--- A Flower School ---

Meanwhile at Marigold,Merv Campbell helped raise Marigold's Outdoor Education program to new heights and I soon found myself canoeing the San Juan River. He was what Brian Wile had been to me in James Bay without the constant threat. Together we passed a rigorous school Self- Assessment and received the External Review Teams Commendation, in spite of the ironic comments about the microcomputer program. The district's response to this was predictable. They moved Merv to another school where his administrative duties amounted to the school patrol and inflating and counting basketballs for the next two years. I was at least able to hire a new vice-principal, who was supportive of both the staff and myself. Colin Green was a friend and a hard worker and a perfect conduit for staff moaning and gossip to reach my ears.

Later, when Colin was moved, I split the vice-principal's role in two as I had in James Bay. One role was to focus on school and community and the other was to focus on things curricular. Steve Hambleton and David Bird filled these roles. In recruiting my triumvirate, I ran straight into a malicious Assistant Superintendent, who bore such a hatred for Steve that he tried everything to prevent me from selecting him. Here, was a religious apparently virtuous man relentlessly acting unethically behind Steve's back in an effort to ruin his career. Still, It was my decision. I took Steve and made a dangerous enemy of the virtuous Assistant Superintendent.

Shortly thereafter, came a career-changing event. The District's Technology Officer came to me and asked it I would do him a favour. Would I represent the District at a weekend "HyperCard" camp in Parksville. He would provide me with HyperCard, a program I had never seen or addressed. I agreed and Friday, Diane and I headed for Parksville where her parents lived. At Schooner Cove, I joined a large group of teachers that were busy currying favour with Apple Inc. Apple Canada and its "reps" were sponsoring the weekend. Everybody knew everybody. Once again, I was odd man out. However, I set up my Mac and went to work. Steve Hambleton's Grade seven class had an intern, David Moorthy and they had been working to develop a yearbook for the class. Doug WIlson, our technology guru and I had been assisting. I had brought the guts of this effort with me as it occurred to me that HyperCard was a perfect vehicle for the yearbook. I had the text and bitmap images on disks. So, over the weekend, I assembled an interactive yearbook in HyperCard. A simple idea, but it brought me into the forefront of Apple's efforts in education. Through Apple rep Barry Underwood, Marigold was invited to join "The HyperSchool Consortium" and I was invited to Cupertino to demonstrate Marigold's "stacks" as HyperCard programs were called. The hit was the yearbook entitled "The Class of '89" and It brought me my first Marshall McLuhan Award. Marigold School was becoming recognized as a leader in educational technology. The school's efforts were led by Doug Wilson, Steve Hambleton, David Bird and myself.

The school was quickly made part of Royal BC Museum's efforts in Robert Ballard's, Jason Project. A large satellite dish appeared on the school's roof. Children in the school worked with Bob Ballard and Ross Perot of EDS while having access to technology from Turner Broadcasting. We constructed many HyperCard stacks to be used in the Museum. One traced the finding of the Titanic right down to the deployment of the small unmanned robotic, Jason Junior.

This year-long effort brought me my second McLuhan and Doug Wilson, Steve Hambleton and David Bird their first. Then, I received a visit from my Assistant Superintendent and a professor from UVic who had served on my Master's Committee, Walter Muir. He was interested in having an Apple Centre For Innovation established in Victoria. He had decided to have me work with them to produce a proposal to submit to the Apple Canada Education Foundation. After some discussion, I wrote the proposal and Marigold was accepted. The District entered into an agreement with Apple which provided for the expansion of the schools library to include a computer centre. Staff and children soon had access to networked computers with satellites in several classrooms. The grand opening of the Apple Centre For Innovation took place that Fall. Milt Petruk from the Apple Foundation attended the opening.

Still, there was a faint odour in the air surrounding educational technology. It reminded me of my days at James Bay. Opportunity had knocked and I found myself in a world where many there were simply striving for position and promotion. To them the enterprise was simply a means to an end: same old! same old! The flock was scrabbling again quarrelling over everything. Jealousy, envy and avarice flourished.

I had been toying with an idea about teaching and learning for some time. The light came on: another personal epiphany. Technology could connect. It could provide ideally for the chaotic development of knowledge. What if we organized school as Guilds of Learners. Teachers would be the Master Craftsmen, and the students the Apprentices. Technolgy would allow for the maintenance and development of dynamic, shifting, pulsating, "Learning Webs" overlapping and seething like the universe itself. I began by selecting 12 Grade seven students who were marking time in the classroom. They were set free to design their own learning for a 6 month period. Each had use of a networked computer in the Apple Centre. Musicians taught them music, Some learned to cook in commercial kitchens. One girl started to write a novel with an author as her guide. HyperCard was the primary software. In stand alone form It resembled the websites of today. Fortuitously, Milt Petruk phoned and asked if we would be interested in joining the emerging Apple Global Education Network an enterprise headed by Apple's Dr. Martin Engel. I jumped at the chance.

Martin came to visit. I was apprehensive. I had seen one too many suits who were full of themselves. The corporation was as polluted with assholes as public education was. When Engel arrived, I was bowled over. He was a crazy son of a bitch, a delight. I have never bonded with anyone so quickly. He came to the house for dinner and we went on and on. His idea was simple but elegant. He would simply give recruited schools worldwide access to Apple's proprietary communication software, AppleLink. This was before the worldwide web. Within a week Marigold was CDA0427 and kids in the Guild had made contact with the world. We were part of AGE$. I worked to establish a core group of schools that would actually work regularly with Marigold students. In Canada we had schools in Alberta and Ontario. In the USA we had Open School in LA, Catlin Gabel in Oregon, and Worchester Primary in Maryland. In the UK Imagination Technolgy came on board.Then four Danish schools joined. International Schools in Luxembourg and Vienna signed on and so on. Quickly, the core group sorted itself out. This was time-consuming hard work. Those teachers who were inspired stuck together. The others simply faded away or used this new technology to do old trivial work like "pen pals"

Then we hooked up with Rovaer. Martin Engel had been to this tiny island off the coast of Norway and planted the seed. Here, I found a kindred spirit in Anders Faervaag. His wife Marit was principal of Rovaer Skole. Anders was a brilliant graphic designer and technologist . Our kids were online with the tiny school where several of the children and their parents were multilingual We were quickly in a multicultural world. So much was happening that every day was like hanging on to the tail of a huge kite in a storm. In the Spring, I received the British Columbia Principals' and Vice-Principals' Association Leadership Award as the Outstanding Principal in the Province. That was followed that summer by being invited to Cambridge University to meet face to face with my AGE$ colleagues.