a little bit about new zealand
what & why
just in case anyone is curious how I got this boondoggle... (more)
Project ideas written in November 1999... (more)
.az = Arizona
It's my home state, but I'll relocate to a different part for July-August... (more)
.nz = New Zealand
Off to the home of "kiwis" for September - October ...
.au = Australia
"G'day, mate!" will be my vocabulary after spending November-December down under... (more)
So what actually came out of this? ... (more)
I have long harbored a desire to see New Zealand. Maybe it is the environmental consciousness of the country (lots of preservation, no nukes, it must be one of the greenest societies around). Some desire comes from knowing of its natural features (and diversity thereof) from my studies as a Geology student. I have fond memories of a graduate school friend who hailed from Wellington; at his wedding in Tucson his whole family came and were some of the warmest, fun loving people I ever met.
What about it? I found this opening to a Douglas Adams co-authored story about the rare kakapo:If you took the whole of Norway, scrunched it up a bit, shook out all the moose and reindeer, hurled it ten thousand miles round the world and filled it with birds then you'd be wasting your time, because it looks very much as if someone has already done it.For my sabbatical project goals, I also knew that the country's physical location and geographical make-up (dispersed populations with significant distance between centers) were drivers for effective use of technology. The system of polytechnical colleges has many similarities to our community colleges.
Fiordland, a vast tract of mountainous terrain that occupies the south-west corner of New Zealand, is one of the most astounding pieces of land anywhere on God's earth, and one's first impulse, standing on a cliff top surveying it all, is simply to burst into spontaneous applause.
It is magnificent. It is awe-inspiring. The land is folded and twisted and broken on such a scale that it makes your brain quiver and sing in your skull just trying to comprehend what it is looking at.
Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine, "Heartbeats in the Night" in Last Chance to See
Maps of Arizona and New Zealand
superimposed to compare relative sizes. The population of Arizona (4.4 million) is close to that of all of New Zealand.
My primary visit will be at UNITEC in Auckland, one of the larger institutions that is something of a hybrid polytechnical/university institution. A few years ago, I established email contact with Richard Elliott, director of the UNITEC Learning Technologies Department, a unit that has a mission with technology very similar to my own position at Maricopa. UNITEC is also a major user of Blackboard, the web course management system, we have been involved through our Ocotillo efforts.
The other plans for New Zealand are to visit a number of commercial developers that I know through my work as a Macromedia Director developer. I am hopeful that some of the production strategies in commercial development and decisions for current technologies in use would be useful for our educational side of the coin.
While I am here I am trying to learn how to talk like a kiwi ;-)
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