Misc. thoughts from “Up-North”

I’m sitting here in Traverse City on the patio of my hotel writing this post.  I’ve got somewhat dicey internet access, and there is a fair amount of bird shit on the patio because of a nest that is in the eaves above.  Across the way, there’s a fenced-in small herd (10 or so?) of buffalo.  Somewhat close to nature, I suppose.  Will is watching Spongebob while playing computer games, and Annette is reading and napping.  Somewhat close to home, too.

We’re up here because I’m teaching a course called Technology for Teaching and Learning, which is offered as part of the EMU continuing ed program in Traverse City.  Basically, my concept of the class has been as a hands-on course/workshop that runs from 8-ish in the morning until 2-ish in the afternoon for a week.  The focus is on exposure to all sorts of tools (mostly of the web 2.0 variety) with the goal of helping folks figure out how various things might (or not) work in their teaching.  It’s a lot of practice that hopefully sparks some theory.  I originally imagined it as an English/Writing course, but all but one of the eight students have come from other programs and they are all grad students, too.  It’s been a lot of fun and useful for students (I think), and the format has worked out pretty much the way that I hoped:  lots of time to really try to figure out some of this software, lots of time to talk and brainstorm about what might work, lots of time to “bond” with each other.  Anyway, check out the web site above.

As part of the deal, EMU puts faculty up in a local hotel, and in our case, we selected the option of the Great Wolf Lodge. Check out the web site for those not familiar; basically, it is a hotel with a waterpark, or a waterpark with a hotel.  As Annette put it, staying here is a bit like staying in a Chuck E. Cheese:  everything is set up for the 12 and under crowd (and parents, of course) for a one or two night stay (the desk clerk expressed surprise at my eight day reservation) of waterpark fun, story-time, ice cream, arcade games, some sort of weird Harry Potter-esque game in the hallways that involve kids playing with wands.  Don’t ask because that’s all I know.  Mind you, it’s a decent-enough hotel.  Everyone has been quite nice, and, relatively speaking, it is pretty conveniently located, especially to get to the points east of here that are of touristy interest.  But I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t on EMU’s dime.

While I’ve been teaching, Annette and Will have been touring about, taking advantage of the waterpark, and just generally hanging about.  When you’re up north this long, you don’t feel as much pressure to do something all the time.  So far, we’ve been up to Leeland (Fishtown and the Bluebird), Glen Arbor (and Cherry Republic), Sleeping Bear, Empire Beach, downtown Traverse City, and a few points in-between.  We’re thinking about going up to Petoskey on Saturday.  Whenever I come up here, I always have two reoccuring thoughts:  first, it sure is beautiful up here and I understand the appeal of a sorta run-down cabin down a gravel lane by the lake. Conversely, it reminds me of how it is a lot more fun to visit a tourist town than to live in a tourist town.  The traffic around here, especially in the “city” of Traverse City: jesh.

Anyway, some pictures/movies soon, including of the bird shit, birds, and buffalo.

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