About

Andrew B. Watt is me.  I am a designer, artist, writer and philosopher in central Connecticut. That’s enough to identify me to the discerning reader.

In 2009, I made a trip to a school in California to meet teachers and visit an innovative classroom, see a different way of teaching, and learn about Design Thinking. My boss sent me out there, hoping to bring Design Thinking to an East Coast school in a big way.  I can’t thank her enough for the ways she’s shown me to grow and develop as a teacher. I don’t think I’ve been the same since; my boss says “you’ve swallowed the blue pill.”  That place made a deep impression on me.

I am a level 1 USFA-certified foil coach and a NOLS-trained outdoor educator.  I struggle with issues of how to connect students to technology use beyond Facebook and MySpace.  I am interested in visual thinking, skills-based teaching, and constructivism.  I have been blogging since 2002 on several different sites, including livejournal.com (most of the posts there have been ported here, though).

In addition, I was for a time the chair of the Commission on Professional Development (CPD), of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools.  They planned, designed, and prepared programs for teachers at private schools across the state.  Their (new) blog is here, with very little content; our Wiki (with much more content) is here.

In my spare time, I make things (sewing, knitting, carpentry and simple machinery), hike and kayak.  I also write.  Duh.

24 comments

  1. I am a runesoup fan who was sold off some of your comments. LOVE your website man. i am so into qigong and energy work lately, the palace of memory is beautiful. anyways man i wanna start from the beginning and your website makes it even harder then Gordon’s. like i got no way to start your tai chi series from 1 without literally hundreds of clicks and pages. you really should have some easier organizing because your beautiful content is lost in its own weight brother!

    • Hi Andriulli, welcome.

      I’ve thought about your comments about the site being difficult to navigate. It occurs to me that I could build a web page specifically for the tai chi practice — not with every entry listed, because that would be unwieldy — but with key dates listed in each month in each of the three years. The tai chi practice is really more of a rambling diary than a coherent set of analyses, though.

      In any case, building in a navigation system is unlikely to happen until June and the end of school.

    • It’s a good video and he’s quite right: textbooks are unswervingly hideous— not just in science but in history and maths and English. We’ve built this sprawling educational bureaucracy, where hundreds of people do work that is only marginally useful to the business of training students. John Michael Greer’s column this week is about the problems in American education and it’s worth a read. But underlying all this is the challenge which goes unspoken — we have one educational system for rich people, where kids do poorly on standardized tests but do better at learning to read, write and think; and hence get better jobs and go to better universities; and another system which is for public schools, but where the district’s ability to pay for school, and the parents’ own educational level, has more to do with overall results.

      We’ve dumbed down our schools a lot.

  2. Stumbled on this thing: http://falconsfables.org/ which is an interesting way to assemble information for students (although making logins and passwords for their subscriptions public is probably a TOS violation). I wonder if in you interest in connecting w/ students via technology you have found any collections/databases of design documents, as opposed to basic references, out there. Also, your personal web site seems to be down.

    • THanks for the thoughts. My school has really no filters or blocks on our internet services, but we do have policies about using passworded services and handing over student info to websites; so it’s unlikely we’ll use that service.

      GravitysGrace used to run on mac.com; when Mac.com became me.com, I had to shut down the website for a while, and then me.com became icloud, and I lost the ability to host webpages there. I was never able to get GravitysGrace to be as successful a website as this one, so I gave up, and focused my attention here.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring your blog this morning. Uncanny the interests we have in common — martial arts of both East and West, the Tarot and other occult matters, writing, and even RPGs (I created one called “Spaz Zone” back in the 80s). I’ll be back!

    • A pleasure making your acquaintance. I vaguely recall reading “Spaz Zone” in someone’s gaming library…. Is that possible?

      I think the things that make for a good gaming writer come in part from the realm of the occult. You have to be versed in monsters and the machinery of Cosmos for occultism to make much sense, and gaming provides a convenient framework. It’s not to say gaming is a gateway drug to occultism — but I think that the habits necessary to be a good game leader, like a dungeon master or a storyteller, eventually lead one to question how the world works. And those questions lead equally to quantum physics and to Tarot and martial arts, and to the Order of the Stick. 🙂

      • Good points! I guess when you think about it, an RPG is a tiny universe with its own system of laws, and the Kabbala and Tarot are systems that attempt to describe the laws of this one. Once a year or so I my son & I get out the paper and dice and play the D&D campaign I designed when I was a teenager back in the 70s, but I’ve largely given it up. You might have seen Spaz Zone somewhere. Boardgamegeek used to have a review on their site but it’s since been taken down.

  4. I’m so blessed to have found your blog. You have fired up my creativity and taken away a large portion of my own creative barriers with your wonderful artwork. Thank you! 🙂

  5. Andrew,

    I’m building a new class blog and want to improve my explanation of categories and tags. Is this the best to ask you and your collaborators what’s a great resource to explain this distinction?

    Some interesting samples; what’s the best? What’s out there that’s better?

    * I like the explanation and the history of the functions: http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2005/09/09/categories-versus-tags-whats-the-difference-and-which-one/

    * I am a wordpress snob and appreciate the built-in instructions: http://en.support.wordpress.com/posts/categories-vs-tags/

    * Is there something better?

    Thanks–Bill

  6. Dear Mr. Watt:

    I enjoy reading your blog, and was wondering if you would like to do a link exchange. My book blog’s url is educationanddeconstruction.com. Every week, I make a nonfiction book recommendation in the topic areas of education, history, technology, biography and/or humor. I have already put up your link. Please reply if you would like to do a link exchange. Thank you.

    Sincerely,

    Sally Friedman

  7. Hi Andrew,
    I just discovered your blog and am reading many of your posts with great interest. A question, for some reason where you indicate in several posts that you’ve included video, nothing appears for me except for a large white space. I don’t know why this is. I assume you’ve embedded video, maybe from youtube or vimeo? Any ideas? I’d love to see some of the things you are referring to. Thanks
    Jen Braxton

    • Most of my stuff is on YouTube.com My user name is ABWatt there, so if it’s a video I made, that’s where you’ll find it.

      If it’s a video that it appears that I didn’t make, but I enjoyed, then I’ve usually favorited it there, too.

      Would you mind leaving a comment on entries where things AREN’T working? They all look like they’re working to me, but the result is that I don’t know which specific videos are causing problems…

  8. Hey, Mr. Watt! It’s been ages since I talked/chatted with you. How’s the fencing club doing? I still get to fence twice a week, if I don’t have too much homework, but I miss all the old Rectory fencers.

  9. Hi Andrew,

    I like the clean, tidy, data rich organization and look to the blog.
    My stuff is in a few places.
    Home page: http://web.suffieldacademy.org/~bsullivan/

    Playground wiki: http://englishsandbox.wikispaces.com/ourwebpages

    And a Blog I stared w/my AP Eng. class: http://billsullivan.edublogs.org/

    Thought that I would play around a little w/word press; now back to grading. One week of classes; one week of exams.

    Take care,

    Bill
    Talk soon–Bill

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