Wednesday, July 9, 2008

one of the masses

My two classes this session (Language & Cognition and Second Language Acquisition) seem so different from last session's Intro to Research and Technology & Literacy. I'm curious if the difference is merely my SELF perception (yes, I'm pulling from Bruner already) being in mixed classes with master students and 2nd and 3rd year PhD students or merely my acquisition to life as one of the masses, a student. Or, is it possible? Could I be nostalgic for my avatar and Second Life? I'm off to virtual reality for awhile. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Finding Insight! 800/808 Professional Presentations

I LOVED this aspect of our course!!

The Tech & Literacy presentations were my favorite part of the first session.
It was so insightful to have an opportunity to watch everyone present his/her research interests. The material was informative and many of the presentations so engaging! I really got an in depth look at some frameworks and enhanced my understanding of some of those more elusive epistemologies.

What a perfect culminating activity. I only wish we had had the foresight to videotape the presentations. I'm sure they would be loads of fun to watch some evening in three or four years.

Good luck in the next summer session. I'm off now to see my family. Like you all, I've been missing them so much over the last five weeks.

Getting pulled over....on my bike?

I really try to be a good citizen. I cross at crosswalks and never cross against the light. I pay my taxes, albeit on the 15th of April, at midnight. I help little old ladies get their cats out of trees. So, I have to admit, it was more than a little humiliating when an Indiana City police officer pulled me over while I was riding my bicycle...and yes, I had a helmet on.

Merely a few minutes earlier, I had been honked at for entering an intersection waiting to take a left (It is a state law that cars must share the road with bicyclists). I finally did turn left and then riding down Philadelphia Street, I was almost side swiped! Drivers would not leave enough room for me to drive between parked cars and them. So, to protect my life, I took the the sidewalk, and broke the law.

Hence, not even 30 yards on the sidewalk and I couldn't believe that a policeman pulled over, got out, and motioned me to dismount my vehicle. He informed me that it was illegal to ride on the sidewalk. I explained that I would be willing to get back on the road if he could escort me to IUP to ensure my safety. In essence, he didn't appreciate my flip attitude, though I was actually being sincere. He insisted that I remove my vehicle from the sidewalk for the preotection of pedestrians. I looked to my right. I looked to my left. Not one single person was on the sidewalk. To make a long story short, he grudgingly let me go as I grudgingly put my life back in the hands of the drivers of Indiana.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Technology usurping me? Ouch!

Though you wouldn't know it by reading this electronic version, I've revised this blog entry three times.

Just kidding. But this brings up a great point that Dave Moeller talked about in "Computers in the Writing Classroom. " The computer has obliterated clear-cut distinctions between draft 1, draft 2, and draft 3." What else will it obliterate? Me, the instructor? Maybe. I've also learned from the other technology readings (check out Barker & Kemp, Mauriello & Pagnucci, and Strickland from our reading list) of the move from the teacher-centered to the student-centered-to the electronic centered classroom...... I guess this is like trying to stop the tide. It's happening. Adapt or change. The question is how? I do use the Internet, PowerPoint, jump drives, and email. But, I don't think this is really cutting edge technology anymore. What I really need to do is get to know my avatar and see how she copes.

Practicality and technology? Isn't this a paradox? Isn't technology not practical but innovative? I think this has been my challenge in incorporating technology into my classroom- I've been trying to be practical. I use a wireless computer lab. I can use PowerPoint and even show a Youtube video. I can use a Smart Board and even had one of the first electronic grid boards about 8 years ago- now that was neat -until it broke and the school couldn't afford to replace it. I haven't seen one since. More thoughts on this in a bit.

Technology based goals?

#1. Get my avatar dressed.
#2. Get the box off of my avatar's head.
#3. Become comfortable navigating Second Life
#4. Introduce my students to blogging
#5. Keep my webpage fresh and interactive

Is Carr being a bit dramatic?

Google making us Stupid?

I'm not sold on this yet. I still delve into my novels, reading hours at a time. I can read hundreds of pages of academic writings and understand the meanings, and yes, I do Google things I want to learn more about. I guess it comes down to breadth verses depth. But if I am gaining knowledge, is it a form of intellectual technological knowledge manipulated by electronic forces? This does sound a bit creepy...and invasive. Or, did I merely save myself the 20 minute drive, $2 in gas, $5 parking ticket, $1.89 cup of coffee to go to the library and look up Maryanne Wolf's book, "Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of Reading the Brain" because of the intrigue of Carr's allusion to her ideas? I popped her in Google and sure enough, learned something about her and her work. Is this making me stupid? Doubtful, at least for the time being.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

shhh....A Crush in Graduate School?

As I approach the classroom, I feel my face flush, my hands sweat, and my heart flutter. I walk in, sit down and lovingly take out my statistics book. Yes, Statistics. I caress this book. I long to hear the lecture on the clear, concise, and absolute meanings of statistics. I affectionately finger my index cards with relevant terminology. What a respite from research. What a break from technology. No interpretations. No virtual reality to negotiate. No avatar. No deeper meaning, just purity. This is more than an infatuation. I really love statistics. It so concrete. There are no implications, no analogies, no suppositions! Had you asked me merely two weeks ago, you would have heard moans and groans about the thought of statistics. Now, I get goosebumps and a titillation when I think of it. Could it be only because it's juxtaposed to epistemologies? Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, as the adage goes, "good things must come to an end." This crush, like most will be ephemeral. I see on syllabus that this relationship will last a meager three or four days before my time must be devoted to "disseminating research." So, for now, I'm relishing in this love affair with statistics before we must part ways.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

"Freshman 15" for a doctoral student?

I equate a first year doctoral student to a freshman undergrad. Therefore, I've been fearful of the notorious "Freshman 15" (pounds) the typical student gains. However, putting aside the jellyfish from the Co-op and cappuccino from Java City, it's doubtful I'll fall victim to a growing girth, considering my dining experiences the first two weeks in Indiana.

My husband and I were excited to try The Tandoor, an "authentic" Indian restaurant on Philadelphia Street.......NOT. If I were assigning stars, this would get a black hole. The Lamb Brianni was passable, but the chicken Makhani and Palak were really disappointing. We also went ethnic again with the Mexican restaurant, Cozumel. Stick with the chips, salsa, and margaritas. The burritos were suspect and the enchiladas came with a peculiar brown sauce.

Don't panic yet. Brewsters Ice Cream Shop earns 5 stars! Headed there now. This could be my initiation into the "Freshman 15."