A Short History of Progress

Summer of 2004:

I’m bussing downtown at Chez Piggy, leaving me pretty unstimulated intellectually, leading some critics to call this “a rather boring summer.”

While trying to cure my boredom, I discover Second Life while surfing on mmorpg.com.

Considering I’m part of a real-life Improv Show, I try starting a team in Second Life. I manage to get about 25 avatars to show up at a meeting of The Thinkers (written about here). The interest was there, but I realized the interface was too awkward to make decent theatre.

School Year 2004-2005:

Nothing relevant. Worked really hard at school.

Summer 2005:

Worked in the ILC on lighting controls that adjusted to ambient daylight. It was pretty lonely, programming on a micro-processor all day.

Went to a virtual book signing in Second Life for a book by blogger Cory Doctorow.

School Year 2005-2006:

I was part of a collaborative playwriting project, and hired to organize/summarive/concentrate all the creative input. I came upon the idea of using this blog as a way for everyone to see and comment on my summaries. Almost by accident, we starting writing the play here, most of which was retained when it was actually performed (pdf).

Summer 2006:

I work for a professor in the Mathematics Department by performing MATLAB simulations of electrons in metal lattices, to help better understand high-temperature superconductivity. (no website anymore) This was a little less lonely, because I had another student I was working with.

School Year 2006-2007:

I was hired as a Teaching Assistant for APSC 171 and APSC 172, which I found incredibly rewarding. I ran one 50-student tutorial per week.

Summer 2007:

I threw the chance of getting another cushy four-month job to the wind, and travelled Southeast Asia for six weeks, making for a great start to the summer. When I returned to Kingston, I was a little depressed when waking up in the morning didn’t mean I would learn a bit of a new language that day, and that I was jobless.

Yesterday:

I was hired by Professor Leo Jonker to work on a project for the rest of the summer, developing an online supplementary calculus course for students who have not had sufficient calculus in high school.

While looking into the job before he hired me, he went to the Emerging Technology Centre at Queen’s University, who suggested that one of the ways he could teach calculus was to use Second Life (wikipedia link this time). That’s full circle.

While I probably won’t be using Second Life, I do have some crazy ideas coming, and this is bound to be the Best Job Yet.

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