Who’s This Blogger?
My name is Carol Scheftic.
On a professional level, I think of myself first as an educator. I’ve taught within the “traditional” educational system, with students at every level from preschool through post-graduate professional education. I’ve also taught teacher-education courses: teaching teachers how to teach; and I’ve worked with parents on how to help their children learn. Beyond that I’ve taught a range of “informal” courses as well, lasting a few hours to a few weeks, that help people continue to learn and grow outside the traditional system.
In college, I changed my undergrad major several times, exploring various areas of psychology and graphic design, but finishing up with a degree in mathematics (BS). Grad school studies led to further degrees in math education (MAT) and in educational communications & technology (PhD). Early in my career, much of my teaching involved the mathematical sciences: grade-school and high-school math (geometry was far and away my favorite there), college courses for math and physics majors, architects, and engineers, some statistics (which I really wish more students could take and appreciate…), and so on. It also came to include a lot of computer science, software engineering, computer graphics, geometric and scientific visualization.
I really liked the lattermost: all along I tried to work that into most of my other courses as well. To me, getting “the right answer” in a math course was only a fraction of the the learning process. Being able to tell the story of what was going on, and to sketch an illustration of it (whether by hand or online), are equally important: that is, not just getting an answer, but actually seeing it too. (In fact, at one point I was part of a team that got a great educational software award for an algebra tool called “Sketch” which, sigh, is no longer available.)
At the university level, of course, you have a”research area” in which you focus your investigations. Though I worked on a number of different projects across several disciplines, I would eventually come to group them under this question: “If machines can compute answers, then what do students need to learn?”
But I’ve always liked having a “life” outside of “work” as well, where I could explore a number of other areas. For example, I spent one summer helping to restore roofs at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in southern England. (I went there with some potters who were doing research on medieval pottery techniques, only to find that the building they wanted to use had to have its roof restored first … so I pitched in where my help was most needed. I did that one myself, with guidance from the Master Craftsman on the museum staff, and then just continued to help out where I could. For many years, that first building was used as a part of the woodlands exhibit, but isn’t its clay tile roof just wonderful?!)
I spent a number of years as a volunteer with a community radio station, WYEP, first teaching radio production to new volunteers and later in a variety of roles with a radio theater troupe (starting out as “sound man” and later adding roles as technical director, director, and producer).
I like to garden, though I’m far more interested in vegetable gardening (both urban and organic) than landscaping (which is clear to anyone looking at my yard…); ever the teacher, even with that I’ve joined a “Master Gardener” program where I teach “backyard gardening” courses through my local extension office.
Most recently, I’ve moved away from the formal educational system, but have stuck with the visualization, not just sketching what should be but now actually making new objects. That’s where the jewelry and other adornments come in, and the metal clay work, the (yet again) teaching of that, and this blog. No need to detail that on this page: I hope you’ll read the blog entries as I write them to get that part of my story.
Or, did you come here looking for yet more “personal” bits? I expect those will pop up over time in the blog….