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David Anthony Colarusso - Sadly not Havoc Dinosaur
Intermittent musings on the law, science, education, technology, design, and life. Also, I build things: furniture, software, reasoned arguments... To learn more about that, click a persona below for my eponymous website.


For six years, I taught high school physics and astronomy both in the suburbs of Boston and the heart of Edinburgh, and although I may no longer be in the classroom, I still consider myself a science educator. Unfortunately, I don’t blog in this category much anymore, having changed careers, but don’t let that stop you from exploring some of my posts. If you’re looking for my educational video series, check out the Tabletop Explainer.

General Observations (15) Phylm Prize (9) Technology in Education (12)

So Long and Thanks for All the the Fi[lm]

by David Colarusso - April 13th, 2013

Slightly Mad Science!
Jamie Nichols, winner of the First Annual Phylm Prize.

Since 2007, I’ve run the Annual Phylm Prize. Pronounced “film,” a portmanteau of physics and film, the prize aimed to spur the creation of physics videos on the web. It’s a name I’ve given a number of physics/film projects–including a curricular unit for physics teachers. I presented the unit at the 2003 summer meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers. After moving to teach physics in Edinburgh and becoming a YouTube user, I launched the Phylm Prize to help the lesson’s spirit live on while I taught away from my home school.

This year, I’m sorry to say, I’m throwing in the towel. Last year’s prize didn’t attract a critical mass or entries, and I fear that without promotion beyond my means, the same would be true this year. That’s right, the Phylm Prize is on an indefinite hiatus. That being said, the goal of the prize was to foster the creation of quality educational content on the web, and I am happy to say that a few of the prize’s alumni have risen to the level of minor Internet celebrities. That being said, I thought I’d take this blog post as an opportunity to remember where we’ve been.


The Longest Run

by David Colarusso - March 4th, 2012

A few weeks ago, I ran the farthest I’ve ever run in my life, and almost every week since, I have done the same. As you may know, I’m running the Boston Marathon for charity, but after passing the longest run milestone (as of this posting, I’m up to eighteen miles), I wanted to take a moment to share a few thoughts about what it all means to me on a personal level.

First, thank you for your support. Without it, I wouldn’t have gotten through today, and I certainly won’t make it through marathon day. There’s something to be said for an endeavor named after an event in which the first participant died. Honestly, that’s part of what attracted me, the idea that with proper preparation, even I could tackle such a grand challenge. It plays into a very human desire to control one’s fate. We want to live in a world where hard work and playing by the rules is enough to make people captains of their fate. Working to make this wish reality, humanity has struggled to transcend a million petty and superficial differences. Unfortunately, the world still isn’t fair. What keeps me running, however, is the belief that we can do something about that. Those of us lucky enough to live a life where running is recreational have the opportunity to help those who must run to survive.


Unblock Bebo

by David Colarusso - June 11th, 2007

So one of my big themes is how we as educators should be using, not censoring, social media. That being said, you can imagine my pleasure when I got an email about THIS. That’s right, the US Embassy in cooperation with the Imperial Museum and Bebo are working to “digitally link generations” through an online video contest. The embassy is asking UK students to play documentary film maker and put to bits the memories of the rebuilding of Great Britain post WWII. The winner has a chance to win:

a trip for two to the United States
a new laptop computer
a new digital video camera
cool video editing software

And in case you’re wondering, I named this post in reply to Digital Katie’s posting Bebo Blues.

And the winner is…

by David Colarusso - June 7th, 2007

Sorry it’s taken me this long to post the winner of this year’s Phylm Prize. It was a nail biter. In fact, no two judges voted for the same number one. So we had to have a run off. To see the winner of my $100, watch the video below. Then scroll down and catch the top ten entries in their entirety.

Here are the top ten highest ranked entries, according to YouTube ratings as of May 31, 2007. They are ordered by date of posting.

A Year in Review, My Fulbright

by David Colarusso - May 27th, 2007

The following is an abbreviated version of the final narrative report I submitted for my Fulbright Teacher Exchange. I have taken the liberty of adding hyperlinks where appropriate. For those of you who didn’t know, I am currently on exchange from Lexington High School in Massachusetts to Broughton High School in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Over two years ago I decided to apply for the Fulbright teacher exchange. Having taught for several years and already holding a Masters in Education, I was looking for new ways to improve my craft. Absent a clear predictive model of human learning, teaching remains more art than science. So I’ve come to believe that beyond a mastery of ones subject and minimal educational training, collecting diverse professional experience remains the surest path to improved teaching. We teachers learn by doing. I applied for an exchange confident teaching abroad would improve my professional skill set, expanding both my experience and perspective. I am happy to say, the exchange has exceeded my expectations.

The most pleasant surprise has been the ease with which I found both social and professional acceptance. Excepting the occasional behavior problems and technical headaches present in all schools, I would be tempted to call my exchange experience ideal. This is not to say it was all smooth sailing, only that I faced the same challenges as my colleagues. Some of these were new to me, and I can’t say that I was always the teacher I would have liked to be. However, I know that upon my return to the States, I will be at least three times the teacher I was. Making this possible was the support and understanding of my exchange school and its highly capable and professional educators.


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