A Tribute to Michael Hughes

A tall white man in graduation gown giving thumbs up to cameraI first started teaching overseas with the MAET program in 2006. At the age of 30, this was the first time I had ever ventured overseas (beyond Canada.) While many of our students talk about how transformational the experience is (even for seasoned overseas travelers) I might argue back that it was equally if not more transformational for me as well – and that is all because of the amazing human beings I  had the privilege of working with. Michael Hughes is one of those humans.  

Bindu (his amazing wife, fellow MAET grad, and another incredible human) messaged me Saturday to let me know the devastating news that Mike unexpectedly passed away on Friday, June 10th.  My heart stopped.  Mike’s memorial is today, and I cannot be there in person, so I am honoring him the best I can with this tribute.   

As I started culling through photographs and emails, it became difficult to see through the tears. MAET Overseas is an intense and joyous Masters program for teachers – it’s 9 credits, in-person, over 4 weeks of 8am-4pm Monday – Friday. Teachers come to the program from all across the globe. When Mike and Bindu were in the program, the majority of teachers were from international schools and we had growing cohorts of students from the US joining. This mix of teachers was like nothing I had ever experienced.  The seasoned international school teachers in the program often served as informal mentors to the US students, and many went on to expand their own teaching horizons overseas. In the program we lived together, worked together, learned together, ate together, and celebrated together – often spending more intense time with each other than our own family and friends.  When Mike went through the program, it was located in Plymouth, England.  He was always the center of joy and wisdom in our classes and he was a consummate lifelong learner.  Mike and his cohort graduated in 2009.  

Anyone who has been an educator knows the joys of receiving an “out of the blue” email from a former student – it always brings a ray of sunshine to my (usually mundane and sometimes fraught) inbox.  Mike, Bindu, and I formed a continuing bond and I would receive messages frequently post graduation.  As I was looking back through emails, this one started the flood of tears and I think keenly represents the incredible educator that Mike was:  

August, 2009 

My school just admitted its first 100% deaf student, sixth grade, my homeroom. How cool of an opportunity is that?

I’m now searching out ways I can learn to sign, and wonder if there is anything you know of that would help me. Anything from MSU, or Berlitz or anything else?

I’m excited and searching.

Thanks for any suggestions,

Mike

This was the first of many years of emails related to his quest to learn and support ASL. Fast forward to 2013 – Mike was no longer in a formal teaching position because of the rules in his country that required educators to stop teaching at the age of 60. 

August 2013

Hello Leigh and Punya,

I wanted to catch up and let you know what an MAET grad does once he’s no longer in the formal classroom.

When my knowledge of eBooks combined with my contact with the deaf community, it set off a buzzer in my head. Every child sitting on the lap of their parent deserves to have literature delivered to them in their first language. Ok, that is generally quite possible…unless the child is deaf. 

The deaf 3 year old who’s struggling to learn sign language could not experience sign in a paper book. From their earliest days, deaf youth are learning one language to make their way in the complicated world, and yet another language to decipher written text.

Along comes the eBook with the inclusion of video–a game changer for this young child. Now the youngster can page through the eBook on an iPad, seeing their first language coming back to them in the form of video.

This is what I am doing, producing eBooks for the deaf/signing community.

Attached is the flyer I’m sending with my letter to organizations of deaf persons. I’m getting results. This idea is gaining traction.

Please feel free to forward this info on to anyone you know who would be interested in ASL eBooks as well as maybe promote the effort a little bit. 

Michael Hughes

Creating eBooks for the deaf/signing community

 

Mike and Bindu eventually moved to the US in 2016 once they were both fully retired. We would zoom every so often and nothing delighted Mike more than sharing with me how amazing Bindu is and he would also share with me his new passion of learning leather making and how he was giving back to his new community in Durango – continuing sharing his love and talents with the world, making people feel welcome, human, and loved in a unique way that I have never experienced and that I will carry with me in perpetuity. 

When I am sad and grieving, I often seek solace in poetry as I don’t feel my own words are ever quite enough.  One of my favorite poets John O’Donohue always seems to capture emotions in a way that brings me a bit of peace. Bindu, and Mike’s family and friends – I hope this poem can bring an ounce of comfort to you in a time when our hearts are shattered.  

 

Though we need to weep your loss,

You dwell in that safe place in our hearts

Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.

 

Your love was like the dawn

Brightening over our lives,

Awakening beneath the dark

A further adventure of color.

 

The sound of your voice

Found for us

A new music

That brightened everything.

 

Whatever you enfolded in your gaze

Quickened in the joy of its being;

You placed smiles like flowers

On the alter of the heart,

Your mind always sparkled

With the wonder at things.

 

Though your days here were brief,

Your spirit was alive, awake, complete.

 

We look toward each other no longer

From the old distance of our names;

Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,

As close to us as we are to ourselves.

 

Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,

We know our souls gaze is upon your face,

Smiling back at us from within everything

To which we bring our best refinement.

 

Let us not look for you only in memory,

Where we would grow lonely without you.

You would want us to find you in presence,

Besides us when beauty brightens,

When kindness glows

And music echoes eternal tones.

 

When orchids brighten the earth,

Darkest winter has turned to spring;

May this dark grief flower with hope

In every heart that loves you.

 

May you continue to inspire us:

To enter each day with a generous heart.

To serve the call of courage and love

Until we see your beautiful face again

In that land where there is no more separation,

Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,

And where we will never lose you again.

 

By John O’Donohue

To Bless the Space between us

 

Catching Up: AERA 2022 Recap + Shout Out to The Civics of Technology Project

Spring semester 2022 will certainly go down in the record books as one of the most challenging on record. I’m just now coming up for some air.  Before too much more time escapes, I want to make sure to document the amazing AERA Symposium that I was honored to serve on as a discussant back in April:

Educating techno-skeptics: Critical approaches to educational technology in a dystopian world.

The amazing Dr. Marie Heath was the chair/organizer of the symposium and it included the following presentations (and I highly suggest clicking on the link above to check out all of the paper abstracts):

Big Tech’s Inculcation of Inculcation of Education – Marie K. Heath, Loyola University Maryland; Sumreen Asim, Indiana University Southeast; Jessa Henderson, George Washington University; Natalie B. Milman, The George Washington University.

Graduate Students Critically Investigating Emerging Technologies – Jason Trumble, University of Central Arkansas.

Confronting Neoliberalism Within the Teacher-to-Teacher Online Marketplace of Ideas – Catharyn Crane Shelton, Northern Arizona University; Stephanie Schroeder, The Pennsylvania State University; Rachelle Curcio, University of South Carolina.

Technologies of the Global South: Exploring the Alternatives to Neoliberal Colonization – Ted Hall, Martin University; Rohit Mehta, California State University – Fresno.

“In That System, We All Look Like Thieves”: Developing Young People’s Critical Digital Citizenship – Charles Logan, Northwestern University; Amy Lynn Chapman, Teachers College, Columbia University;  Daniel G Krutka, University, University of North Texas; Swati Mehta, Michigan State University; Sepehr Vakil, Northwestern University.

Designing for Critical Technology Literacy in Teacher Education –  Jamie D. Gravell, California State University – Stanislaus.

I also want to give a shout to the Civics of Technology Project which is a tremendous place to continue these conversations (and many people involved in the project were a part of this symposium!) I was honored to be a guest on the March Madness “Must Read” Books discussion a few months ago!

A (Special) New Publication: Leadership Lessons from Lasso

Publication day is always fun – and this one, is just a bit more fun. In August 1997, I met Piya Bose. Back then, she was Piya and I was Ms. Graves.  Now, (25 years!) later, she’s Dr. Bose and I’m Dr. Wolf.  It makes my heart happy that we’ve stayed in touch for all of these years. My time at the International Academy was filled with so many happy memories and people – and Piya, my tech lab buddy, holds a very significant place in my heart.

A few months ago Piya reached out to see if I would be interested in writing something together with her, and of course I said yes. We wanted to write something fun about Ted Lasso & Leadership…and…here is the result! It was a tremendous process (and the editor we worked with was absolutely fantastic!) If you haven’t watched Ted Lasso, we tried to reduce the spoilers – but, a few slipped through so be aware – and enjoy!

Bose, P. & Wolf, L.G. (2022) Leadership lessons from Lasso. NASPA Leadership Exchange. 20(1), 22-25.

WiPSCE 2021 Keynote: Computing Education Online: Critical Perspectives, Ponderings, and Possibilities

I’m a bit behind with documenting (there is still a pandemic happening!) – and I realized that I failed to post my slides from my Workshop in Primary and Secondary Computing Education (WiPSCE) 2021 Keynote.  I’m so thankful to Dr. Marc Berges for the invitation.  The session was not recorded – but – I can attest that it was a really wonderful discussion, and it was so great to reconnect with the Computing Education & Computational Thinking community! 

Recap – CPED EdD Fireside Chat: Building an Online Presence

It was great to talk with CPED students, faculty, and staff a few weeks ago for the EdD Fireside Chat on Building an Online Presence. In preparing for the chat I was able to revisit a lot of the great scholarly and digital presence work that I did with Chris Long, Kristen Mapes, Stephen Thomas, and Scott Schopieray many years ago.

Here is the workshop description:

While many conversations about online presence start with the “how to”, this chat is designed to help you navigate challenging and nuanced questions like: Why should you have a digital presence? Who is interested in my work and scholarship? How can this work be recognized professionally? We will discuss issues of “control” over online spaces, provide resources for building an online presence strategy, and then move to discussing options for digital tools to support your strategy. This conversation will be relevant for all members of the CPED community (students, faculty, and program support staff are welcome to attend!)

Here is the recording:

And here are the slides:

My (virtual) week in Ireland

A few weeks ago I was lucky to spend time with my dear Irish friends and colleagues. On Monday, April 12th I got a notice that my book review of Blended and Online Learning for Global Citizenship: New Technologies and Opportunities for Intercultural Education was published in Irish Educational Studies.

Then, I trotted off to Munster Technological University on Wednesday, April 14th for #GastaGoesGlobal, One Year Later. You can check out the entire recording here:

Finally, I popped over to NUI Galway on Friday, April 16th in the early morning (my time) to meet with the lovely folks in the Teaching Online course with the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). We had a nice informal chat and I shared some of my experiences and resources for teaching online.

I’ll be headed back on Saturday, May 15th for #ICTEDU! Registration is open, so please click through and join us!

In the meantime, I’ll be continuing to perfect my Gaeilge. I took an adult learning course through the Two Rivers Gaelic League this winter and I’m working my way through (and beyond) Dia duit, Is mise Leigh. Cad é mar atá tu?

Slán go fóill!

Reflecting on COE 691 – Teaching Online: Bringing Theory to Practice

This past fall I had the privilege of teaching an online doctoral seminar – on teaching online. I’ve been sitting on a reflective blog post for quite a while, and, just want to get something out in the digital ether before I look at the clock and it’s fall 2021!

Here is the syllabus and schedule from the course. We developed the course and topics as we went week by week – and it was terrifying.  I’ve been accustomed to set content for the past three years in the online teaching I’ve been doing with the EdD program (and when I taught MAET online.) While there is room for spontaneity and flexibility with set content, it is a great comfort to know week to week, module to module where we are headed. (I honestly never thought I would find so much comfort in that mode.) Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t allow me to rest on my laurels, but provides much needed stability and structure. Eliminating that structure, during a pandemic, caused me quite a bit of stress.  With that said, I could not have asked for a better group of scholars to learn from and with.  They all embraced and welcomed the unknown directions and ultimately each found ways to connect to the content and the course. (For example, Mikey Hall created a fantastic assignment and site for his English 101 course (which you can visit here.)

There are lots of other posts that I could (and probably should) write – but – for now, I got something up here to share! Hopefully the schedule (which contains all of the readings) will be helpful for others. If not open source, the links go to ASU Library resources, but, should not be hard to find via other library systems.

I also have to give a special shout out to our amazing ASU education librarian Linda DeFato – she was instrumental in helping us get full online access to the following books via the library that came out as the seminar was being delivered:

Bayne, S. (2020). The Manifesto for Teaching Online. The MIT Press.

Blum, S., & Kohn, A. (2020). Ungrading: Why rating students undermines learning (and what to do instead). West Virginia University Press.

T&L Forum Recap – Presence in an Online Teaching Environment

On January 20th I was delighted to visit (virtually) Munster Technological University (by invitation from the marvelous Tom Farrelly!) as a part of the National Forum T&L Seminar Series. If you’re not familiar with the series, take a moment to look through the upcoming offerings – all online now due to COVID-19, which, allows participation from a global audience.  It was such a joy to have participants from all over the globe (northern and southern hemispheres!) in my session.

You can view the recording of the session here:

And the slides with the links can be found here:

I tried something new with breakout sessions, that, I think went quite well. Often we’re jolted into breakouts in large online sessions/webinars when the time comes to collaborate or interact – with no choice or scaffolding. When I’m in a seminar and this happens, I find myself wanting to shut down and I didn’t want to do that to my participants. Luckily, Zoom now allows participants to select their own breakout rooms. SO, when it came time to discuss – I shared this document with participants which gave them an idea of what would be happening in each room along with some scaffolded directions for the comments and they could choose where they wanted to go (including a quiet room where they did not have expectations to interact with others.) The following rooms generated some fantastic lists and resources – all of which can be used as springboards for further conversations:

Learning from Failure

Instructional Designers 

Tertiary (Students & Faculty) 

I sincerely want to thank the participants for giving so generously of their time, the T&L National Forum for hosting the seminar, and Tom Farrelly for being an amazing collaborator and friend.

ShapingEDU Winter Games Recap – We Care a Lot: Humanizing Teaching through Technology

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of presenting at the 2021 ShapingEDU Winter Games. The ShapingEDU community, spearheaded by Laura Geringer & Samantha Becker is incredible – be sure to check out all of the resources on the site and visit regularly as the site is a living repository!

My session was titled We Care a Lot: Humanizing Teaching through Technology

Session description:

Digital tools that were once at the periphery for some, are now central to our daily lives for all. This breakout session will start by sharing a curated list of possibilities, practices and promises for embedding analog care between the cold digital 0s and 1s in educational spaces. Then, we will move on to collectively engage in interactive brainstorm that models caring practices while simultaneously generating more possibilities and hope.

Here is the recording from the session:

And the session slides w/links:

Sincere thanks to all who attended and also to Sabrina Cervantes Villa who helped out on the back end of the zoom session!

Special Issue: Educational Technology in Higher Education: Emergent Practices for Teaching Future Educators

Picture of Leigh & Linda I’m delighted to announce that the special issue of Special Issue of UTE. Universitas Tarraconensis: Revista de Ciències de l’Educació that I co-edited along with the amazing Linda Castañeda, has been published!  The special issue is titled: Educational Technology in Higher Education: Emergent Practices for Teaching Future Educators.

Our editorial (Tecnología educativa en la educación superior: prácticas emergentes para la enseñanza de futuros educadores – Educational Technology in Higher Education: Emergent Practices for Teaching Future Educators), can be found here (in both Spanish and English.) 

The issue features fantastic pieces from: Victoria I. Marín, Sara Lorena Villagra Sobrino, Iván Manuel Jorrín Abellán, Ainara Zubillaga del Río, Elia María Fernández Díaz, Lorea Fernández Olaskoaga, Prudencia Gutiérrez Esteban, Víctor Abella García, Cornelia Connolly, Sean O Gorman, Tony Hall, Raquel Hijón-Neira, Jodie Donner, Melissa Warr, Sean M Leahy, Punya Mishra, Gemma Tur, and Urith Ramírez-Mera.

Linda and I have been talking about working together for ages and I’m so thankful we finally had the opportunity to do so here! This was challenging work for all given the pandemic, yet, we all persevered and the issue was published on schedule! I would like to sincerely thank all of the authors for contributing, the reviewers for reviewing, and to Linda for sharing this opportunity with me. We have the ball rolling and I look forward to many more collaborations ahead!