Sphere College Project

A New World of Learning


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Each day…

…brings something new to the development of Sphere College.

Let’s talk about today. Today I got up, practiced some trombone and ukulele (because you just always need to be learning things like this to stay on your game, and it gives me a break from thinking about Sphere all the time), added to my TODO list and prioritized the items, went to the coffeehouse and knocked off a few items (left a message for the artist about the logo, did some scheduling of meetings, handled email), met and spoke for a while with the Executive Director of the Phoenix Village Art Center, went to buy the next book for the book club I’m in (Updike’s “Rabbit, Run”), stopped off to get the email address of a new student I signed up (her husband may become a student as well), had lunch, picked up some freecycle chairs, checked into getting a P.O. Box and what numbers are available, got my RSVP in for the Community Charity Ball (I’m being sent by the TimeBank, and will be talking to people there about both the TimeBank and Sphere College), checked this blog and saw Colleen’s comments about curricula I need to learn about, checked the stats for this blog and noticed a spike today, so I looked at which websites were sending people to this blog and saw that my friend Ed Webb posted a link to it on Twitter, so I went to Twitter, created an account, read about what Twitter is, read some docs about getting started, ‘followed’ Ed, posted some updates, other people started ‘following’ me so I ‘followed’ them, posted more updates, started thinking about the social implications of Twitter as I learned more about it, played some more trombone, cooked a stew, went to a Diversity in Action meeting, participated in a discussion about diversity in our community, talked a little about the college when it came up, met someone who is an activist and set up a time to meet with her tomorrow night, signed another student, left the meeting to go to the grocery store to buy plastic containers for the stew, listened to Obama’s speech — particularly enjoyed the parts when he talked about the importance of innovation and education, tried unsuccessfully to buy a diamond nail file for my ukulele nails, came home, made some hot chocolate, checked Twitter again, then decided I needed to blog again.

So here I write.

Pretty much every day is like this. Yesterday I signed two new students and went to a Cultural Celebration with Joe Rodgers where a full page ad came out in the program. And a whole lot of other things.

With all of this going on, it’s a bit daunting to attempt to catch you up on what’s been going on. I feel like it’s all important, too.

It takes a lot of energy — none of this is natural for me — but it’s just so fun seeing it all come together. I do, however, look forward to the time when I have people on the payroll who can handle some of these tasks. I’d love to be able to pay people to do things they like to do and are good at, and that they would be able to do in a fraction of the time it takes me. If I move fast enough, then I’ll be able to do that with some of the stimulus money that’s coming down the pike, which is why I’m so impatient: Time is of the essence.

If you have any suggestions for how I can make things happen more quickly and easily, I’m all ears.

Thanks for listening.

Richard


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Plugging Away

I plan to post something here on a bi-weekly-ish basis. So, here’s the second installment…

An excellent artist, Lindsey Stone, who has also done fabulous artwork for Venatio Creo is working on a logo for Sphere College. We’ve talked through a few preliminary designs and she’s going in an excellent direction. I look forward to the final version so I can create business cards. I can’t really rush her since she’s working for, well, the only rate I can pay right now, and she’s a full-time student. But stay tuned!

Although we get precious little time to meet, Ron O’Neal, Assistant Director of the Educational Opportunity Center at UPenn, continues to be most influential in the development of the vision and direction of Sphere College. He asks great questions and makes very insightful observations.

Much of last week was somewhat of a bust after some stomach virus wiped me out for several days.  I did meet Mark Pinto at the Phoenixville Public Library, who pointed out that this library is a Cooperating Collection of the Foundation Center. This is a very good thing. I’ll definitely be putting this resource to use.

My current students at Ursinus are working on collecting literature/philosophy books from students who no longer want them. I’ll hand them to students of Sphere College for Phase One. I’m quite serious about removing as many financial obstacles for my students as possible, and am very appreciative of the students at Ursinus for doing the book drive, and for donating books.

Barely a day passes that I don’t meet someone who is genuinely interested in and fascinated by this project. For example, I went to see my great friend Lisa Albrecht playing in the Excelsior Trombone Ensemble at Swarthmore. We went to lunch afterwards and I told them all about it. They love the idea, of course. (Hmm… when the time comes I’ll have to see whether I can involve them in a fundraiser for the college!) What convinces me that this project is going to be successful is the overwhelmingly positive reaction I receive each time I describe the vision of the college. Sure, some people are (rightfully) concerned about the business model — particularly in the current economic climate — but for the most part people get really excited about it and recognize that the time is right for this. My job now is simply to keep plugging away, continuing to do the best I can with it until Sphere College becomes a reality. And I’ll be back with an update in two-ish weeks to let you know how it’s going.

Richard

Links to topics mentioned above:

www.venatiocreo.com (a superb game development package for non-programmers — give it a try!)

www.excelsiortromboneensemble.com (fabulous group of trombonists I saw at Swarthmore)