2,000 Years of Continental Climate Changes

This infographic, found on Cool Infographics, shows how the climate has changed over the past 2,000 years in seven regions of the world (nearly all five continents, but not quite). Each color change represents the 30 year mean, and the increase and decrease of the temperature over time can be viewed. How do you think […]

This infographic, found on Cool Infographics, shows how the climate has changed over the past 2,000 years in seven regions of the world (nearly all five continents, but not quite). Each color change represents the 30 year mean, and the increase and decrease of the temperature over time can be viewed. How do you think the mean was found before modern technology?

First of all, the infographic shows that North America and Antarctica share a similar temperate trend, and the five remaining regions share an opposite trend. On top of this, the arctic regions are experiencing a warm up and the other regions are showing a cool down. What could cause each of these phenomenon?

Share this with your classroom while studying global warming and other long term weather changes. This is a good example of what global warming can lead to. However, it can also be noticed that the major changes in temperature in North America and Antarctica began around 1200, long before the modern chemicals that are blamed for these changes. What are other explanations?

Blog: http://goo.gl/MFlTU

Citation Machine, MLA Footnotes

Contemporary literacy is a subject I’ve not written about in a while.  In fact, I’ve not been asked to talk about it at a conference in a number of months.  Is it a message that’s been received?  I don’t think so.  I continue to read comments on my blog promoting the integration of technology, like tech is the goal, rather than an essential tool for accomplishing the goal of contemporary learning-literacy.  

One element of this literacy is, in nature, ethical.  In a 2007 2¢ Worth blog post, I wrote

..it is now our ethical responsibility, as information consumers, to assure that the information you are using is accurate, reliable, valid, and appropriate to what we are trying the achieve.

And then,

It is equally our responsibility to assure and document that the information we are producing is accurate, reliable, valid, and appropriate. 1 

In another time, we were mere consumers of content.  Today we are full participants in the information economy and this compels us to accept new responsibilities that have, in my opinion, become a part of what it is to be literate today – contemporary literacy.  We are no long held only to the value of the information we consume, but also to the information that we pass on or produce.

This is what came to mind when I was browsing through my copy of MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers: Seventh Edition.  

Hey, you’ve got to find excitement where you can.  

I found a section with descriptions for formatting parenthetical notes (endnotes or footnotes) about cited sources.  It describes two kinds of notes for documenting sources.

  1. Content notes offering the reader comment, explanation, or information that the text cannot accommodate
  2. Bibliographic notes containing either several sources or evaluative comments on sources2

I added the footnotes form element just beneath the “Make Citation” button, so that it would not interrupt the normal flow of CM use.

If a parenthetical footnote is provided, then the footnotes box will appear here between the bibliographic and the in-text citations.

It seems that when we are all overwhelmed by information, much of it from other people like us, it is note merely a courtesy to cite our sources, but it is a practical measure to justify and invite readers to judge our sources’ accuracy, reliability and validity. We should make it easy for our readers to check its appropriateness to the message of our writing.

With these MLA documentation notes (footnotes or endnotes), we can provide that justification where the comment does not really fit into the prose of the document. 

All of this leads up to a new feature on Citation Machine. My plan is to add a textbox to all of the forms, where you have the option of typing in some “comment, explanation or information.”  Citation will formate the comment, along with proper reference to the source, into a footnote/endnote.

Thus far, I have only added the feature to MLA Government Publications.  It seems that when ever I make any type of change to CM, a few people get disoriented, not to mention madder than a mule chewing on bumble bees. 😉  I understand this.  What sets Citation Machine apart from most of the other citation generating sites is its simplicity and speed.  Change does not simplify.

So I thought I’d take this slow.  Look at the Government Publication form and try it out.  The note text shows up in a box just like the bibliographic and in-text citations.  Feel free to comment on this blog post and concerns or recommendations.

1 Warlick, David. “Ethics Challenges & Information.” 2¢ Worth. The Landmark Project, 26 Jan 2007. Web. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. <http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/?p=858>.

2MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers: Seventh Edition. 7th. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2009. 230. Print.

Educon Reflection: Gary Stager, a Very Funny Man

“Children have a remarkable capacity for intensity.” Stager said, quoting Leon Botstein, in his 2011 TEDx talk – and the phrase aptly describes Gary's notions about teaching and learning today. He asked, “How do we maximize intensity — and minimize chaos?”

I tweeted a few minutes into his session that Gary Stager is a very funny man. I forget about his amazing sense of humor and I wish that I could share it here. But his sense of timing, which is a huge part of his delivery, simply couldn't be conveyed in text.

Of course, the best part of Gary's presentation was the “Ah ha!” moments, one after another.

I'll list a few of them here.

  • Stagger showed a picture of children in a robot petting zoo, a slightly disturbing image, on several levels. Shouldn't they be petting small farm animals. Well, sure. But from a contemporary learning stand point, a robot petting zoo gives children an opportunity to interact with emerging technologies in a playful way. ..and play, I suspect, is a huge part of learning to apply emerging tech.
  • He made a statement early in the session that, to me, is so obvious that it need not be made. Yet, it does need to be made. He said that,

“School should work with the tech of the day.”

Why is it that we think it's alright for schools to use down-scaled and out-dated computers that would have been replaced years ago in most businesses, especially when most business uses of technology require less processing power than many classroom applications. If we are preparing them for their future (and ours) and helping them to become “lifelong learners,” then shouldn't they be using the most up-to-date learning tools?

Why do we think that education should be cheap?

  • This one reminded me of some of my own thinking, ideas that I've not been able to put into words. Stager said,

“The power of programming is working with a device whose capabilities you do not know.”

What I remember my first experience with a personal computer (a TRS-80 Model I – from Radio Shack), I thought, “This is a machine that we operate by communicating with it.” This was brand new, and as a history teacher, this is what convinced me to learn as much about computers as I could. This technology, which you operate by learning its language, was going to change everything.

In a sense, a personal computer is like a friend, in that the best way to learn about it is to communicate with it.

  • This was the real shakabuku! Gary said that,

“We use to teach teachers how to program. Now, we teach them how to use a white board.”

He continued that this is an indication of “diminishing expectations.” Wow! In workshops, I use to teach BASIC programming and HTML. Shouldn't teachers be learning about computers by communicating with them? I've long thought that the reason I am able to intuitively figure out new software is that I've written software. I've had the same internal conversations that other software developers have had.

  • In his much expected attack on “standards” and standardized testing, Stager reminded us that the only place in the world where we consistently see standardization is in our cars. it's the cigarette lighter.

Is this true?

  • Finally, and this is one I've attributed to Gary during a number of my own recent talks and conversations. He tells the story of a science teacher, who, in the teachers lounge, complained that she tried a science experiment in her classroom, and “It didn't work.” This story says so much about what is wrong with our approach to education today. The experiment didn't work for the teacher, because it didn't teach what she wanted taught. Science is about answering inquery. It's about exploration and discovery, and it happens as a result of experimentation. All experiments work. They just tell us different things. What an amazing learning opportunity that surprise avails any teacher – wasted in this case, because she thought her classroom was about teaching, not about learning.

Thanks Gary!

 

NCTIES Program Analysis

Click the word cloud to enlarge
NCTIES is my state’s International Society for Technology in Education affiliate (ISTE).  It stands for North Carolina Technology In Education Society.  They will be holding their annual conference this week at the relatively new Raleigh Convention Center.  In the last few years the state capital’s downtown has become a descent place to hold a conference.  More restaurants, museums, night life and many more people living downtown, making the streets safer.

I finally went through the conference program yesterday and was struck by several trends that seemed apparent during that scan.  So I thought I’d spend a few minutes this morning doing a casual frequency analysis.

Number of term mentions in the conference program
Term 2012 2013 Trend SD
Game, gamilfy, etc. 14 73 3.5
iPad or iPads 34 68 2.1
apps 25 49 1.5
Common Core 15 42 1.6
resources 72 42 -1.8
Web 2 67 34 -2.0
play 6 34 1.7
Professional Development or PD 65 34 -1.9
free 37 33 -.2
engage 33 33 .0
Google 61 32 -1.8
1:1 77 30 -2.9
Apple 8 22 .9
Collaboration or Collaborate 24 22 -.1
Twitter 10 15 .3
iOS 14 14 0
tablet 5 13 .5
blog 28 11 -1.0
Minecrqaft 0 8 .5
Android 2 1 -.1
laptop 11 1 -.6

In a casual counting, I found 205 concurrent presentations being made during the conference including the student showcases and not including the two keynotes. Of those 205, 51 of them (24.5%) are being delivered, at least in part, by vendors. 35 are being delivered by presenters representing elementary schools, 20 by presenters from middle or intermediate schools, 15 from high schools and 14 from universities. I am especially happy to see so many presenters from five of our state supported universities, two private universities and one community college.

The happening place in North Carolina seems to be Rowan-Salisbury Schools with 14 sessions being facilitated by 33 district educators.  Also notable is Union County Schools with 7 sessions and 18 educators.

I’m doing one session.  But hopefully, I’ll be setting a productive tone for the conference.

I’m looking forward to seeing old friends at NCTIES

Added March 5

I finally found a list of last years presentation descriptions, and searched for the frequency of the terms in this table (above and left). I inserted a column for the 2012 conference and then added a column with arrows to indicate the trending up and down. To quantify the change, I added a final column with the number of standard deviations of the total change. This sounds like I know more about statistics than I really do.

In Defense of Liberal Arts – Sort’a

This is something that has troubled my wife for a couple of weeks. It's an issue I have only, in the last couple of days, started to pay attention to — my state's recently elected conservative Governor. For me it's like this… We elect this guy and I think, “He's a Republican, sure! A conservative, but so am I in many ways. He's an adult, mature, and responsible. He isn't going to do any real harm.” My goodness, I should have learned my lesson by now.

In a January 29 interview with conservative talk show host, Bill Bennett, North Carolina Governor Pat McCroy began his attack on North Carolina's much admired university system. Announcing his advocacy of vocational education, he said,

“I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs.”

Now personally, I feel that it is a little bit unfair to make judgements about a politician based on a short radio interview and it's important to acknowledge that one of the functions of conservative (and liberal) media is to say things that generate the most emotional energy. But McCroy's comments have been echoed pretty extensively through the local and national news – and the education discussion is a critical one for our state and nation — and future

You can read about the interview here, here and here, and also listen to it here.

Claiming that NC has the 5th highest unemployment rate in the country and that businesses here can't find qualified employees, he continued,

“I want to adjust my education curriculum to what business and commerce needs to get our kids jobs as opposed to moving back in with their parents after they graduate.”

With an adult son living under my roof and an underemployed daughter, who continues to rely on us for part of her monthly payments, I identify with this statement. But, at fault, is not the courses in literature, history and music they've taken. Fault is with a business sector of highly skilled financial experts, who manipulated the nation's economy, with little regard for the human and cultural impact of their greedy actions.

Apparently “Gender Studies” at UNC is a common target of conservatives – a Google search for [University of North Carolina, “gender studies” and conservative] yielded approximately 2.8 million hits),

Continuing the attack, Bill Bennett mentioned “gender studies” as an example, prompting our governor to remark, that if you want to take those classes, then “go to a private school and take it, but I don’t want to subsidize that if it’s not going to get someone a job.”

McCrory declared that,

“I'm looking for engineers, I'm looking for technicians, I'm looking for mechanics.”

Continuing,

“Its the tech jobs that we need right now. Even in my tech schools, my community colleges, which are fantastic in North Carolina, most people don't realize that 2/3 of my students are women, and most of them are going into health care or taking Jr. College programs, when in fact I have a lot of unemployed men who typically go into technology, or mechanics or welding or something. If they do, they can get six-figure pay right now, but instead they're in unemployment.”

OK, he's describing a real problem here, that I see among my own personal friends, that young men are not going to or finishing college. So abolishing history and art will solve the problem? A job search on the North Carolina Department of Commerce's JobConnector site listed only 42 welding jobs available throughout all regions of the state ranging in pay from $9.50 to $18.00 an hour. Again, the function of these shows is to generate emotional energy.

Pat McCrory is a graduate of Catawba College, a North Carolina private liberal arts school. He said that he believes in liberal arts. He continued,

“There are two reasons for education. One is to, as Dad use to say, exercise the brain. But the second is to get a skill.”

That's it?

This brings me to what seems to be a paradox in McCrory's thinking. When asked by Bennett, how he got 40% of North Carolina's Hispanic vote, he replied,

“I did not appease any one group and change my speech, I gave the same consistent message on building the economy and building jobs, and believe me, that's as important for the Latino or Hispanic community as every other community.” 1

At first he was describing an economy that is starving for qualified workers, and now an economy that needs to be stimulated to generate more jobs. I believe that these two problems co-exist, and that our governor is probably genuinely concerned about them both. But I would suggest that North Carolina's economy will not be stimulated by skilled workers alone, no matter how buff their brains are. New jobs come from innovation and not just in the business sector. It comes from people who are creative, outside-the-box thinkers, and who can see beyond “TIG welding an aluminum joint.”

So how do you accomplish this. How do you bring Silicon Valley-style inventive thinking to the mountains, valleys and coastal plains of North Carolina?

In 2008, technologist, turned academic, Vivek Wadhwa, co-authored a study called Education and Tech Entrepreneurship. They interviewed representatives of 1,800 successful (sales in excess of $1 million) tech startups with U.S. born founders. They learned that 92% of the founders held bachelor's degrees, 31% with masters degrees and 10% PhDs. Yet, less than half of those degrees were in STEM subjects. In fact, more held degrees in arts, humanities, and social sciences than mathematics – though both constituted only a small percentage of the whole. 2

In a more recent New York Times op ed piece, Wadhwa wrote,

“Gaining a degree made a big difference in the sales and employment of the company that a founder started. But the field that the degree was in or the school that it was obtained from was not a significant factor.”

He went on to write that,

“The most common traits I have observed are a passion to change the world and the confidence to defy the odds and succeed.”

Where in a purely technical course of study are you inspired to “defy the odds.” 3

I think that Steve Jobs said it best,

“It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough. It's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities that yields us the results that makes our heart sing.” 4

McCrory's is a simplistic, unimaginative and potentially harmful approach and I hope that he and those who are excited by such approaches can be inspired to defy them.

Protect Liberal Arts Classes at UNC

 

1 McCrory, P. (2013). Bill bennett's morning in america[Web]. Retrieved from http://goo.gl/nlQXY

2 Wadhwa, V., Freeman, R., & Rissing, B. (2008). Education and tech entrepreneurship. Kansas City: Kauffman: The Foundation of Entrepreneurship.

3 Wadwa, V. (2011, August 3). The leaders of silicon valley.The New York Times. Retrieved from http://goo.gl/LMRrj

4 Jobs, S. (Performer) (2011). Steve jobs apple's dna = technology liberal arts [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZeOhnTuq2I

 

What Makes a Travel Writer

In a world of entrepreneurs and bloggers, travel writing may be something for your students to think about as a future career. First of all, stress to your students the importance of being able to write maturely. While abbreviations are ok between friends, in order to gain respect anywhere, one must learn proper spelling and […]

In a world of entrepreneurs and bloggers, travel writing may be something for your students to think about as a future career. First of all, stress to your students the importance of being able to write maturely. While abbreviations are ok between friends, in order to gain respect anywhere, one must learn proper spelling and grammar. Aside from that, an urge to learn about cultures other than your own and an ability to adapt, because they don’t serve Kraft Mac and Cheese in India.

This infographic, produced by HotelClub, goes on to show what blogging platforms, social media sites, and other technology, such as phones and cameras, are most common among travel writers. It can be an expensive, and lonely, occupation, so one must also have money saved up, the proper equipment, and an ability to make friends anywhere.

Take your students on a trip to another country, via the internet. Have them research a part of the country, as though they are staying there, creating a budget and a plan. Have them write about their trip to a foreign country, and even try to connect with another group of students, or someone who lives over there to be fully immersed in the culture. Also, if food allergies are not a problem, have students bring in food and then present where they went to the class.

Source: http://www.hotelclub.com/blog/?p=25169

Infographic: http://goo.gl/BCkTV

Comparing Natural Disasters: Sandy vs. Katrina

Comparing these two storms is like comparing apples and oranges (and there is an infographic that attempts this). The two storms hit landfall in two very different areas, areas with different natural surroundings, different city developments, and different populations. Hurricanes were expected in the Gulf, and so the areas had some sort of a set […]

Comparing these two storms is like comparing apples and oranges (and there is an infographic that attempts this). The two storms hit landfall in two very different areas, areas with different natural surroundings, different city developments, and different populations. Hurricanes were expected in the Gulf, and so the areas had some sort of a set up against major storms. The gulf is also populated horizontally, and is on flat land. Meanwhile, the Northeast does not expect major Hurricanes like Sandy, especially not when combined with two other storms. They are much more densely populated per square foot, but fortunately, they are populated vertically. Unfortunately, they are a very technology centered environment, and so they were lost without power.

This infographic compares the storms in other ways. It compares the two as far as power, and its affects. Most of them turned out in favor of Katrina, proving Katrina to be the worst storm. But one has to think about the areas that the two hit. The two storms were nearly equally strong, but if Sandy had hit a primarily horizontal population, things may have been different. Also, the temperature may have been a factor. Snow doesn’t cause as many casualties as flooding, and the flooding that did occur can’t reach the tops of buildings the buildings in NYC.

Challenge your students to compare other storms and natural disasters, and discuss the differences between the natural disasters that lead to one being presumed worse than the other.

Blog: http://goo.gl/9rgFd

It’s The Information (Revisited)

Plugged in with iPod, head set to communicate with game guild members, game controller, game keyboard to text players without broadband, and a laptop for IMing.

Several years ago, I wrote a blog article describing a picture that I'd taken of my son, in the TV room, wrapped up in his “technology.” I'm including the picture here, since he is no longer a minor and I can no longer so easily peak in on his techventures.

In the article I suggested that it wasn't technology that defined his experience nearly as much as it was the information that he was playing with. It continues to be a central theme of my work, that it's a new information experience we should be facilitating for our learners, not simply applying technology to old teaching pedagogues.

A few days ago, an old friend from my state agency days, John Spagnolo, gave me reason to revisit that article, when he commented with some questions that got me to thinking.

Among them was:

How have “smartphones” and cellular connectedness changed the nature of information over the past 8 or so years since this was written?

I think that one significant change that has occurred over the past seven or eight years, is that I, and many other seasoned adults have, for various reasons, begun to utilized this networked, digital and abundant information environment. I often say to friends, as I slip my phone back into my pocket, that we live in a time of no unanswered questions. The answer is almost certainly waiting in our pockets or on our laps. My cellular iPad has become a welcome and valued companion as my wife and I drive across North Carolina to visit with family and old friends. It helps us to continue conversations about the news, movies, the best route around Charlotte and settle minor arguments.

For my son and daughter, I suspect that their use of these connective tools has not changed significantly over the past several years. They cultivate networks of friends and acquaintances, which have probably grown with my daughter, whose interested have expanded, and grown smaller with my son, whose interests have narrowed and become more focused. They use Twitter more and Facebook less, and are probably more likely to be interacting with friends via a specific application, such as a game or Pinterest category.

I also wonder if, in many instances, we might be finding more creative ways of using this new info-landscape than our children.

Spagnolo also asked,

How does your son connect to and interact with his information today?

I suspect that both of my children interact with information more through games and through specific applications. I was so terribly disturbed a few years ago when smart people started suggesting that the Web was dead, that apps were changing the way that we used the Internet. But apps have certainly changed the way that my children use information and I find myself preferring to use Amazon and Craigslist apps instead of their respective web sites.

Apps have become an intriguing new avenue of economy, that I've suggested to me son, where people are making a living by designing highly specialized and compelling tools for using and playing with information.

Finally, he asked,

Has the nature of information influenced the emerging “appropriate technologies” like the digital learning object called an iBook?

My knee-jerk response is, “Not nearly enough.” This current push toward digital textbooks, urged on by our Secretary of Education, concerns me. I worry that we're engaged in a race to modernize schooling, rather than a sober and thoughtful imagining and designing of learning materials and practices that are more relevant to today's learners (ourselves include), today's information landscape and a future that has lost the comforts of certainty, but become rich with wondrous opportunities.

What I enjoyed, though, about my experience in publishing an iBook was learning to hack some features into the book that were not part of Apples general instructions for using their publishing tool. This is the ultimate opportunity of digital learning objects and environments, that they can be hacked into new and better learning experiences by information artisans who see what's there and what it can become.

 

Are We Declaring the Wrong War

Last Wednesday, The New York Times posted an op-Ed piece by Justin Hollander. The Tufts University professor drew attention to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's declaration of “war on paper textbooks,” and his call to replace them with a “..variety of digital-learning technologies, like e-readers and multimedia Web sites.”

Hollander continues,

Such technologies certainly have their place. But Secretary Duncan is threatening to light a bonfire to a tried-and-true technology — good old paper — that has been the foundation for one of the great educational systems on the planet.1

This common reaction to our move to digital and networked education is yet another exasperating example of our apparent need to define education by where it happens and the objects we handle to accomplish it. The assumption persists that education is to be administered through the proper and efficient application of technologies, regardless of their century of origin –– and that the publishing industry is best qualified to prepare and distribute the services of those technologies.

What's at stake is not what children carry into their classrooms, but it's the experiences that they take part in and what they carry away from those experiences.

My hope is that Secretary Duncan's war is not with paper, but with a one-way street style of education that revers the source and delivery of knowledge at the expense of our students' essential partnership and investment as they learn and master the practices of lifelong learning.

 

1 Hollander, J. (2012, October 10). Long Live Paper. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/10/opinion/long-live-paper.html?_r=0

 

 

You Know You’re in Maine When…

Portland Head Lighthouse (HDR)

Haddock Stuffed with Lobster, mashed potatoes and roasted carrots (chocolate cake not shown)

Wordle of Twitter Backchannel Feed

Stitched Panorama of General Session

On Wednesday evening, I enjoyed a great dinner and warm fellowship with ACTEM’s MAINEducation conference committee (ACTEM is Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine).  They were celebrating their 25th conference and the 10th anniversary of the state’s celebrated 1:1 initiative.  We met at Slates in Hallowell, as I had not yet gotten to my hotel –– having meandered up from Portland, looking for lighthouses to photograph.

Leaving the restaurant, after a satisfying meal (code for filling), I dashed across the street to my rented Kia, remounted my Garmin GPS, typed in the address of the hotel and started driving.  It was dark, wet, and black, the blackness that comes with wet streets that swallow light rather than illuminate what’s in front of you.  So it was one of those slow drives that had me focused primarily on Lady GPS saying,

“TURN RIGHT – HERE!”

or

“TURN LEFT – HERE!”

I’d gone through about twelve of these, only three of which resulting from missed turns and the machine’s ,

“RECALCULATING!”

.. and It had gotten blacker.  I’d felt that I had entered a residential area which might have concerned me anyplace else.  But I’d glanced at a satellite view of the area, and knew that it was surrounded by homes.  What was alarming, and what you REALLY don’t want to hear at a time like this, was,

“TURN LEFT – HERE and NAVIGATE OFF-ROAD!”

I said, out loud, “No!” did a U-turn and found my way to the hotel with my iPhone, my face lit up from the glow of that 3.5 inch display.

My point in telling this story here, and to the 800 Maine educators gathered in Augusta yesterday, is to say that this northern state did not say, “No!”  They’ve been courageously and inventively navigating off-road for ten years, and in no small way paving new avenues to learning –– and too few of us are following.

The last time I keynoted the ACTEM conference, I composed a list of conditions that indicate that you’re in Maine. I don’t think I can improve on that list, which I’ve included below. But I would add one item.

You know you’re in Maine, when you believe that you have a firm and compelling vision of where education needs to be going, only to find yourself struggling to re-frame that vision, simply to catch up with the conversations around you.  A Wordle of the Twitter backchannel feed illustrates this beautifully, where students and learning stand out, and you have to struggle to find mention of technology.

Here’s my list from 2006, most of which is still true.

You know you’re in Maine when…

  1. The first thing attendees to your workshop ask is, “Do we have WiFi?”
  2. Teachers are checking their students work, during the workshop, on their comput’a.
  3. When you insist on tech support for your hands-on workshop and none was needed.
  4. When, in a workshop, everytime you ask, “How many of you have done this before…?” and nearly every hand goes up.
  5. When two members of your workshop organize their own workshops in the back of the room.
  6. They don’t give out a conference bag at conference registration, because everyone’s going to be carrying a computer bag anyway.
  7. The former governor of the state is attending an education conference.
  8. Nearly everything that people say, in an easy-going, slow, mumbly sort of way, carries wisdom!
  9. When you had to fly in a little soapbox derby sort of plane to step into the future.
  10. When you start to feel optimistic, and think, “You know, we may just be able to turn this thing around.” 

..then you know your in Maine!

I’d add that if you fly into Portland’s magnificent new airport, you can avoid the soapbox derby plane.