Heads Up

Welcome to Heads Up, a blogging experiment that aims to: 

  • connect the people, parts, and principles of Durham Academy;
  • share ideas about learning and human development;
  • spotlight a few of the many wondrous things I get to see every day at Durham Academy. 

Thanks for reading the posts below — and sending news, links and ideas worth sharing. 

Michael Ulku-SteinerHead of School 

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Future focused

Amidst the dizzying whirl of info-super-saturated contemporary life, I enjoy finding distillers and sense-makers.

Tiffany Shlain is one of them. Recommended to me a month ago by a DA parent, Shlain is a filmmaker, author, and internet pioneer. She founded the Webby Awards and co-founded the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.

Her Emmy-nominated original series THE FUTURE STARTS HERE offers a series of colorful and concise (4-6 minute) videos, including:

  • The Future of Our Species
  • A Case for Dreaming
  • Punk Rock Diplomacy
  • Robots, Botox, and Google Glass
  • The Photosynthesis of Social Media
  • TransBoom
  • ParenTechnology

While Shlain’s self-promotion doesn’t feel entirely comfortable, her videos are at once comfy and provocative – good fodder for …

Posted by mulkus on Thursday December 18, 2014
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Girl power

Among the reasons my wife and I decided to move back from Switzerland was Durham Academy’s powerfully positive culture for athletic girls.

Whether thinking of our sporty twelve year-old daughter and her classmates or our ninth-grade son and his male peers, we know that female athleticism does healthy things for gender roles and school cultures in general.

Here we take for granted that girls can be academic, artistic, athletic, and service-minded as they choose.

While few other schools can boast the levels of success we’ve had in girls’ sports (click here, for example, to see this year’s highest-profile university-team-bound athletes: all females), American high schools generally open more doors for sporty girls than do schools in other countries.

Things are …

Posted by Michael Ulku-Steiner on Sunday December 14, 2014 at 10:19PM
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Stretching, striving, failing, struggling...connecting, succeeding, growing!

Tonight I received the following email from DA 1st Grade Teacher Debbie Suggs, who (along with all her Lower School teaching colleagues) has been involved in learning "cohorts" this fall. Envisioned and led by the LS iTeam (Michele Gutierrez, Chris Mason and John Bacsik), the cohorts pull together small teams of teachers to incorporate new technological tools in their classrooms.  

Dear Michael and Carolyn,

I am emailing to thank Michele Gutierrez (we lovingly and respectfully call her Captain G.) for her guidance and leadership regarding our new Cohorts.  Just as I ask my little first graders every single day to step out of their comfort zone and take risks, struggle, fail, fall, get back up again, I am being asked to do the same thing.  As adults, we can dig our …
Posted by mulkus on Thursday December 4, 2014 at 10:23PM
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An old friend, a new dimension

This Wednesday at 2:00 in the Upper School Learning Commons, alumnus Noah Katz will return to install DA’s first 3D printer. All are welcome to share in Noah’s expertise and learn what might be possible with our newest learning tool.

Noah, who earned a BA in creative writing at UNC-Chapel Hill and has interned with NASA, the White House, and Vanity Fair magazine, reconnected with DA this fall as his parents enrolled their latest exchange student (Argentinian 11th Grader Shai Rozenblum) in the Upper School. Along with Learning Commons Librarian Shannon Harris, Noah is excited to bring a powerful new technology to our students.

Writes Lee Hark, with tongue halfway in cheek, “I asked Noah to build us a printer that would be big enough to 3D-print a life-sized version of …

Posted by Michael Ulku-Steiner on Monday December 1, 2014
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