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."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Writing & Reading (understanding literacy from a new perspective)

Yes, I wrote it backwards.

Before I came to IUP, I understood "literacy" as proficiency in reading and writing. But after my exposure to Gee, Freire & Macedo, Street, Smith, Ong, and Ohmann my previous understanding of literacy seems so insular! My comprehension now encompasses literacy as a social event (Brian Street's perspective) as well as Gee's explanation of literacy as the control of secondary discourse- I really understand what this means.

My goals as to literacy is to approach literacy not just from the written and the read word, but the social molding that contributes to that process as well as the application of that process, especially for second language learners who are literate in their own language but are "preliterate" in English.

Trying new technology with a box on my head

Okay, not only was I walking around with a box on my head, I was also only in a bra and panties. Regardless of the fact that this was my Avitar, it was humiliating. It's curious to me that I can be humiliated in a virtual reality......I see shades of a dissertation here. Regardless, once I become competent with Second Life, I can see how it will be effective with my students. They love technology and goofing around on the Internet is never "academic work" for them. They'll be learning and won't even know it.

My web page is terrific. I'm so satisfied with how it is developing. Hopefully, with a few more additions, I'll be finished. I had a professional web page before, but because I really didn't understand how to use the tools of "PageMaker" I stumbled around. Front Page has been great.

My current ideas for my dissertation?

This seems to me like a question one would pose to an elementary student: What do you want to be when you grow up?" Should I really know on day eight on my doctoral program my dissertation subject? Well....probably, yes. Research shows (and please don't get all epistemologically excited- I don't know from what perspective the research was approached, and if you really want the study, email me and I'll send you a copy) but it was found that children who knew what they wanted to do from a young age were much more likely to become successful earlier than those children who were unsure. I'd like to be one who becomes successful "earlier."

Therefore, once I knew I would pursue a doctorate degree, I started thinking about my interests in relation to teaching and ESL and possible avenues for a dissertation. Areas I am interested in right now are curriculum development in a multicultural and a multi-level classroom and the effectiveness of feedback on composition writing. How much is too much or too little? But stay interests may shift as I delve more into this program.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Myself as an IUP C&T student & my experiences and challenges

Well, I've completed my first week in the summer Composition and TESOL doctoral program here at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The program has been as intense as I've heard. However, I have been able to actually begin to enjoy learning.

The biggest challenge I've faced is having to relearn things I thought I already understood. For example, I really thought I understood what literacy, discipline, and discourse meant. My knowlede of these words have just shifted as I have a new paradigm of viewing some of this vocabulary. ....ummm shades of Kuhn turing everyone upside down with his theory of Scientific Revolution...... grin.......still real green in all of this.