Digital Derring-Do - Remembering Mark Ahlness, Retired Educator @mahlness

Source: Arbor Heights Farewell to Mark Ahlness
After a few very busy weeks, I've been catching up on old emails. One of those was in my Classblogmeister (David Warlick's wonderful blogging platform) folder featuring Mark Ahlness. In it, Mark makes a stunning announcement that is now several months old and undoubtedly OLD news for many, but brand new for me--Mark retired after 31 years. Mark thanks others who noticed his message back in June:

Thanks for the kind words, folks. Yes, I am retiring, after 31 years as an elementary school teacher. Tomorrow is my last day in the classroom. Many things swirling about in my head right now, but I want to send a special SHOUT OUT to David Warlick for Classblogmeister – and to all of the wonderful people in the community here who help each other! I am retiring from teaching, but I am not walking away from being involved in education and technology. There are many challenges on the road ahead for teachers and their students. I know I will be involved – too much gas left in the tank J

Although you can find Mark online in several places, I wanted to take a moment and share when I first "met" Mark as a gravelly voice via a Skype call an eternity ago. Here's how Wes Fryer ( described the experience from his perspective, Over the Pond and Through the Fiber:
In the spring of 2006, I had a trans-oceanic, international conversation with other educators which fundamentally changed my perceptions about communication and learning. Using the free software program Skype, I joined Canadian educator Darren Kuropatwa (in Winnipeg, Manitoba), Scottish educator Ewan McIntosh (in Edinburgh, Scotland), and U.S. educator Miguel Guhlin (in San Antonio, Texas) in a live conversation over the Internet about the ways new technologies are reshaping the landscape of education in the twenty-first century. I connected from Manhattan, Kansas, where I was visiting my parents at the time. 
The idea for our live, synchronous conversation started with a blog post a few weeks earlier, and together the four of us built a wiki we called, “Over the Pond and Through the Fiber” where we outlined our planned discussion. During our call, which took place in the evening for me in US Central time, we were joined by several other educators in different locations, including Jeff Allen and Mark Ahlness in Seattle, Washington. While international phone calling has been possible for decades, this type of FREE, Internet-based conferencing was very new to me.
I have to admit, this experience was certainly new for me. More than anything else, I remember the astonishment I felt at listening to Mark Ahlness share his experiences, especially the fact that he was the only educator (at the time) in his school using blogs, and the power of the PLN in his work to sustain him. In fact, I've mentioned that story at various presentations I've made. Now, when I reach for that story during a presentation, I'll have to qualify it--Mark Ahlness, a retired educator, once shared....

I also remember--and still have in my video archives--the story of Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) with Student-Authored Blogs in an elementary classroom. Who shared that with me? Mark Ahlness. It's amazing that one person contributed so much to what I share and his retirement now means I must find new tales of digital derring-do.

Thank you, Mark, for your inspiration and the laugh from this video:

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Mark Ahlness said…
Thanks for your kind words! I remember you as one of a handful of bright lights leading the way, back then. I can't begin to count the many things I have learned from you. Thank you for your guidance and inspiration! All the best - Mark

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