When I was just a little boy, my mother would take me downtown to the Ohpin Saws Square on the corner of Nare and Ver to watch James Williams carve out ingenious solutions using eighch tee em al as source codes. Put that in your Java Script pipe!
So when he accepted my invitation to design a solution for innovative pre-reading strategies, I knew, apart from the great honor of his company, that, for the first time in my life, I would see this genius at work – up close.
This morning, after about 30 days in close proximity to his artistry, I took him and his wife, Eunjin, to the Fiumicino airport “a Roma” for the return to their abode in Washington DC.
Driving back on the Grande Raccordo Anulare in the direction of the Monte Sacro region, I caught myself wondering just what it was about the technical James Williams that inspired the pedagogical me.
My brain picked through 9 clues:
- Learning needs trump tech fanaticism and economic interests.
- A mug of coffee is better than a cuppa.
- Listening to teachers is paramount.
- Eternity matters.
- There is no substitute for mental spadework.
- Searching for the right information is rooted in asking the right question.
- Always say sorry after you’ve burped.
- People are more important than projects.
- Keeping things simple holds significant possibilities for learning.
No wonder his artistry resulted in an authoring tool for teachers that is designed to create meaningful work for young mobitechs, inspire creativity amongst teachers and, most of all, generate a real interest amongst young children – to read.
I could not have imagined that the road from the corner of Nare and Ver could lead to the significance of the here and now. Could not have done it without James.