Bill Jerome

High School Senior Video

About three weeks ago, I was camping with my daughter and we were talking about her college application process. Naturally this had me thinking about my high school experience, and I lamented at the (I thought) lost to me video I had created my senior year. I had said to her that it ended with a much respected teacher (who did outwardly antagonize freshmen) saying “remember seniors, next year you’ll be freshmen.” He was also a coach, and I tried to prompt him to look at his bat and go “is that blood?” and he almost went for it but in the end sanity prevailed. But he still ended the video.

When I was in high school, a lot of my extra-curricular time was spent working for our TV studio. Yes, media geek. But I was good at being a media geek. I interviewed a hero of mine (Mike Pinder) and I got to question Steve Forbes as he was running for presidential candidacy.

Eventually, the end of senior year came along and the studio had a tradition of doing an end-of-year video that we aired on the last day of school sort of in place of “our regular program.” I started work on one a bit early. Of course I picked a song from my favorite band because that was, at that point in particular, “my brand” to do that. They had done a recording for the World Cup, and so what if graduating high school seemed like the same level to me at the time? So “This is the Moment” it was.

I had about half of the video done when my advisor (Nick Viscio) showed it to the principal (Mr. Whipple) – I distinctly remember being there for that, the whole studio was dark, it was projected on a large screen; it felt weird to see that way – and the principal decided it was going to be shown at graduation instead.

I think this was the first “senior video” shown actually at graduation at GHS though I’d be happy to be told I’m wrong about that. Did they keep that up after?

Either way, I wasn’t expecting it to be held in reserve. There was an empty slot for “the senior video” that aired on the last morning of school. So I created a second “real” senior video that aired on the last day of class (set to “You and Me” by The Moody Blues – as far as I know, that’s still lost to time).

But on my graduation day, they showed what was supposed to be my video dedication for seniors.

I lament now more than ever that I didn’t manage to get everyone caught on camera. When I started working on it, it wasn’t supposed to be more than little morning show send-off. Not a ceremony.

Until today, I only had vague recollections of who I had on film and who I didn’t.

Previously I had gone through my remaining VHS tapes but it (and the actual last day video) seemed to be lost to time and events. I’d even asked my high school producer about copies just about when he retired and I didn’t hear back so I thought with him gone there was little hope they’d re-emerge.

Tonight, my friend Alison sent me a link, and there it was! I am so happy this was uncovered so I can show my daughter.

“Is that a dent?”

Expanding on a Quote

Recently, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation posted a new resource, at with findings from their last round of NGCC grant funding. Acrobatiq was part of that round, and I uncovered a quote from myself within the site. I thought I would expand on it a bit. The quote:

“If students don’t provide enough data in the form of practice, then courseware providers can write an adaptive experience, but it won’t actually adapt to the students. That’s a trickier thing you can’t necessarily expect instructors to just know.”
Bill Jerome, Senior Product Manager at Acrobatiq


To expand a little bit:

In any adaptive learning platform (assuming most generally accepted definitions, where a platform adapts instruction without intervention from instructors), data is required. Within knowing what a student knows, there is no immediate basis to adapt their instruction. That would be like asking a human tutor to “adapt instruction” to a student without letting them ask the student any questions. So we know we need at least one question. Not many people would argue that, even for a human tutor, one question is likely not enough to really know what a student knows or doesn’t know, at least when considering most questions we deliver online (multiple choice, maybe an entered word). So now we have made the case the answer is “at least a couple”. Practically speaking, you need a number of questions related to a single learning objective to really understand where a student is, especially if those questions allow gaming strategies or luck such as multiple choice questions.

All of which I think makes sense when talked through like above, but it is not necessarily obvious to an instructor writing content. And what is the right number? That gets even more complicated because it depends on things such as the difficulty of the question, the level of Bloom’s you are trying to assess, the “gambility” of the item, etc..

This issue is what I was trying to convey in that short quote.

Learning engineering … yeah, it’s still here

I was happy to speak with Mark Lieberman from Inside Higher Ed a couple of weeks ago about the current state (more or less) of learning engineering in the professional world.  The final product of his work is here: Learning Engineers Inch Toward the Spotlight. Aside from the quotes attributed to me, we spoke about what I saw as important to the role of someone with a title of “Learning Engineer.”  In different jobs I have held, I have worked with teams of people with that very title. Wherever the contents of the article came from I was happy to see a few things:

  • The bullet points around what it means to be a learning engineer are focused on data and iterative improvement
  • Carnegie Mellon being well represented, as it should be
  • Debate

If we’re all lifting the field of education to take advantage of what we can learn to improve student learning, then we’re all rowing the same way and that’s great.  I was only a bit disappointed to see a reaction to the article from a prominent individual such as this:

I respect Dr. Siemens very much, and I’ve even been on a panel with him. I’m not sure where this take comes from exactly, but I cannot describe the statement as collaborative or advancing of ideas.

I hope going forward, we can all be more constructive than that, and work together to apply what research tells us about student learning, as a team. Debate is helpful. It makes us think hard about what we’re trying to achieve. Learning Engineering is coming to the spotlight.


Sometimes you get a gift.  Sometimes you get a hand-made gift.  Sometimes you turn 40… Sometimes… well anyway, look at this amazing gift I received from my friend Eric.  Is it… a checkers game?

Yes.  Is it a chess set?

Yes, but there’s too many pieces… what are they?  And these extra tiles that run down the side?  Oh.. It’s Stealth Chess!

But why is the box so large, with all these inserts?      If you’re a Terry Pratchett fan you already know where this is going…


Not to get too proud… but yeah, I love it.  You can come play!  But this set is not for borrowing.

Of course you need vinyl suggestions….

I need to create a #nobodyasked tag. Then tag all my posts with it. But in this case someone almost asked by posing the question in Facebook “what was the first record I listened to on my new turntable?” The answer (which I got, natch) was Dark Side of the Moon.  He thanked all the guessers for, in the end, giving him a list of vinyl to procure.  So here some more off the top of my head in no order, with helpful links where dollars can be traded for them…

  • All The Moody Blues Albums
    • Funny thing, I hadn’t seen/heard about the 2016 reissue of TOSOL so my own list making had me placing an order.
    • Nope there was another recent DOFP vinyl release that was not up to par
  • Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers – The Long-Awaited Album
  • Robert Plant – lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar
  • David Bowie – Blackstar
  • Anything Mondo
    • My favorites: The Back to The Future set, The Fountain, The Black Swan, Wrath of Khan, Jurassic Park, Fifth Element, Paranorman…
  • Joanna Newsom – Divers
  • Bob Dylan – Greatest Hits
    • (Mobile Fidelity – 45 rpm!)

Sometimes a collector, sometimes not

I started an interesting thread today, without intending to, on a Facebook group. Basically, I was excited to arrive home from work to see this! :

See, my first “real” computer growing up was an Apple IIgs. I had a TI-994A before that, so I did learn to do some programming and saving (via cassette!) and loading programs. But the IIgs was what hooked me. By the time I applied to computer science at Carnegie Mellon, I made sure the admissions officer was clear that I could program a IIgs in assembly, and I’d be happy to show some of the programs I’d written. However, by then, I didn’t have my IIgs anymore. I had moved on to PC at the 386 era when Apple moved to Mac and stopped the II line.

But, then, I got older, had a bit more money thanks to that CMU CS degree, and I longed for my simple IIgs, so I grabbed one when my daughter was born. It was her first computer. There was nothing she couldn’t do that turning it off and on again wouldn’t work, and there was a great (second edition) “Tour of your IIgs” app that basically taught you to use a mouse, starting with motion, then clicking, then dragging. Perfect!

Anyway, this week, I picked up a new chassis, if you will, for the beat up box of a GS I had, which was missing some back covers, and had a LED drilled into it that no longer belonged to anything (my guess is a Vulcan used to be in it – just like I had). So I posted my excitement to an Apple II group! The seller even popped in “hey, you bought that from me!” Exactly as it should be: some general merriment and nerdery.

But what I didn’t know, and apparently the seller didn’t either, is:

woe unto you, if you ship in an original box!

Ok, I get it, if I was a real collector, and I was buying for the original packaging, yes, I’d be unhappy if a label was slapped on it and it was shipped like that. It (in that case) should have been double boxed. The original post only made a passing mention of shipping in the original box. So technically the seller said exactly how they were shipping, and frankly I was impressed it was an actual original box! I assumed it meant the box they got it in. I didn’t pay for it that way, and you know what? I got a burst of joy seeing that IIgs box on my stoop when I got home.

So I thought about all the folks that replied to my post belaboring the point that it was “poor shipping.” One person said they hoped the seller learned a lesson. I bet that lesson was “Don’t sell your stuff to this crowd!” In the end, the originator of the sale was happy, I was happy because I got what I wanted, and my GS is looking spiffier than before.

What I learned for sure: I am not an Apple IIgs collector. I just want one in good shape to play games on. It’s a hit at parties to have it running (next to the wine and booze, natch) and for folks to play games like Marble Madness against each other on it (often with drink in hand).

Now, when it comes to Moody Blues stuff…….. yeah, I get it, I’d be pissed 🙂 That’s how I know I’m a collector in that arena, but not this one!

One more thing to add – I don’t want to sound down about the group that chimed in on the shipment. I’ve learned a lot from them, I’ve re-learned a lot too, and in fact they are how I found the auction in the first place. My spiffy IIgs wouldn’t be running like it is and with as many games from my youth as it is without them. My ultimate learning was this:

Sometimes, I am a collector, sometimes, I am not. Both are fun!

The Wind of Heaven

via :

Full honesty up front.  I was at the web premiere of The Wind of Heaven as a video.  I wasn’t very moved at first viewing.  It could have been the interview around it, who knows.  I watched it once or twice after and it didn’t grab me.  Today my copy of All The Way arrived so I was afforded the opportunity to sit back and just listen to this more than seven minute journey.  I also looked up more information and found this synopsis of the film it (strikingly well) represents:

“The Wind of Heaven is about a veteran that comes back home from Afghanistan and really loses himself, can’t pick up the life he had before he left.  Eventually, he gets work on a ranch and he finds that he has kind of a communion with the wild horses and he finds himself through horses.”

In addition, one should know:

“The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears” – Arabian Proverb

So, with both of those in mind, I listened again, without the video.  It starts very much in the area of despair, and the chorus arrives and lifts us slightly out of it before the song goes back into the sadness.  But again, the chorus “rescues” us.  The cycle repeats, and the length of the song gives it time to do so over and over.  Thrust back into dark, lifted back out of it.  Incredibly lifelike.  It took me repeated listens, though, to notice how each time the chorus visits us, it is more uplifting than the previous, and by the end the keyboards are practically giddy before the end.

It is not just a beautiful song, the structure of it has made me really love it.

When I was a freshman in college (so, 1996), I learned to build some websites.  They were all vanity projects – that’s all you do when you’re in college!  But the one that got a little attention was the site I kept for the actor Ted Knight.  There was a family connection, you see, so I realized I actually had some articles and pictures worth sharing even if the celebrity in question had already passed on.  But I got them up anyway and my silly little site was linked to by Entertainment Weekly.  But at that time, when I say “linked to” I mean they printed the link in their paper magazine.

At any rate, I got very bad at keeping it running smoothly.  So, I’ve brought the key elements back online and am making the modest promise to bring the rest back by the end of the summer.

Please spend a moment browsing my site at

I’m not selling a thing – I promise!

Fortunate Lighting


Early June, I get this best moment of lighting in the evening before sunset.  The window through which the light is coming is at the other end of the house.  And just as it finds its away Over The Hill (literally), through the trees, and makes its way across my living room, it does this!  It makes me feel like Gandalf is knocking on the door reminding me to re-read The Hobbit, LOTR and the Silmarillion (and listen to the Tolkein Ensemble discs which are also between those bookends).  A happy, lovely accident of placement that means I will never move them!

My Friend, The Pedagogy Cat

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