Prior to beginning my computer career in 1977, my previous career was in experiential education, leading students and teachers on wilderness expeditions. Having been involved in both education and computer technology, I was also intrigued by the early projects that explored Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI).
In 1980 I worked as a proctor in a computer lab for Ticcit, one of the first commercially available CAI systems, and in 1981 I began working with Charles Tidball, one of the pioneers in CAI, at George Washington University, where I created curriculum, supervised an educational technology computer lab for training teachers in the use of computers in education, and wrote the code for a computer emulator for the Logo programming language for children (on a very early microcomputer from Southwest Technical Products running the Uniflex OS).
I am the co-chair of the advisory council for the Computer Learning Center Partnership (CLCP) in Fairfax County, Virginia, which provides high-tech resources for children and their families who otherwise would not have access to current technology.
For the past 10 years, I have played a supporting role and vicariously participated in my wife Anne's career as an elementary school technology teacher and educational technology website author for TekMom.com, which she created in 1998 (Tekmom was a pioneering effort in its day and won a number of awards at the time, but today it is a bit behind the times.) However, Tekmom still has some high Google rankings, particularly for the Buzzwords section.
In June of 2002, Anne and I were invited to participate in Marcia Conner's colloquium at the Batten Institute in the Darden Graduate Business School of the University of Virginia, entitled Creating a Learning Culture: Strategy, Technology, and Practice. The Institute sponsored this conversation to allow leading technology visionaries and senior executives to discuss technologies and techniques that focus on improving the way people work and learn in turbulent times.
My earliest outdoor adventures were in the early '60s at Koos Kamp in Koosharem, Utah, where I was introduced to desert survival by Mack Smith (circa 1968). Koos Kamp is now a private school named Sorenson Ranch School.
Mack received much of his training and experience in desert survival while attending Brigham Young University, where the pioneering desert survival course Youth Leadership 480 was created and taught by Larry Dean Olson and a host of other rather amazing and wonderful people. Following high school graduation in 1971, I spent a semester at BYU and a couple of summers scurrying around the Escalante desert of southern Utah with Larry and his crew.
After the BYU experience, I ventured a few hundred miles east to the mountains of Wyoming and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS.) There I received certification in summer and winter mountaineering as well as the NOLS "instructors' course" and worked as an instructor on several NOLS courses in the Wind Rivers, Teton, and Absorka mountain ranges.
I then spent a year working on an outdoor oriented program for the state of Missouri's Division of Youth Services which combined urban survival skill training with outdoor education/adventure on a pre-release program for incarcerated youth.
Upon arriving in Washington, DC, in 1977, I decided to experiment with bringing the wilderness adventure experience into an urban environment and hooked up with the American Youth Hostels (AYH) and began leading bicycle trips for young people in which we explored both rural and urban environments.