Sunday, August 12, 2012

First person politics with my children...

The sun rose bright and clear this morning. As my two high schoolers and I headed out the door, we were greeted with the first cool morning in months. There is a change in the air; a political change. With this in mind, we took a short trip north up I-77 to the NASCAR Training Institute and experienced part of what makes America great: the political bus tour.

A week ago I received a Facebook post inviting me to get tickets to see Governor Mitt Romney on the campaign trail in person. I requested three tickets so my children could come along and we waited for today. We wanted to get there early to make sure we got good seats, so we headed out before breakfast. Traffic was heavy, so our GPS really paid off by taking us in a back way, bypassing much of it.

We waited in line with other eager supporters. As the line inched forward, we passed the requisite 3 or 4 protesters (yes, there were literally 3 or 4, not three or four hundred). As for the Romney fans, there seemed to be thousands. We met small business owners who were happy to share their stories with my children, Isaac and Darby. Being interested in politics himself, Isaac listened and discussed viewpoints on key issues and differences between the Liberal and Conservative platforms. A writer named Dr. Truth shared a Liberal parody book loosely based on the "Cat in the Hat" with Darby. We all thought the writing was amusing and might have thought it hilarious if so much of it had not been true. I love it when adults take time to talk to future voters and not just brush them off. Isaac was especially happy when the voter registration volunteers asked if he was registered; thinking he was eighteen and not three years younger.

The morning almost ended on a sad note as we approached the metal detectors to enter the building where Governor Romney and his newly announced running mate Paul Ryan were scheduled to speak.In one of four rows of waiting mothers, fathers, babies and the like, we were eight people back from the gate when the fire marshals came out and announced there were too many people and we would have to view the speech from outside. Disappointed, the kids and I walked back around the building to come face-to-face with at least a thousand more people in the same boat as us. I later heard that of the 2000 expected attendees, there were almost 5000 people. While we were sad not to see the speeches in person, we were excited that the turnout was so high in our swing state.

We were not detoured. We stood on a grassy hill overlooking the event and waited and talked until the buses arrived. We knew the buses were coming, not because we saw them, but because the wave of cheering came around the bend. And so from the hill we listened to the speech those inside witnessed first hand. And, although we would have liked to have been there too, the company of fellow conservatives around us made the experience worthwhile.

At the conclusion of the speeches, we waited for one last view of our candidates, hoping for a photo moment. A short time later we were reward for our patience. Governor Romney and Paul Ryan came out to us, hopped up on a picnic table and took the time to present their message to us in person. Thanking us for being there and building excitement for the next few months leading up to November. It was exciting for all of us.

Last fall I had the chance to see President Obama speak during his American Jobs Act bus tour in Jacksonville, NC. His bus tour was like Governor Romney's, fly in and then take a bus for a few stops in the state and then fly to the next state. A true bus tour would take too long and not accomplish enough in this age of information. I am just happy to have been able to see both. And, based on what I have heard, I think the direction we need to go is on the Romney and Ryan bus!

To my Liberal friends, I appreciate your willingness to accept the words I am sharing through our country's support of "freedom of speech." We live in tough times and for those of you who know my story, you know I believe in what the conservative party is doing to make our country stronger. My family and I were in the 99% before it was cool, and through patience, hard work and sacrifice we have survived. As a former small business owner, I know the best thing the government can do is reduce corporate taxes and, within reason, reduce regulations that kill business and not build it. While I may not change your point of view, I do ask that you look at the "change" that has occurred in America resulting from the current administration and reflect on whether or not it was the change you wanted.

Most importantly, I ask my conservative friends to do your best to support our candidates. It is a right, a privilege, and a responsibility of all Americans to get out and vote!

Click here for more information on the Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan Campaign.

- Ken

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sharing my passion for narrative learning and games

I am writing this post tonight from my hotel in beautiful (but stormy) Wilmington, NC. It is here that I am both attending and presenting at the Global Learning Technology Conference on the campus of UNC Wilmington.

The Halls of Education at UNCW

Details, Details

Your ABCs

Front Row Seats

Being the first year of this now to be annual event, the population is relatively small, but very focused and dedicated to the application of learning technology to improve outcomes in education at all ages. There are participants from K-12 schools, Colleges and Universities, and my current favorite, corporate learning. The mix is fairly even and the topics range from LMS systems and online learning to games in education. 

Speaking of games in education (which I will also be tomorrow afternoon) the keynote presentation "Let the Games Begin" by Lucas Gillispie was absolutely awesome. The work he is doing with applying game theory to K-12 education is right on target. If you are unfamiliar with his work, please check it out at He provides free resources for all to learn more about this emerging model for education.

As for my presentation tomorrow, it is titled "Problem-Based Learning using Game Masters, Storytellers and Gamification." Feel free to click on this link to view and/or print the presentation and notes in its entirety.

- Ken