Wednesday, August 27, 2008

FETC 2009 Presentation: Lego, Stop-Motion, and Autism

I am very pleased to announce that I have been accepted to present at the Florida Educational Technology Conference in January, 2009. My presentation is "Lego, Stop-Motion Film and Autism: Collaborate, Create, Have Fun!" and will discuss and demonstrate the work that Steven, Tech Club members, and I did last year as we produced Steven's "Mission to Earth 2: Tom Helps Me" film.

Mission to Earth 2: Tom Helps Me

Mission to Earth 2: Behind the Scenes

This should be a very exciting presentation as I hope to instruct other educators working with Autistic students about the successes we had in this project. It is my hope that Steven's and my work will be replicated in other schools.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Day 11: Harrisburg to Sandy Hook, CT

Here we are on the last map of our 11 day journey. Our drive from Harrisburg to Sandy Hook, where our friends Kimberly, Charles and Elijah live, was one of the shortest of the road trip, which was a relief. Zoe's expression sums up our general ennui at this stage of the journey.

We pressed through some beautiful landscape until we reached Middletown, New York and got off the freeway. Meg and I were nearly ready to compromise our standards and eat fast food, but we decided to drive to the historic district and walk around. Again, another East Coast city that had seen better times, but there was some real effort going on to revitalize the city: concerts at the park downtown and some new businesses, including Cheryl's Fried Fish, a wonderful Soul Food joint.

After driving 11 days cross country, I would count Cheryl's Fried Fish as one of the top two meals I ate in my journey. I had bacalao with rice and beans and my wife had chicken tenders and fries. Bacalao is salted cod fish, and I had not had the opportunity to eat bacalao outside of Spain. My dish had the salt cod, potatoes, red and green bell peppers, and onions, plus all sorts of tasty spices and seasonings. Meg's chicken fingers weren't greasy at all, lightly battered, and seasoned to perfection. Road food redemption!

Besides the great food, Cheryl and her son are proud of their food and their restaurant. The community likes the place too: when I was there there were many repeat customers who were coming by for their helpings of delicious soul food. Give it a taste: you'll love it!

Sated, we hit the road again for the final push. Meg and I reflected on the way how much ground we covered and how the dog did not seem to have been permanently affected by the relocation. At last we made it to Connecticut!

We got great gas mileage on the final tank of gas: 38.5453 mpg over 301 miles.

We used 14 tanks of gas. The most gas we ever put in in a single tank was 8.624 gallons. We averaged 37.1924 miles per gallon over the course of the trip. Our worst mileage on a tank was 33.0473 mpg over 285 miles. The best mileage was 41.3415 mpg over 196 miles.

Day 10: Grove City to Harrisburg, PA

Argh: it's finally come to this. The worst possible construction of a Subway tuna sub and veggie sub imaginable. Is it me, or does the mustard "traditionally" go on the inside of the sandwich?

Conversely, in our walk about the depressed part of old downtown I stumbled across a hot dog shop. Curious, I popped in. The place was lined with booths, packed. A hot dog cost $1.65. I had mine with mustard and onions. The grill cook was kind and friendly. I should have had more hot dogs instead of wandering on and compromising for Subway, which I have now officially sworn off.

It did not get better when we got to our hotel in Harrisburg. The first room had not been really cleaned and lacked the smoke detector, which was in the bedside table. We got moved to a better room. Oh, and the wifi didn't work properly, so I didn't get this posted at the end of the day.

After 10 days out on the road, the trip is no longer much fun.

GeekGas says we got got 33.0473 mpg over 285 miles. The second tank of the day we got 38.716 mpg over 316 miles.