Florida DEN Academic Excursion

Somewhere over this past week our National Florida Institute was called this, an academic excursion. I really came to like it, isn’t that what we as educators want our students to strive for? It seems a vague concept, how can academics and excursion go together for them? I’ve a saying that I picked up years ago, and believe it or not, came from the back of a Tshirt my wife had. It goes: "Life’s a Journey, Not a Guided Tour". That fits into the concept of academic excursion. What we do as educators help our young and old students on their life’s excursion. Building them up into what we hope and pray to be successful adults.

Deep thoughts, eh? This was just something that I thought about all week as
myself and 50ish other STAR DEN educators "embarked" on the Florida National Institute’s floating conference. I was very unlucky enough to not be able to get typepad to update for any blog posts during the whole week. I basically got tired of losing my posts, so, I decided to just hold off, write stuff down and formulate my thoughts after we returned.

Florida was well represented at this week’s Institute, with myself, Ruth and Chris Paine, Carol Papuga, Janet Hallstrom, our Leader Chair Carole Gooden, Marie Colemen, and Melissa Lander. I’m hoping I can hit each of them up for a guest blogger spot here in the upcoming week so that they can share with everyone what an invaluable experience these National Institutes are. As for myself, it was great to reconnect with all of the Discovery Educator Network staff, as well as, some DEN members whom I had the pleasure of meeting last year at the summer institute in Silver Spring.

As for the events of the week, I will break down my thoughts on a day by day recap so as to not make this a super huge post:

Day 1 began with everyone converging on Port Canaveral. The embarkation process was pretty seamless and didn’t really take long once we got inside. Didn’t take long for me to find Marty Green from MI DEN so that we could get things rolling. Lunch on the ship, then it was time to get to learning. Joe Brennan shared some great tips for making movies. It was a real fast paced session, with barely enough time to get the notes I wanted typed/written up. He shared with us tips about types of shots, ways to set up a scene and to spark interest in the movie. We broke up into groups and worked on a 90second movie based on the concepts we just learned. Each of the groups did a wonderful job, with much joy and raucous laughter coming from everyone.

After all videos were shared, it was about 1030pm and we broke. The true networking then began as people who were strangers, having never met, or only through emails or Second Life, sparked immediate friendships and conversations.

Truly a networking delight. I will share more later tomorrow about my Day 2 Monday thoughts.



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  1. Marie Coleman said:

    Great ‘tag’ – academic excursion…And learn we did! From Makin’ Movies to Cruisin’ with the Stars! Now to develop a plan to share all of this great learning with others. And, I’ll be happy to submit a guest blogger post – let me know how to get it to you!

  2. Debbie Bohanan said:

    It sounds like you were off to a great start. I can’t wait to read about the rest of the week.

  3. Rachel Yurk said:

    Hey Tom – I really enjoyed getting to know you and the FL team. I had a great day in Freeport and I’m glad we lived through the cab ride to tell all about it. Hope to see some of my special words in the next blog posts! Cheers!

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