It’s Not Good Enough

This is a cross post from my personal blog. I decided to post this entry here because for a lot of people, my personal blog is blocked, and I really wanted this message to get out there.


I’m in a rocking chair in a darkened room. The only light comes from a small flourescent over the sink and the red and green lights on the pump that is connected to my son via a line that goes into his chest. The line is not new – he has had it for several months. It serves many purposes. Tonight it feeds him antibiotics to fight the bacterial infection that has developed in his blood. I can feel the vibration of his grinding teeth in the bend of my elbow where his bald head lay. His body is curled up as tight as possible in my lap. The heat radiating from his fevered body causes my own to sweat but there is no way I’m letting him go. I think he sleeps but still his face holds a tormented look as he battles unseen harm. I am alone except for my boy. On this night I have been told I may lose him. If he makes it to daylight he will have a better chance. I look at his face and gently begin rocking the chair. This is the only position in which he can sleep. I will not sleep tonight. Prayers have been said. There are no more begging requests I can issue. I am a helpless eyewitness to the struggle my baby is facing. I begin to hum Amazing Grace.

This is a piece of the experiences I had in 2002 with my son, Nathan, who was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma shortly after his first birthday. He survived that night and every night since then. He now lives with no real memories of that year, only vague emotions when we go near a big white building (hospital) or smells popcorn (which the ladies in the oncologist’s office popped every time he came in for chemotherapy). But I remember.

34 children will be diagnosed with cancer today. Of those children, one in five will not survive. If you read those statistics (78% survival rate) and think “that’s good enough”, what would you tell the parents of the 22% who don’t survive? If my son had not made it, that would mean a zero percent survival rate for him. That’s not good enough.

Funding has been cut for childhood cancer research. If my son had died that night, it would not have been the cancer that killed him, but the treatment. If we do not continue research into better treatments and possible cures, children will continue to die and leave devastated families behind.

Please take a moment to visit and find out ways you can help in the fight. Join the virtual walk for 12,500. Write your congressmen and urge them to continue supporting legislation like the Conquer Childhood Cancer Act which was signed into law in July, 2008. Visit the pediatric oncology ward of your local hospital and ask how you can volunteer and help the parents of these kids. Do this for the cancer kids. Do this for your kid.


September is National Chilhood Cancer Awareness month. Pass it on.

Posting from DEN Central Regional Conference

I’m presenting on how to use our blogs at the DEN Central Regional Conference.

The National LC Institute So Far

I’ve started posting to the Texas DEN blog, and I encourage you to read the other state blogs for additional updates, etc., but I thought I’d post a little about my personal experiences at the institute.

Silver Spring is a nice town. There is free wireless all over the city, and the shopping area we walk through each day to get to Discovery HQ is beautiful. It has a really nice fountain and the area around the shopping and restaurants is frequented by residents and visitors alike. In the mornings, the weather is great, and this morning, Fred Delventhal (aka Riptide Furse), Lori Abrahams (aka Lor Fredrikkson), Nancy Sharoff (aka Laelia Laval), and myself (aka Celestia Cazalet), sat by the fountain, chatting and enjoying the special atmosphere surrounding the commons.

Lori is uploading a video of Fred and I running through the fountain Monday night. When it is available, I’ll post a link here.

Presenting at NECC!

2632338720_2898df987d.jpgWhat an amazing experience presenting at NECC was! I don’t think the full impact hit me until this morning when I received an email from ISTE that said there were over 17,600 people at NECC this year! Our room was packed, there were people standing, and about 20 people watched us on Ustream. We think about 135-30 people saw our presentation Monday morning.

I’ve caught the bug – I’ll definitely be putting in a presentation proposal for DC next year! If you’d like to read my blog about what I’ve walked away from NECC with (aside from my full set of Shark Week DVDs – Thanks DEN!), you can read my Cruel Shoes entry HERE.

Presentation at NECC an Amazing Experience

Just finished with the DEN in Second Life Leadership Council’s presentation: “Creating a Personal Learning Network in Second Life” at ISTE’s NECC 2008. It was incredible. We had over 100 education professionals in the room and another 20 or so watching via the Ustream Steve Dembo set up. We had only one hour to talk about the PLN we have created in Second Life and why we have found it beneficial.

One thing that was really awesome was the fact that this morning was the first time all six of us had ever been in the same room together. I just met three of the panel members this morning, having worked with them for over a year in the virtual world. To think back over this past year and see how much we have accomplished as a group in a relatively short period of time (we’ve gone from 0 members to nearly 600 members), without having ever shared the same breathing air, it is incredible.

I look forward to another great year with the DEN in SL Leadership Council, and I also look forward to meeting all the new avatars in Second Life who are sure to be created after this conference!

How Social Is Your Network?

I have to admit, since joining the Discovery Educator Network, I have become a little gung-ho about establishing networks. I never understood how powerful they can be until my experiences with the DEN.

In the interest of expanding my network in the biggest possible way, I started checking out online networking sites like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and others. What I found was, although they all had potential for expanding my network, they also all had the potential of being too personal. There are times that personal is good, but there are times when all you really want is for people to see what your experience is and be able to connect with you because of it.

Enter my latest interest, LinkedIN. LinkedIN is a site that allows you to enter all your past work experience and education into your profile. It displays somewhat like a resume. You have choices on who can see it, how they can contact you, etc. If you are looking for a job, you can set it so that people know you are accepting job offers.

What I like about LinkedIN is that it doesn’t have all the “add-ons” that Facebook and MySpace have, so my profile isn’t going to end up tempting me to add too much of my personal life on it. LinkedIN is strictly professional, and you can establish a network by inviting your friends as “connections.” Once you’ve established your connections, LinkedIN tells you how many people you have access to via your connections and their connections. In addition, your connections can post recommendations on your profile (don’t worry, you have to approve them in order for them to show), and you can post recommendations on theirs.

Try it! And if you want to, add me to your connections by clicking HERE.

WOW What an Experience!

Last night, I got to be a panelist at the popular WOW2 Tuesday night chat. My fellow DEN in SL(tm) Leadership Council members and myself answered questions about our involvement with the DEN, the benefits of being a DEN member, and how things are going in the Second Life(tm) world.

It was a great experience. I haven’t ever been in a situation where people are just asking me questions – I’m used to standing up front and presenting – not waiting for someone to ask me the questions I want to answer! All in all, I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity and will be sure to catch future episodes of WOW2.

My only concern is why my name is so hard for people to pronounce. Sound it out . . . Ply . . . Bon. Hmmm.

DEN Thoughts

Well, I finally managed to get my flight arranged for the DEN Leadership Council National Institute in July. I’m very excited about the opportunity to connect with my fellow LC members. Some of them will be people I met last summer and others will be new people to meet. Either way, I can’t wait to get to Maryland!

This brings to mind the whole reason why the DEN has been such a great experience for me over the last several years. The opportunities to connect with educators from all over the world is invaluable! From bouncing ideas off each other on Twitter, meeting at various professional development opportunities, and learning together in webinars, the whole DEN experience cannot be equaled. I’ve looked and tried to get as immersed in other professional groups, but everything pales in comparison!

If you haven’t become a DEN STAR yet, why not? The experiences, even if you only participate in one event, will enhance your professional abilities, expand your personal network, and give you valuable information you need  to be a successful educator who integrates technology in a useful way.

If you are a DEN STAR, I hope to meet you if I haven’t already! DEN folks are good folks!

National Institutes a No-Brainer

DNI ‘07 Bahamas CruiseHopefully, everyone has seen that the National and Regional institutes for this summer have been announced on the National blog. I had several people ask me whether I was planning on attending an institute. I thought about it for a bit, but realized it really was never in question. If they’ll have me, I will come!

I’ve attended Discovery Educator Network institutes in the past, both regional and national, and I have to say the experience has always been very fulfilling and useful. I have never left a Discovery-sponsored event thinking that I wish I hadn’t come. The time spent is always more than worth it. Usually within the first 10 minutes of coming together with like-minded educators from many geographic locations, I will learn enough to make the entire institute “worth it.”

If you haven’t decided whether to fill out an application and hope for the best – just do it!  You’ll be glad you did. And if you still are trying to decide, just ask one of the STAR educators who have attended institutes in the past – they’ll tell you the same thing.

Please Consider Taking a Few Minutes . . .

logo.gifIrving ISD, the district I work for, has an annual Technology Media Fair. This year, the district has opened up several categories for online judging. The hope, above all, is that this will help keep district students excited about technology and about sharing their work with a global audience. This is where you come in. The contest is in need of judges. Anyone who has an interest in technology in education is qualified to be a judge. All the projects can be judged from now until January 7, 2008. There are six categories and levels from K through 12th grade.  Anyone who chooses to judge can judge as many or as few entries as they would like. Would you consider helping with this cause? You can do so by judging, obviously, but also by sharing the word with other education professionals through your own blogs, twitters, feeds, and other social networking venues. The district would love to see judging from all over the world, so let’s get this DEN machine rolling!  

To judge the projects, go to and click on the judging link. When judging, please include your name and email address. Your email address will not be published. It will be used for security only. Please expect an email from our administrative staff confirming that the address listed next to your name is a valid email address.