99%, or however Occupy is identified now. Some of the ideas, like a movie or two, are topical and should be addressed sooner rather than later, which is appropriate because the participants need the money sooner rather than later. There are a lot of horses in that race.
Through job possibilities that are showing up outside my regular job site search, some very sweet opportunities have been introduced. That’s a nice way of saying we’re early in the process and applications haven’t been filled out because we have to figure out how to get past the resume bots, or the business is so new that they haven’t figured out how to ask the question. It is all good news, and news that works to a schedule measured in weeks and months, rather like the foreclosure process.
My regular business is seeing a quiet, yet impressive, increase in interest. Despite low attendance, people want to take my classes – but maybe in sessions customized for their business or group. OK! Consulting has had a lull in work, but a lengthening list of potential clients. Such communications take place on a weekly basis. I guess I’m popping up on their weekly review of their to-do list.
Money comes in and money goes out. That’s the way the economy works. Personal finance works similarly, and the swirl in which I am working is turbulent. Global economies seem to be similarly confused. I can do my part by setting my own pace, running my own race, and seeing who else I can help come up to speed. We’re in this race together.