Our local internet provider is a satellite based internet service very popular out in Bush Alaska. It's called Hughesnet and provides us with the closest thing to "high-speed" internet obtainable at home. We have had it installed for the past two years we've been here. For the most part, things have worked as they should. This year, our internet has been finicky at best. For some reason, we continue to lose connection, regain it, and then lose it again. As you could imagine, this is quite frustrating. As a internet-based graduate student, internet at home is kinda a must. For the past 2-3 weeks, I've (Tim) been staying at school late to finish assignments. As much fun as it is to physically be in the school from 7am to 8pm, I'd rather be home sitting in my comfy Lazyboy. So, I started to investigate the problem, calling Alaska tech guys, and even Hughesnet Tech Support - India division (now that's a whole other story by itself!). Because of where we live, getting a technician to come look at our dish is rather expensive, as it usually requires airfare from another city. Everyone I contacted seemed to agree that my dish was out of alignment. So, I purchased a little doo-hicky (official name) to fine tune the adjustment of the dish. After a couple of days of adjusting here, talking to thick-accented tech support agents there, we were able to fix our problem. Apparently, internet dishes are difficult to adjust because they have to transmit a signal, not only receive. It's funny that the tech support guys continued to tell me that "adjusting the dish is more like art than science". What? Art? That's how they describe it? Well, if that's true, than my inner artist was probably like Jason Polluck all over the place. :) Feww, rant over.
Hand Picking Trash
The Togiak Student Council has been working very well this year. They decided that they wanted to go to the State Student Government Convention in Wasilla in October. In order to go they needed to raise money because it's about a $700 round trip airfare from Togiak to Anchorage. Kaitlyn is one of the advisors for the Student Council and has been working hard with them to make their goal. This past week the Student Council was hired to pick up trash downtown as a fund raiser. Kaitlyn and her crew worked for a few hours hand picking trash off the ground and beautifying the village. She spent most of time picking up trash with a middle schooler named Miles, who has no affiliation with Student Council; he just wanted to help. Kaitlyn says he was a chatty kid.
This week was Togiak's first-ever (or at least first in a really long time) Homecoming Dance. Togiak doesn't have a football team, or many dances actually. The teacher in charge of the Yearbook hosted the dance as a fundraiser. Funny how I didn't see any Yearbook students there. However, Kaitlyn participated by opening the concession stand and having Student Council man it. I (Tim) created the music playlist of clean music, and another teacher, Brian Mason, sat in the room and played the music. It worked well and was open to all students, including community members. It ended up being a dance with mostly 2-5 graders there. It was actually quite fun. I think we had 5 high school students show up. The dance was from 8-11 on Saturday night. I was just glad that I didn't have to sit in the room with the music. :)
I have been working on a completely different type of classes this semester than I did last semester. I am taking Instructional Design (creating instructional material) and Graphical Design for Learning. Surprisingly, the two classes are very similar. Last semester I spent a great deal of my time building websites and learning html code. This semester I'm learning how to better learn. It's interesting, but I still like the web development. I just redid my personal graduate program website. You're welcome to go take a peek. It's currently still under development. http://edtech2.boisestate.edu/timphillips/index.html