Personal Highlights of 2K8

As I write this we are about an hour from transitioning from 2K8 to 2K9 and I’d like to take this time to reflect back on the year that was and touch upon some big personal highlights.  Going off of a Twitter thread, I’ll try to recount these in a Top Ten countdown format.  Here we go with my personal Top Ten Moments of 2K8.

11.  Wo Learning Champion.  2K8 saw me finishing out my term as the co-reigning Wo Learning Champion.  My term ended in May 2008 at the end of the school year.  My reign as champion came to a big climax during Spring 2008 semester as I along with my partner implemented a year’s worth of planning to run a successful workshop series, a successful guest speaker’s event and a successful professional development institute day — all to excellent reviews and feedback.  I got to travel the islands and UH system and made lasting friendships with my counterparts across the system. [Wo Learning Champions Web Site]

10.  Return to Grad School.  After a year off after my MBA adventures I returned to the realm of graduate school to pursue a Masters of Education in Educational Technology.  Having worked in the ed tech field for several years now I was already familiar with the program and the faculty being a professional peer and colleague but finally becoming a “card-carrying member” of this particular academic community has been a refreshing experience for me as the skills I am learning is most definitely helping me to take my game to the next level.  My experiences kicked off with TAing an undergraduate section in Spring 2K8 under the guidance of Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Medal Recipient Shirley Yamashita prior to full emersion in the core of the academic program in Fall 2K8. [ETEC Department Web Site]

9.  Las Vegas and San Diego Comic-Con.  After a long year of hard labor the wife and I took a long overdue vacation to our favorite destination spot — the 702 Las Vegas, NV.  In a departure from previous trips, this time out we traveled with my high school friends (or my wedding party) and experienced Vegas independently rather than with a vacation package.  Additionally we stopped off for our first visit at the legendary San Diego Comic-Con on the way home and had the ultra-cool experience of seeing awesome pop culture sites and icons as well as the world famous Sea World.  Top it all off with experiencing authentic Mexican cuisine and it’s an experience you can’t beat!  With tons of photos, videos and awesome memories of Cirque du Soleil, the Rat Pack, the Las Vegas Grand Prix, the Con, Sea World and lots of souvenirs to boot Summer Vacation 2K8 is easily the best one we ever had! [Comic-Con Photos] [Vegas Photos]

8.  Kung Fu “Black Belt”:  After 3 years of dedicated training I earned my “Black Belt” equivalent in Hung Gar and Choy Li Fut Kung Fu from Kong’s Siu Lum Pai Association.  A lot of things popped up in my life that delayed my achievement but I’m very proud of marking this milestone in my martial arts journey and look to many more years of unlocking the secrets of the arts.  To top things off, my graduation date?  8/8/08 which is the luckiest date in Chinese culture 🙂  More on 8/8/08 later! [Kong’s Siu Lum Pai Web Site]

7.  Dinner 2.0:  In the first among the coolest things I got to do this year was being invited to be a guest at U.S. Representative Neil Abercrombie’s Dinner 2.0 sessions.  I had the unique privelege of being a guest at two of these events, on 8/8/08 and on 10/30/08.  The Congressman and other Dinner guests are great conversationalists and enjoyable company and I’m most definitely honored to have been among the lucky few to make the guest list.  Much mahalo to @NEENZ, @ikitajima and @lkitajima for helping to organize these cool opportunities! [Dinner 2.0 Archives]

6.  Bytemarks Cafe/Honolulu Advertiser:  Continuing in the string of ultra-cool experiences I had in 2K8 were my very first radio and newpaper interviews.  On Wednesday, November 26, 2008 I had the unique opportunity to appear as a co-featured guest with my colleague, mentor and friend Mary Hattori on the Bytemarks Cafe radio show on Hawaii Public Radio with local tech gurus Burt Lum and Ryan Ozawa to discuss some of our research in the use of Virtual Worlds in education.  Earlier in the Fall I was interviewed by Advertier reporter Mike Gordon on the rise of the “texter/mobile device user subculture” along with other luminaries in the tech community.  The article was published on Sunday, September 14, 2008.  I must say it’s totally cool to be considered knowledgable enough on a topic to be featured in the media regarding it!  [Bytemarks Cafe Episode Podcast] [Honolulu Advertiser Article]

5.  President’s Emerging Leader.  Fall 2K8 saw my career to continue to advance as I was admitted into the prestigious President’s Emerging Leaders Program along with other identified potential “future leaders” of the State’s University system.  I’ve enjoyed learning more about how our University system operates and seeing how leaders emerge and thrive in the roles they are given.  An added bonus was being “apprenticed” to our VP/CIO who is among THE most respected tech gurus within the State.  I can’t understate what an honor and privelege this experience has been.  My PELP experience culminated to date in a shadowing experience that was very eye-opening for me.  2K9 holds more promise as my training in PELP concludes in May 2K9. [PELP Web Site]

4.  My First Grant:  After years of working with Federal Grants I successfully wrote and was awarded my very first Federal Grant in Fall 2K8.  With tons of feedback and support from my colleagues in the tech community I devised a grant I’m very confident will be able to help solve some of the major problems are college is facing.  Witha  focus on mobile learning and interactive technologies I am very hopeful we’ll be able to enact positive change through my grant.

3.  “Uncle” Jon:  After year’s of trying to have children, my brother and sister-in-law were blessed with two children this Fall and finally my brother folks are children, my parents are grandparents and I have two nephews from my side of the family (my wife’s brother also has two boys).  I’m most glad to have two nephews to love and mentor of the years and am looking forward to that experience.

2.  “Second Class Citizen”:  Aside from my #1 pick, nothing probably defines my experience this year moreso than my delving into the art of Improvisational Comedy/Acting.  In April I started studying Improv under the fabulous Shannon Winpenny and over the the course of 8 months had a new family in the Improv community and one of the most-rewarding experiences I have ever had the privelege of going through by learning and performing.  After 8 months of intensive study my classmates and I debuted as Hawai’i’s newest professional troupe, Second Class Citizens.  There are no bigger rushes in life than performing in public and it’s definitely an experience I am most grateful for and would not trade the world for. [Offical Laughtrack Theater Web Site] [Honolulu Advertiser Article]

1.  Twitter:  Beyond anything else though, the ONE DEFINING thing that changed and made my 2K8 was my immersion into the local tech community via Twitter/Bytemarks/Manoa Geeks.  For many years I’d felt very isolated being the lone “tech guy” in my department.  In 2K8 through the power of Social Networking I got plugged into and met the people I had longed to make connections with but had no way of really connecting with!  From Unconferenz in January to joining Twitter to attending the monthly Bytemarks Lunches and Manoa Geeks events I slowly but surely found a new family in the local tech community — people whom I consider true kindreds and it is these relationships that helped pave the way to some of 2K8’s most coolest moments for me (Dinner 2.0, Bytemarks Cafe, etc).  My “Tweeps” made my day each and everyday in 2K8.  They shared in my greatest triumphs and supported me through my roughest moments and for that I can’t thank them enough. [Twitter]

Other Tidbits:

Other Cool 2K8 moments:

  • Obama Winning the Election
  • Beijing Olympics
  • Ric Flair’s WWE Retirement
  • Meeting major Hawai’i candidates through our Voter Forums at work
  • Sailing on the Hokule’a
  • My good friend’s wedding
  • Mom fully recovering from illness

Sad Moments of 2K8:

  • My wife’s uncle’s passing — love you Uncle Larry
  • Deaths of Aunty Genoa Keawe, Ray Kane, Professor Kanalu Young, Ah Quon McElrath
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