About Me- A Short Story

My Educational Philosophy

 

Living Life in the Renaissance

Chris has been described by many as a renaissance man. Growing up with two homes, he spent his school days in sunny Southern California and over 20 summers in Yellowstone National Park with over 2.25 million acres as his backyard. These early years give Chris a unique perspective, as many of those summers were spent living in log back-country cabins with no gas, electricity or running water. Access was by horseback or on foot. With thousands of hours and miles on horseback under his belt, he learned to tie a diamond hitch with the best of them. In his other life in California, he was a competitive figure skater. He trained and competed in pairs with his sister as his partner.

His college years started with interests in both environmental studies and music performance. His interest in environmental studies has obvious roots in his life in Yellowstone. His interest in music was a gift from his parents- both musicians. This dichotomy created a personal dilemma for him that could only be solved by one thing- a double major. You see, Chris Graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a double major in Music Performance and Environmental Studies.

Upon leaving Santa Barbara, he entered the family profession of education. Coming from a long line of public school teachers, it was only natural that he would join their ranks in this noblest of professions. After teaching science, band and computer programming for seven years in Los Angeles, he moved to Texas where he now resides. After a brief period running a new Ice Rink in the Dallas area, he returned to the classroom in a nearby private school. After several years in the science department, he moved into administration as the Director of Educational Technology. About this same time, he returned to school for his Masters in Educational Technology from Pepperdine’s life changing program- OMAET, where he had the privilege and honor of studying with Dr. Margaret Riel and Gary Stager. From that point forward, he would never see teaching and learning in that “old school” way. This was a period of transformation, which continues to this day. As a reformed behaviorist, he found new love in his growing love of social constructivism. While the transformation is not complete, he continues to improve his craft as an educator.

Chris received his PhD from the University of North Texas in Computer Education and Cognitive Systems. His research interests fall broadly into four areas. He is exploring emerging technologies in learning environments, the cognitive aspects of technology in learning environments, and narrative based alternate reality games as learning environments. Additionally, from his days at Pepperdine, he continues to look at Action Research as a form of professional development for teachers. Work in these areas has also led to explorations in self-regulated learning, synergistic knowledge and student efficacies and attitudes towards learning with technology.

Chris has also developed a reputation for working with many forms of emerging technology. From the latest of the read/write web and social networking to handhelds, cell phones and the OLPC XO to old technologies used in novel ways, he is engaged in exploring how these technologies can be leveraged to enhance the teaching and learning experience. Finally, through the influence of Dr. Scott Warren at UNT, he has entered the world of alternate reality games as learning environments. Blending these last three areas together, he is now starting to explore student’s attitudes towards learning with various forms of technology.

Balancing this life in the renaissance, he is still the Director of Educational Technology at Greenhill School in Dallas and continues to teach classes in the science department. He is a teaching fellow at UNT where he serves as “puppet master” in the alternate reality game learning environments created by Dr. Warren. Chris and his wife run a small educational consulting practice, which has taken them across the Nation and to South America training faculty in both k-12 and higher education. Chris is also in demand as a speaker at local, state and national conferences.

Today, he resides in Wylie Texas with his lovely wife and three wonderful children. Oh, and in case you were wondering, his home in Wylie has the trifecta- gas, electricity and indoor plumbing with running water.