USA Today’s Dumbest Article (Today, that is) It appears that desperation breeds sensationalism. USA Today attempts to stave off irrelevancy by publishing nonsense. Modified article below. As usual, footnotes and italics are mine. Some minor deletions of original article may also occur. _______________________________________________ Original Article By Erin Thompson, USA TODAY Teens and young adults are more likely in their free time to check their Facebook page than read a book. And they are dumber for it. “If you examine history closely, you’ll see that the only free time option since the dawn of time has been reading books. Now we have one other option, that monstrosity, that corrupter of youth, that Facebook. I think you can see why we’re doomed.” That is Mark Bauerlein’s contention in The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, How to Sound Arrogant and Make Money Off Bitter Old People), recently released in paperback (Tarcher/Penguin, 236 pp.) Bauerlein, an English professor at Emory University in Atlanta, says Generation Y, ages 16-29, has been shaped by exposure to computer technology since elementary school. Those individuals who are 30 were lucky enough to escape this tragedy entirely and have normal levels of intelligence. The cost, he says, outweighs the convenience. Kids are writing more than ever online or in text […]
—Another mock Chronicle article – or Chronicle mocking article. If it weren’t so easy I’d try to get it declared an Olympic sport. original article here by JEFFREY R. YOUNG footnotes, italics and a few minor deletions by me below New York Jim Groom sounded like a preacher at a religious revival when he spoke to professors and administrators at the City University of New York last month. “For the love of God, open up, CUNY,” he said, raising his voice and his arms. “It’s time!” But his topic was technology, not theology. A number of studies have correlated religious zealotry of this type with insanity and anti-social behavior. Mr. Groom is an instructional technologist1 at the University of Mary Washington, and he was the keynote speaker at an event here on how to better run CUNY’s online classrooms. The meeting’s focus was an idea that is catching on at a handful of colleges and universities around the country: Instead of using a course-management system to distribute materials and run class discussions, why not use free blogging software — the same kind that popular gadflies use for entertainment sites? I’ll answer my own question. Because it’s for gadflies and entertainment sites, damn it. Trusting your course to something so common, so un-academic would be like settling for a non-terminal degree. […]
This Exhibit is based of the spreadsheet found here. None of the data is mine. I found the spreadsheet via this tweet by scmorgan. If anyone knows who to give original credit to please let me know1 Clearly, I have no official or non-official affiliation with TED. I just like to watch the videos. I do want to thank David F. Huynh for making Exhibit which enabled me to make this site in about 10 minutes. Most of that time taken up by messing with the CSS2. I am an Exhibit fan which is pretty obvious if you search the site. This data just seemed to beg for Exhibit so . . . I obeyed. In the future, I may add some additional fields based on what I see as valuable to different strands of education (leadership, planning, creativity etc.). If you want to do something similar it’s really easy to get this data out and do with it what you will. 1 I did look around for about 10 minutes but no original source presented itself- popular link though. 2 Obviously, I have only the roughest ideas regarding CSS so if you have skills it’d take you no time.
Here’s a slightly modified/mockified version of a recent Chronicle article. Some deletions. My additions in italics. College students were given the chance to ditch a traditional classroom for an online virtual world. Fourteen out of fifteen declined. The fifteenth student was required to return to K12 education to have the rest of the curiosity and spirit beaten out of her. “We’ve taken great steps to make sure all that spirit is gone by 12th grade.” Lamented Ms. Demeanor, a local principal. “I don’t know what could have happened. We failed her. There’s nothing else I can say.” When Catheryn Cheal, assistant vice president of e-learning and instructional support at Oakland University, was designing a course on learning in virtual worlds, she thought the best way to research the topic would be to immerse her class into one such world. Her thought was that the “motivating factors identified in games, such as challenge, curiosity, control, and identity presentation” would help the course along. “Of course she wasn’t thinking,” writes Ms. Demeanor. “How could they adapt to such an environment when we’ve spent so many painstaking years doing just the opposite? Where were the tests? Where were the lectures? She could have killed them.” While the interactive style could be fun, Ms. Cheal’s students worried they were having too much fun. Students […]
I’m teaching technology integration as part of a teacher licensure program at the University of Richmond. The classes are small and made up primarily of career switchers. They often seem less than thrilled to be greeted by my baby face and currently very uncut hair. I try to make up for this by referencing my 97 careers, 13 children and then doing everything from the command line. Here’s one of the things we did on the first day of class that seemed to work pretty well. 4 Slide Sales Pitch Inspiration I read this on Dan’s blog way back when. I wanted to use it then and I’ve been waiting ever since1. Assignment You’ve got 25 minutes to come up with a four slide introduction for yourself. What should we know? What makes you stand out? Why are you here? These and other exciting questions will be answered. I pitched is as a mix between the standard first day of class introduction and impressing a perspective employer. I showed them a few examples from Dan’s page. That may have been a mistake as it seems to have intimidated a few and I wonder if it colored the design choices of some others2. Rationale This is a technology integration class. I need to know something about these people so I can […]
It has been interesting to see the excitement surrounding WolframAlpha . The new “Computational Knowledge Engine” called Wolfram|Alpha has gone through a full media cycle before it has even been unleashed on the world. It has been hyped as a “Google Killer” and denounced as snake oil, and we’re still at least a few days from release. The simple goal behind the engine is to connect searchers with precise information. Wolfram|Alpha’s search magic comes through a combination of natural language processing and a giant pool of curated data. That quote is from Radio Berkman (which is a very interesting podcast out of Harvard Law) and they’ve got an interview with the creator as well. Watch the abbreviated 10 minute version below. I’m not sure how well the idea of a curated semantic web will work (although I can understand that urge). This does really show a different way to think about searching for information. It really takes it beyond search, making it closer to exploration maybe. It’s similar in some ways to one of David Huynh’s Parallax project (of Simile Exhibit fame) which has been out for quite a while now. Video of that is below. Freebase Parallax: A new way to browse and explore data from David Huynh on Vimeo. While the media may be portraying Google as being […]
Get them here or make up your own. You’ve got two ways to play this game. 1. Give these to your students as warm ups at various times but with one of the words blocked out and have them decide what it should be. 2. When they’ve got the hang of guessing, they start making their own based on terms you’re studying. Should work for just about any subject and is far better than the standard “write a sentence using this term” vocabulary exercises. Don’t limit yourself (or them) to vocabulary words- think historical events, novels etc1. 1 In a way it reminds me of the “its the * meets the *” style of music/movie descriptions which would be another great way to get students thinking describing novels in interesting ways that draw connections to things they know. I swear I have something about this bookmarked in delicious somewhere.
I’m writing this stuff down in an attempt to hash it out in my own head. Feel free to help me find the right path (if there is one) or even decide if this is worth thinking about. Tool Exposure vs Literacy What we have going on today in many cases is the illusion of teaching literacy. In reality we’re just exposing students to tools1. I see quotes similar to this one all the time- The literacy tools of our day, today, include the web, netbooks, cell phones, cameras and recorders, etc. We are responsible for teaching students how to be literate. – source So essentially, we have to teach kids how to use all these things because that’s what it takes to make it in the world. In the past it was just reading, writing and some math so the only general tools you had to be able to use were a pen/pencil, paper and a book. Now the idea is, we have to teach students (and learn ourselves) how to use all this stuff, to learn which buttons to push on lots of different objects. Where these comments get messy for me is delineating what really requires different kinds of thought (bigger conceptual framework) and what is just today’s tool which needs only the mastery of the how […]
Here was the challenge The Challenge (as defined by the teacher): Students are beginning a book discussion of the novel A Separate Peace. These particular students struggle to demonstrate understanding of content through writing, but have recently become more motivated to read and respond to literature as their teacher has incorporated audio books and modern literature into the curriculum. The teacher shares that the class performs better when asked to discuss personal experiences and would like to incorporate the book themes of envy/conformity into the book discussions. These students in particular are not easily motivated to participate in class activities. Their teacher is looking for an original and fun way to have the students discuss and share while demonstrating understanding in a way that goes beyond writing an essay or taking a multiple choice test. So here’s my attack, and it’s one I’ve done before but I wanted to work through this in a few different ways to show how you could use what students are doing now with Facebook (and other services) to get them both analyzing and empathizing with the characters. Priming the Pump First, I’d start off by having the students discuss the subtle (and not so subtle) ways people play mind games on sites like Facebook (like cutting people out of photos, top friends lists, snide […]
Dan’s got another What Can You Do With This1 challenge up. This time it’s dealing with a numeric keypad. Basically, it’s what can you do (in a more lesson plan focused format this time) with an image he’s posted of a numeric door key pad2. I’m not helping much with Dan’s lesson plan but I’d actually have the challenge be to break the combination. I’d take bets on how long it’d take to break into this door if it had a one digit code, a two digit code, a three digit code and a four digit code (maybe go higher?). I’d write down the bet times- maybe graph them. Then I’d give them a chance to try it and I’d record the times when they did break in. If people had computers this would be an easy thing to do. Here’s the Excel spreadsheet I’d use (not very pretty – just a proof of concept). I’d lock the one I gave the kids with a password of course. It’s pretty simple stuff. It amused me though. Might be garbage for math class but maybe someone will get some other use out of it. Here’s a video if you’d like more explanation on the construction. It’s nothing fancy but it might inspire some other better ideas3. Excel as a lock 1 […]