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Digigogy 2010 Year In Review


What is DIGIGOGY? Digigogy is a paradigm shift. It is about designing a new framework for growth in the future of instruction. It is a new Digital Pedagogy, with an emphasis on content and skills, now with a technology frame. The new way of learning is a complete tear down and rebuild of traditional teaching, where learning is a joint effort and roles are reborn. Beyond the desks...beyond the walls...beyond the school. The new classroom is orbital, and scenic, and here.

Contents

December 2010

©Michael Fisher

Mikefisher821@gmail.com Digigogy.com

Year in Review Ditch the Daily Lesson Plan 11 Bright Ideas for 2011 Techie Dramas with Prima Donnas eduACTion The Three Little Students

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Cover image remixed from: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/953432 This page computer image from Flickr user “izzymunchted”

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Digigogy 2010 Reflections…

to be done in order for teachers and administrators to have a deep understanding of the alignment of content, skills, and assessment. This is beyond methodologies and activities—the comfort zone of many teachers—and requires new thinking, new understanding of our students’ worlds, and The world of Digigogy has really exploded bold moves beyond what we’ve traditionthis year. Instructional Technology and ally valued about education. Curriculum have been meeting in ways they never have Education has been before. The parain the hot seat in redigm is shifting, in cent years and as the wake of time goes on, the technology tools, magnification will the Common only increase. The foCore Standards, cus on providing eviand a renewed dence of student focus on really learning and a preparing our deeper focus on prestudents for the paring students to be world they live in! globally competitive This past year has given me opportunities to continue my own professional development through work with many different districts, several state and national conferences, online interactions, and professional relationships with trusted colleagues. Much of my work this year has been working with curriculum, specifically helping districts and teachers transform dated practices into motivating and engaging “New Forms.”

will continue to intensify. All we have to do to prepare is be willing to embrace what’s on the horizon. We need to continue to do what is in the best interest of children, all the while knowing that the world is rapidly changing. It’s going to change whether we want to participate or not, and our relevancy depends on adaptation.

I’m looking forward to adapting, to moving beyond my zone, to orbiting my world of experience and bringing many new Education cannot continue to stay the realms to what I do. I’m looking forward same. Continuous “updating” is crucial to a vibrant and spectacular 2011, and I to student success, especially in the wake wish the same for you! of National Standards. More than 2/3’s of (“New Forms” and “Updating” ideas from the country has adopted the Common Heidi Hayes Jacobs’ Curriculum 21) Core Standards and much work still needs

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A Sampling of Digigogical Content in 2010: iPads in Schools LiveBinder Evidence of Learning 2.0 The Visual Interactive Bloom’s Ditch The Daily Lesson Plan Introduction to RtI Champions of Ubiquity 21st Century Learning Webinar Curriculum Upgrades Video The Digigogical Matrix StoryBird Tutorial Common CoreZilla: Shrink The Change!

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The Drill and The Hole Last year on Twitter, one of the members of my network, @plind, tweeted the following:

At the time, a lot of the staff development I was doing centered around instructional technology and I thought it fit in perfectly with the notion that it's not about the tool, it's about the task. I think about the quote every once in awhile, but lately, it's really been resonating in the work I'm doing. The last few weeks have been filled with instructional coaching opportunities that have largely boiled down to differentiated instruction and choices for students. Specifically, I've been talking a lot about strategies and Web 2.0 Tools, but not necessarily describing the tools so much as divining the purposes of the tools for a particular task.

the drill to use it effectively. This is important. I still need to meet my objective, which is to create a hole, but I can do that without knowing everything there is to know about the drill, beyond plugging it in and making sure I have a steady hand. There are loads of attachments and methods and strategies, I'm sure, but I don't need to know everything in order to drill the hole I need. Likewise, there are so many web tools available for use now that it would be virtually impossible for a teacher to learn them all at a proficient level before using them with their students. They should certainly investigate them, but they shouldn't feel like they have to know every tweak and nuance. Many of the students will figure those out themselves. This allows the teacher to offer several choices for tools to be used, without feeling like they have to master each and every one. All this to say, it's not the tool you use, it's the evidence of learning that occurs. If the tool enables that, great. But it's still about that hole. Also, I'd like to note that metaphorically, "the hole" comparison to learning sounds not so great to me. I don't want to give the impression that I think we should just fill kids' heads up with knowledge, like we'd bulldoze dirt into a sinkhole. I just like the quote, and it made me think.

Additionally, since I'm on the subject of drills as a tool, I think it's important to recognize that the drill goes into my toolbox. I chose it specifically for a task--drilling a hole. I didn't pick up the drill and walk around the house with it wondering what I could apply it to. My toolbox is full of tools that are appropriate for different tasks, and I have all those tools so that I can make the right choice. That toolbox is a great metaphor. The more tools we offer to the students, the more choices they have when it comes time to select the appropriate methodology for showing eviI also don't necessarily need to be proficient with dence of learning. At this point, it's come down to how the purpose for learning is related to the methodology. It's always going to continue to be about the content, and not the resource. The tools are meant to be a value-added feature of instruction, but not intended to replace the content. What I mean by that is yes, I need the drill to make the hole, though the drill isn't the only way to make the hole, but I still need the hole whether the drill is around or not.

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instead create lesson ―events.‖ That which is memorable will stick. That which is traI know this probably won’t be popular, but ditional and ―the same as always‖ will almost certainly be forgotten. Yet, in many if I am going to continue to talk about schools, the traditional is so well en―New Forms‖ in education, this needs to trenched that anyone doing great things is be on the table. suspicious and certainly shouldn’t be trusted with children. Seriously. Why are teachers still doing daily lesson plans? What is the What do you rememconceptual (current, ber about your school 21st century) frameexperiences? work around this traditionally rigid procThe worksheets you ess? What is encapdid? The drill and skill sulated in these cursive writing? No? daily snapshots that No memory of those would not be better things? to see in either a weekly format or What about those perhaps something moments that weren’t a little more openthe same ―day in / ended? (Meaning day out‖ minutiae? that if the learning What about the field takes 3 days, it trips you took? What takes 3 days…if it about that time your takes 6, so be it. teacher dressed up What’s more imporas Jon Bon Jovi and tant, the learning, or sang the Periodic Tathe time in which we ble to you to the tune expect the learning of ―You Give Love A to occur?) Bad Name?‖ (Which you can still remember verbatim, including I’m not saying get rid of all daily moments…assessment, anchors, general in- the atomic weight of Carbon.) structional arc…but the whole six point lesson plan thing seems to be a foot in the I think I’m opening several cans of worms here. For one, what does the hierarchy of door of 1985. Or 1955. lessons look like if we remove the daily Perhaps the terminology is dated. I often lesson plan, and two, is anything singular even worth planning for? say in workshops that teachers should stop the creation of the lesson ―plan‖ and Briefly, let me address both.

Ditch the Daily Lesson Plan...

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A lesson typically fits into an instructional arc or subunit, tied into an overall unit, which is housed in a year of learning. This plan seems to me to perpetuate encapsulated moments that define when learning can take place. It’s kind of like going to the doctor on a Monday morning with a broken arm and the doctor saying that he’s sorry, but broken limbs aren’t dealt with until Friday, or maybe February. at all times. Also, it’s not like integrated But WHAT IF (I like saying ―What If…‖) units are anything innovative…there’s been things weren’t so compartmentalized? tons of research and lots of books written What if the process for deconstructing cur- specifically providing examples of how to riculum, breaking apart standards, and pre- do it. So why isn’t it happening? Kids don’t cisely defining skills and methodologies need a six-week unit on mastering quotawas a little messier, and deleted the daily tion marks; they need to learn to master lesson plan in favor of ―LESSONS‖ plans? the quotation marks piece in the screenWe could still address common threads play they write collaboratively about the and connections through UNITS, but the people of Iceland solving problems around plans themselves look at the whole a catastrophic tectonic event that includes neighborhood, instead of just one house. the gathering and analysis of quantitative (Know what I mean?) data. (See what I did right there?) But then, that opens up the second can of worms. The singular content area lesson. One skill, one piece of content, one content area, one assessment…everything one at a time and separated from everything else. It’s all very neat and linear, but it seems very limiting. I have a hunch that sometime in the very near future, the definition of what a 21st Century educator is will include the total abandonment of singular content lessons. The future is in integration. If you think about the ―real world‖ that we’re preparing kids for, how often is the ―real world‖ day broken up into science moments, math moments, writing moments, etc? We engage all of these things

There’s other cans of worms here…the reformation of assessment practices (Think Denmark! Think Japan!), the realignment of associated skills with differentiated instruction and backwards design models, the deep understanding of curriculum design – specifically prioritization and consensus anchor knowledge, the singular student / singular product mode, etc. I’m thinking out loud here. If you’ve read this far, I hope it’s because you’ve either been inspired or angered. What are your thoughts? How do we innovate the ―lesson plan?‖ How do we tear it down, build it up, upgrade it, dispose of it, or grow it? Or do we just keep the blinders on and hope for the best with what we’ve got?

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Contributions to Flickr group:

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11 Bright Ideas for 2011 Several days ago, I asked my readers to contribute their favorite web tools to use for Instruction, and these websites made the cut! Here are 11 different web tools to use with your students either to engage and motivate, to provide alternative forms of assessment, or just to have fun with learning! Here's to the most DIGIGOGICAL 2011 possible!  Animoto - Animoto.com is a web application that creates MTV-style videos with the click of a button. It represents the end of slideshows as you know them!  Diigo – The web’s premier bookmarking, annotating, and social service, all rolled into one!  Dropbox - Dropbox allows you to sync your files online and across your computers automatically.Access your files anywhere, anytime, even on your mobile device!  Edmodo - Edmodo is a social learning network for teachers, students, schools and districts.  Glogster - Glogster EDU Premium is a collaborative online learning platform for teachers and students to express their creativity, knowledge, ideas and skills in the classroom.  LiveBinders - "Think of Livebinders as a virtual 3 ring binder that you can put pretty much anything in. Webpage, PDF, image, video, text: they all can go into a page organized for you. Each item can be on it’s own tab or you can further organize by using sub-tabs. You can even put LiveBinders inside LiveBinders inside LiveBinders!!" -- Melissa Edwards - The Inspired Classroom  Prezi - Create astonishing presentations live and on the web  Skype – Chat, Audio chat, Video Chat, Call Phones, Send Files, Share your computer Screen, share links and more with this incredible service. Connect to people all over the world!  Storybird - Storybirds are short, art-inspired stories you make to share, read, and print. Read them like books, play them like games, and send them like greeting cards. They’re curiously fun.  WallWisher – An online corkboard! Collaboratively collect notes, pictures, links, etc. Add items the way you would add a Post-It Note to a message board!  xTraNormal – If you can type, you can make movies! (xTraNormal State is free, and new users to the web version get 300 xpoints to make movies with!)

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Techie Drama with Prima Donnas More and more teachers are gearing up to bring technology tools into their classrooms. However, even the most willing teachers often hit a wall of access issues, otherwise known as the Technology Director—the person who is in charge of and controls all aspects of internet access in a school. This is sometimes just one person, but that one person can make life very frustrating for the tech-enthused teacher! Trying to keep this on the light side, I thought I would write a quick 10 step ―TEST‖ to determine if YOU are dealing with a ―Techie Prima Donna.‖ 1. Your Internet access is dependent on sucking up, brownies, and an endless stream of diet Pepsi and/or coffee. 2. Your tech person spends hours pouring through reports to see if a staff member tried to access eBay. 3. There’s a sign hanging in your tech person’s office that reads, ―BLOCKED – By Me!‖ 4. Your tech person believes that YouTube and Wikipedia will ultimately cause Armageddon. 5. Words like ―router,‖ ―network infrastructure,‖ ―server diagnostics,‖ or ―parallel ports‖ are the most common answers to the question, ―Can I do this?‖ 6. Your tech person wears a t-shirt that says, ―I’m the King of the World.‖ 7. You stopped attending technology workshops because everything you learn will be blocked. 8. You fear that your computer could be taken hostage at any moment, with explanations that involve words similar to #5 or in response to you asking ―too many questions.‖ 9. Your tech person knows how to write code in COBOL, but has never heard of a Smartboard, Audience Response System, or an iPad. (And doesn’t see the need for them in the classroom…) 10. While you can’t prove it, there’s a good chance that your tech person can physically plug themselves into the network firewall. Now, laughter aside, let’s look at the real issues:

· Is the Internet too slow and the issues are over bandwidth? Beef it up. We are too far into the 21st Century for this to continue to be a problem. · Is the issue over the chance that students might find something inappropriate? TEACH THEM WHAT TO DO when they encounter such things! (Who else is going to?) · Is the issue of access related to having just one person in charge who believes that everything on the internet is potentially evil? Perhaps their control issues would be better served in an elected position in another state… · Is it really a good idea to have that one person in charge of all technology decisions? Doesn’t a committee make better sense, one that includes multiple stakeholders? · Are instructional decisions being made by those that don’t have an instructional background? Might need to restructure the requirements for the position… I think that there needs to be an understanding that we are an entire decade into the 21st Century. We are not at the point of ―beginning‖ to need technology, we are already well-ensconced. Technology, at this point, needs to be ubiquitous. It needs to be like air or water. We don’t limit access to the air we breathe, but if it’s not just right, we do make others aware. (Air Quality Indexes, Signs on Mountain Tops about breathing…you know what I’m saying…) Same is true for water. We don’t avoid either one just because there might be some unhealthy air or water somewhere in the vastness of the world. We prepare and respond. We have bigger fish to fry: learning how to communicate and collaborate globally; learning how to think critically and creatively; learning how to problem solve; learning how to work with a team. Technology enhances all of those things, and it is a necessary framework through which all of these new 21st Century fluencies will be developed. If you’re a technology prima donna reading this, I encourage you to read it over one more time. The seeds of humor are usually rooted in truth…

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There's been a lot of discussion lately about VIGOR vs. RIGOR. I even tweeted about it recently. Some of the response tweets wanted to know what I meant, so I created the image here. RIGOR, by definition is rigid, severe, and strict. It reminds me of Rigor Mortis...not something I want to associate with learning and professional practice. I know I may be taking it too far outside of its intended context--but I still think VIGOR is a better word.

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eduACTion

teacher’s valued framework, they need to have opportunities to do so in a framework they are familiar with: talking it out!

Do you remember watching ―Little House on the Prairie?‖ Do you remember the scenes in school? How many objective tests do you remember seeing? How did those students prove their learning? They wrote it It was spelled EDUACTION. on their individual blackboards or they said it out Without knowing it, someone sparked a call to arms-- loud. I remember seeing some global, summative assessments, like when Laura was going to be a a wake up call to what needs to be going on in class- teacher. But, most of the assessment was formative rooms around the world. Any of the following could be and verbal. their own blog post--and I encourage you to blog it up and come back here and share your thoughts. What are you doing to take ACTION in your classrooms? In your districts? In your work that relates to the learning of students, whatever your role? I saw a misspelling today of the word Education.

Since the blog post I wrote last week on eduACTions, I’ve been reframing a couple of things in the Professional Development I’ve been doing. Specifically, I’ve honed in on three areas that I think are the ―trifecta‖ of where growth will bloom from as schools consider updating, upgrading, and ―newforming‖ their eduACTions. These areas put the ACT in eduACTions! When was the last time you went to the doctor? What was the conversation and action? The doctor didn’t ASSESSMENT: How are we showing evidence of learning? If everything we do is objective and summa- take a look at you and diagnose what was tive, then how do we know for sure what our students wrong. Most likely, the action started with, ―And how are you feeling today?‖ The answers to that question, know and are able to do? A couple of months ago, I that you articulated orally, start to paint a picture of had the pleasure of seeing a good friend, Jen Borgi- what your ultimate diagnosis and treatment will oli, present on assessment and what we should be be. The next step is in the moment tests—things like temperature, blood pressure, etc. Finally, the doctor considering when we paint a picture of proficiency. The summative is only one piece of the puz- will probably do some standardized testing as well— zle. Formative, in the moment assessment, needs to blood tests, stress tests, etc.—tests that measure your capabilities and functions normed against an avbe happening as well.These formative pieces aren’t erage or target. So in this one meeting, you are exmeant to be mini-objective tests, but multiple pecting your doctor to make a correct diagnosis and ―snapshot‖ opportunities to determine curricular direc- create a course of treatment specific to you and your needs. Sound familiar? The doctor is using verbal astions without waiting for an ―end-point‖ (summative) sessment, formative assessment, and summative asassessment. The other piece of the puzzle is verbal assessment. Students need the opportunity to articu- sessment together to do what needs to be done to determine your specific course of treatment and his late in an oral way what they are learning. If they are specific course of action. unable to provide evidence of learning in the

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CURRICULUM: Take a look at the ―what and the how‖ of what you are teaching. Are you teaching a dinosaur unit because you always have? Are you teaching a dinosaur unit because you as a teacher just enjoy it? Where do those dinosaurs fit into your standards? Are you teaching the dinosaur unit the same way that you did in 1985?

thing I’ve said before—technology can’t be in your teaching just because it’s there. It has to have a pedagogical purpose. It has to be task-specific and thought of as tools in a toolbox.

A hammer is a great tool. When I need to hang a picture in my house, a hammer is the perfect tool to use. When I need to fix the toilet, a hammer is not going to be much The upgrading of curriculum is swiftly becoming an abhelp. I need a different tool. If I have the tools in my toolsolute necessity. If you haven’t updated your practice box, then I can select the right one for the task at and methodology, then what year are you really prepar- hand. Likewise with technology tools. You need a tech ing your students for? If you say that you are preparing toolbox and so do your students. You and the students them for 2020, and to be productive global citizens, then need to be able to select the tools that are appropriate does your program integrate 21st Century skills and tech- for the job they have to do. You don’t want them walking nology in task-specific ways? Does your program involve around the house with a hammer looking for something many opportunities for collaboration, critical thinking, to bang on, figuratively speaking. analysis, and evaluation? Do the students own the learnIt also has to be represented on MULTIPLE LEVELS. A ing in your classroom? Or does the teacher still control teacher using a PowerPoint is certainly using technoleverything? ogy, but who owns the learning if the teacher did all the Does your curriculum consider upcoming changes with work? The kids need to be the creators. We need to Common Core Standards adoption in your state? value the creators over the creations, and enable the students to use the technology to build and construct I hear teachers talk often about starting to address these knowledge. changes as we move into the 21st Century. Well, guess Additional considerations include access and comfort what folks? We’re TEN YEARS IN! A full tenth of the st levels. We have to work inside your accessible frames 21 Century is over and where are we? Many of us are as far as what is not blocked in your district and what still living and teaching and learning with methodologies hardware is available to you and your stuand content that is decades old. That said, we need to dents. Nationwide, equity is a huge issue, but discussing value the basis of what we do, but we also need to start that is great, but is not going to immediately change you and your students’ needs. Plan now to work with what enhancing the framework of our professional practice you have, and be creative. that gets us out of this time machine that we’ve set st up. Our students already live in the 21 Century, except As far as comfort levels…you don’t need to know how to for between 7:30 and 2:30 on school days. We send fix the engine in order to drive the car. All you have to do them back in time to learn in ways that we, as instrucis be willing to add tools to your students’ toolboxes that tors, value and not in the ways that the students value. you may not intimately know. If students are going to ―OWN‖ the learning in your classroom, be willing to let them teach each other and you. Just fill up their toolWe have to eliminate the Time Machine. We need to boxes—and in the process, yours will fill as well! align curriculum in such a way that the WAY we teach and the WHAT we teach are specifically represented in a When you think about ASSESSMENT, CURRICULUM, relatable way that matches the way students are being and TECHNOLOGY…what eduACTions are starting to assessed. form in your brain? What can you do to make a difference this year? How are you going to grow from where you are now? What do you expect of your students that TECHNOLOGY: Well, you’re reading this on a webyou need to model yourself? It’s time to A.C.T. site—so you’re probably already on board with this one. The main thing I want to say about this is some-

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The Three Little Students

only room for one of them.Olivia was confident that she would be chosen, since she’d done so well with her teacher earlier. The people at the college interviewed both Olivia and the other student, gave them several types of tests, and looked at all of the learning they’d done in the past. Confident as she was, Olivia was not prepared, and did not get into college. And so she ran away… The second little student, Ryan, met a teacher with an armful of electronic equipment. Ryan asked, ―Can you teach me something?‖

Once upon a time, a time in the present, there were three little students, Olivia, Ryan, and Casey.

―Of course,‖ said the teacher, passing Ryan an iPod, a netbook, a scientific calculator, and a project packet.

One sunny day, they decided to set out and learn something new. Their mother warned them to be Ryan happily completed the project in mocareful and to watch out for students that might be bet- ments and gave everything back to the teacher, who ter prepared than them. smiled, and said, ―Very good job, Ryan. I hope you had fun with the iPod and the netbook. You were very They told their mother not to worry and set off well behaved. You are a great student and you would on their learning adventure. do well to go to college.‖ The first little student, Olivia, met a teacher with an armful of pencils. Olivia asked, ―Can you teach me something?‖ ―Of course,‖ said the teacher, passing Olivia a pencil and a worksheet. Olivia happily filled in the worksheet and passed it back to the teacher, who smiled, and said, ―Very good job, Olivia. You got 90% of the questions correct. You are a great student. You would do well to go to college.‖ Satisfied, Olivia walked away. Soon, she came upon another student who said she was on her way to college. She asked Olivia if she would like to go with her. Olivia went. At the college, they discovered that there was

Satisfied, Ryan walked away. Soon, he came upon another student who said he was on his way to college.He asked Ryan if he would like to go with him. Ryan went. At the college, they discovered that there was only room for one of them.Ryan was confident that he would be chosen, since he’d done so well with his teacher earlier. The people at the college interviewed both Ryan and the other student, gave them several types of tests and asked them to solve problems with various types of technology. Confident as he was, Ryan was only prepared to access information, not make connections and build something new from it, and he did not get into college. And so he ran away…

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The third little student, Casey, met a teacher who carried nothing. Casey asked, ―Can you teach me something?‖ ―Of course,‖ said the teacher, passing Casey an object he had never seen before. ―What is it?‖ Casey asked. ―That is what you will learn,‖ his teacher said.

collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking and impressed the people at the college. He was rewarded for his skills by being asked to come to the college to continue his learning. Years later, Casey went to visit his mother, and it happened that both his brother Ryan and sister Olivia had had the same idea. Each of the students told their mother of their travels. Olivia and Ryan were surprised to learn that Casey had been admitted to college.

Casey was unsure of what to do next, but decided he should look online for pictures that were Their mother, hearing their stories, said, ―there similar to his object. He asked his teacher if he could was a time when filling a pail was a good idea, but as use a computer, and his teacher helped him find easily as I can pour water into a pail, I can just as one. Casey thought it would be a good idea to talk to easily pour it out.‖ other students in faraway lands to see if they had seen a similar object. His teacher helped him connect. Casey looked in books, made notes, compared his notes with others trying to discover what the mystery object was, and drew conclusions based on the information he collected. The teacher asked Casey what he learned, and Casey was able to tell the teacher much more than just the identity of the mystery object. ―You would do well to go to college,‖ the teacher told Casey. Satisfied, Casey walked away. Soon, he came upon another student who said he was on his way to college.He asked Casey if he would like to go with him. Casey went. At the college, they discovered that there was only room for one of them. Casey knew he had done well with his previous learning, but was wary about what this other student might know. The people at the college interviewed both Casey and the other student, gave them several types of tests, and asked them to describe what they would do if they suddenly discovered a new species of animals. Casey used all of his skills for communication,

―Learning doesn’t happen to you, it happens in you,‖ she continued, ―and real learning sparks a fire that ignites every idea for the rest of your life.‖

Casey held on to his chinny chin-chin and smiled.

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