Monday, August 23, 2004

The project starts...

…I had wanted to do some sort of interactive, constructivist blog for some time. And there it was, a note from Sharon Hutson down at Half-Way Ranch outside of Comanche about a neighbor that she knows, who is involved in a three-state cattle drive just like in the old days.

Immediately, thoughts start roaming my head with cowboys on horseback posting audio blogs about cattle herding being heard by boys and girls from Poland to China as an adjunct to their classroom studies of English as a foreign language. Real Texas cowboys talking in real Texas jargon about a real Texas cattle drive…broadcast around the world. Kids and adults could comment on the daily blog posts and through the aide of a laptop, directly to the wranglers. The wranglers, in turn, would be able to see how many people around the world were following their quest. Pictures of the Drive would be downloaded daily from cell-phones and displayed in blog galleries to show visually what things looked like from the back of a saddle in the middle of a real trail drive.

The trail drive is called “Ride of the Century – Adventure of a Lifetime”. It is an authentic cattle drive and Wagon Train from Bandera, Texas, across three states ending at Dodge City, Kansas. It begins on Septemeber 6 and expected to finish on October 23. Six Hundred and Fifty Five miles in Forty-eight days.

I don’t even have the details worked out, when Sharon interjects that I have til Tuesday to pull this off, because that’s when her friend goes off to do advance work on the Trail Drive. That doesn’t give me a lot of time. I still need to get hold of Brock out at Sul Ross in Alpine for his daily history of the route of the trail. He has access to tons of western historical data that could really liven up the blog….if he is willing to do this.

And the blog itself…I have to set up a new blog to make it easy for trail drivers and viewers and listeners alike to access. And I haven’t even contacted the lady in charge of communication to see if she thinks we can do this. I decide right away, that even if she says “no:, I will still have the thing set up to do some other project of a similar nature. Something that links the far corners of the world to a real time event of some nature that has within itself lessons that can be learned to better all of us. And above all, something that becomes what the users want it to become…interactive and constructivist…

Sharon says, I need to have a proposal to her husband by Tuesday, when he can tell Dixie about the details. I start a proposal in Word, but before the first sentence hits the page, I think, “Wait, if this is constructivist, then I’ll post the whole thing on the blog.” So off to to set up the “Elderbob On The Trail” blog. A few connections later and is born. Next on to Audioblog set up the connections that will make it possible to post the audio MP3s on the blog each day. Select a template, and I am almost done. Now all I have to do, is get everyone’s permission and willingness to work together on this to get it all done.

Note to Sharon: As you can see I have already put something together. I would appreciate it if you would have your husband let Dixie Turner know about this blog and a phone number where she can reach me or the phone number where she can make an audio post that will be on the blog. I will be sending you information on both via email.

Note to Dixie Turner: Well, if you read this far, you have an idea of what I have in mind. You know why I want to do it, but I suspect that you can find a lot of other useful ends from the product. I hope you will tell me that is both possible and that you are interested. Even if I am too late to cover this trail drive, there will be others. This one just sounded like the right one to me. I hope you feel the same way.

Note to Brock in Alpine: Ok Dude, is this enough of a challenge for you, is it too much. You can find the itinerary here. I think it is a treasure trove of Western Lore. As far as I am concerned you are free to put what you will on the blog, either audio or text. If you need assistance editing or posting the text, let me know. Short of that, if you will write out the script, I will see if I can get Tom Dodge to read it everyday for the duration.

To the readers: Ok, so far so good. Now the hard part starts. This is a first time experience for me and probably for the rest of those involved. I am convinced that even if we make errors, in the long run it will be a marvelous project.

To the educators and students: I haven’t forgotten you. I want to involve you as best I can, so I am leaving it open as to how best to serve your needs. Please let me know how I can do that.

elderbob - the blog boss

No comments: