Professor David Simpson (Carroll University, USA)
Professor of Psychology, Lover of reading, dogs, teaching and learning. Recently involved with six Carroll undergraduates in establishing international contacts throughout Europe as part of a project to attempt to create Virtual Global European Cultural Immersion Experiences. Have taught at Carroll for over 30 years teaching courses in Introductory Psychology, Experimental Social Psychology, Statistics and experimental Design, Psychological Testing and assessment, Research Seminar, and freshmen seminars (e.g. Web 2.0 Learning Tools).
Photos That Make Me Smile
Robin the Newf knows about FLOW.
In an interesting article entitled “The What, Why, When, and How of Teaching the Science of Subjective Well-Being” in the April 2014 issue of the journal Teaching of Psychology Ed Diener and Christi Napa Scollon point out that in the past few years there have been over 10,00 publications per year on the topic of happiness. Anyone interested in teaching a course about Subjective Well-Being (I myself developed and taught such a course once for Freshmen) might find this article especially useful. It includes sample discussion questions, sample syllabus topics, exercises for enhancing well-being, and scholarly references. Here are webpages describing related work of two scholars I admire Richard Davidson and Sonja Lyubormirsky.
Some relatively recent “SWB” research is summarized in this Happify link.
Below are some germane videos I have come across that made me laugh, smile, or think and that I might use were I to teach such a course again.
Christine Smallwood has a thoughtful review in the June 9 & 16 2014 New Yorker “Ghosts in the Stacks” of Phyllis Rose’s The Shelf: From LEQ to LES.
Smallwood raises some issues about reading of considerable interest to me:
- how we choose books today has been dramatically changed by technology (our preferences and reading habits are monitored and curated
- what scholars read and how they read has changed (a distinction is made between close reading and surface reading)
I was appropriately admonished by her last paragraph:
And what about the books right in front of you that were published, even purchased, but, for all you know, might as well not have existed? My own bookshelves are filled with books I haven’t read, and books I read so long ago that they look at me like strangers. Can you have FOMO about your own life?…The alphabet is great, but there is nothing quite as arbitrary as one’s own past choices. Reading more books begins at home.”
Timeout on buying new books to read until I review what is filling my home office bookshelves. This is also a wonderful opportunity to use my LibrarianPro app.
Hmm—32 books in shelf # 1 beginning with father-in-law’s 1927 copy of the Best Known Works of Edgar Allan Poe and ending with Philip Tetlock’s Expert Political Judgment. How delightful!
Commencement 2014 was a month ago. I have already begun preparations for teaching in the Fall (how the years have flown by since February, 1978 when I taught my first class here).
From time to time I disconnect and disengage from my seemingly always being online and from focusing on productivity. Try it —-you may discover that you are more addicted than you think. Can you enjoy the twittering of the birds without thinking about this wonderful Twitter guide?:)
It is easier to so do during the summer, since I opt NOT to teach or to commit myself to grant work during that time. As author Naomi S. Baron acknowledges in her thoughtful book Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World, one needs to be alert to the personal, cognitive, and social consequences of “24/7″ connectivity.
Is Google making us “stoopid” (sic) or smarter? How can I ever find time to explore, evaluate, merge into my teaching the 2000 + learning tools which Jane Hart has alerted us to? I resolve these questions by stepping back, engaging in intense physical activity, reading widely, playing, and consulting the Newf!
This thought piece has been slightly revised from a blog piece I wrote a number of years ago for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel under the name “Curious David” when I was a community educational blogger for them.
I’m nervous and excited. Time to take off my invisibility cloak. Tomorrow (Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 8:00 a.m.) I meet in person for the first time with my 20 first-year students. What an immense responsibility to be their first professor!
We’re going to explore “21rst century” learning tools such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networks, virtual worlds, and YouTube. The idea for this course emerged from my experiences writing this “Curious David” blog column. Last year’s opportunity to write for “JSonline” was transformative for me as I learned from elementary and secondary school teachers, high school students, virtual school advocates, retired faculty and readers about innovations, challenges and successes they faced promoting learning.
In this first-year seminar we shall focus on some of the 25 free learning tools described by educator Jane Hart. [Here is an updated list I would draw upon were I to teach this course again.] As we examine these learning tools we hope to answer questions such as these:
- To what degree can these web tools truly enhance student learning?
- To what degree are they just “cool” tools?
- Could they be used to develop critical thinking?
- Do they improve or degrade communication skills?
- Might they be applied to fostering cross-cultural or international understanding?
- Might they strengthen or weaken writing skills?
- What are their weaknesses or dangers?
- Should they complement or replace 20th century learning skills/tools?
- How can one evaluate their effectiveness?
[It seems to me it should be possible to produce an evidence-based paper like this to address the questions above.]
My intent is to assist students in the transition from high school to college—and to investigate Web 2.0 learning tools which might be useful across classes and in the workplace. I want to involve them in educational experiences that will develop and enhance abilities in reading, writing, reflecting, presenting, thinking, and producing. Writing exercises will include short in-class and out-of-class reaction papers, journals, blogs/wikis, and exams. Presentations will be both formal and informal; individual and in small groups. Collaboration will be both with fellow students and with me.
Whispered Words of Wisdom from My Mom at Her Memorial Service
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Sun City, Arizona
Good Morning! I am David Simpson, Pat’s oldest (perhaps Prodigal ) son sometimes called “David D.” by her. A Professor of Psychology for the past 35 years, I am wont to speak for 50 minutes or to twitter for 140 characters, but here, as she would wish, I shall be uncharacteristically brief.
My mother was a life-long Teacher. She taught me how to read. As soon as I learned how to read, I tried to teach Baby Bruce. Even today I love reading and teaching.
Mom taught me about life and about death and how to pray the 18th century Children’s prayer (personalized version):
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take
God bless Mommie and Daddy and Grandpa and Grandma
Connie Sue and David and Brucie and Queenie
And EVERY BODY!!!!! Amen
My mother was both simple and complex. She was a lady —prim and proper. She was good-humored, reflective, energetic, slim and vivacious. She loved children and music and clowns and cows and rainbows and especially took pride in her own children— respecting, accepting, treasuring, and nourishing their differences. Mom was a worrier—especially about the well-being of her guests. I do not doubt that she is worried right now about this service and that the guests feel welcome.
Mom leaves me with these whispered words of wisdom:
- Don’t worry about doing THE Right Thing, but do A right thing.
- Live, Love, Learn, and ——Give.
- Be Good (for Goodness’ Sake).
- Be Nice to your Brother and Sister.
- Be Patient.
- Be Kind
- Be Giving.
- Be Forgiving.
- Be of Good Cheer.
- Be You.
- Let it Be.
Obituary: Patricia Ann Stover (Simpson) Swinger
(Thanks to Sister Connie Sue and Brother Bruce for writing this).
February 2, 1924–April 18, 2014/ Sun City, AZ
Born in Robinson, Illinois to Nelson T. and Beulah Copley Stover, she had two siblings: Robert Nelson Stover and James Copley Stover. Her summers were spent at Interlochen, a world-renown music school/camp where she studied a number of instruments, including flute, piano, and organ. Her life centered around her family, her faith, and her music—not necessarily in that order.
After graduating from Robinson High School, she attended Oberlin College in Ohio where she met and later married Frank C. Simpson of Cleveland, OH. Frank was in the United States Navy, and soon after they were married June 30, 1945, she moved to FL to be close to him. Three children were born to them: Connie Sue (born in 1946), David Durell (born in 1949), and Bruce Copley (born in 1953). Pat was a stay-at-home-mom until Bruce entered kindergarten; she then began a teaching career in Ohio, and completed her student teaching and her Bachelor’s Degree through Kent State University in Ohio before returning to the Buffalo area to teach at The Park School for a number of years.
Frank’s job with General Electric and later with several steel companies in Niles, OH, and N. Tonawanda, NY, led to numerous family moves, and when Bruce was to enter the 9th grade, the Frank, Pat, and Bruce finally settled in Williamsville, NY near Buffalo, NY. Pat was involved in church music, church activities, teaching activities, and, of course, school activities of Bruce as he moved through high school. Frank died in New York in 2001.
In the meantime, Pat had moved to Sun City, AZ where she renewed acquaintance with Paul Swinger whom she married in 1994. Ironically, they had attended all twelve years of school together in Robinson, IL. Small world….Paul’s family consisted of two daughters– Vicki (and Leon) Midgett and Paula (and Randy) Britt, and their daughters and grandchildren.
Throughout her life, Pat maintained her interest in music, specifically the organ and the piano. She continued to take lessons throughout her life and was the organist and director of several choirs as well as mastering the hand bells of Paul’s church in Sun City. She traveled to various churches in Europe as a result of her membership in the American Guild of Organists, which regularly traveled overseas; she was able to play the European church organs of composers such as Bach, Handel, Beethoven, etc. She and Paul did extensive traveling after they married: Hawaii, Alaska, and Europe were some of their adventures. Pat continued with her music playing at Royal Oaks and elsewhere until macular degeneration curtailed that activity.
After she moved to Royal Oaks in Sun City, she took up golf and made many friends through that activity. She continued to golf throughout her life–and was quite good at it, too, and modestly had trophies to prove it. Part of an octogenarian golf team, she will be missed by her golfing buddies.
In February, Pat celebrated her 90th birthday with all three of her children and her friends in attendance. On April 18, 2014, she died peacefully at home in the company of family members. Services will be held in Bellevue Heights Baptist Church at 11:00 am the morning of May 17, 2014; and interment will be next to husband Paul Swinger (who died in 2008) in the columbarium of Bellevue Heights Baptist Church, a church where she was active in church activities from volunteering for the annual Rose Festival to serving on various church committees and participating in Bible studies and activities involving numerous churches in the Sun City area.
In addition to her children Connie Sue (and Keith), David (and Debbie) and Bruce (Kai) and many special friends, Pat will be missed by her grandchildren Andrew (and Misty Bowman and their two boys Nicholas and Daniel) of Hinwil, Switzerland; Blaise Connor Simpson of Frederick, MD; and Lisa (and Christopher Miller and their son Bryan) of Bucyrus, OH.
I have long had a fascination with languages. In high school I studied Latin for two years and followed that with two years of Spanish. When I graduated from Oberlin College in 1971 with an A.B. in Psychology I also had studied the equivalent of a Spanish major (including credits earned at the University of Guanajuato, Mexico). While a graduate student at Ohio State University I marveled at the language fluency of foreign fellow graduate students (I spent 6 months doing research at the University of Bergen, Norway and was humbled by the challenges of learning Norwegian and by how much more about the United States Norwegians knew compared to me!). A critical component of these language learning experiences was having opportunities to be exposed to the literature, theater, art, history, and cultural contexts of these languages. It will be interesting to discover what added value such tools as Rosetta Stone software contribute to efforts to internationalize this campus. I have yet to see convincing empirical evidence that the software lives up to its heavily advertised promises. I think something like teletandem may be a more practical way to provide language immersion. I greatly admire a number of thought leaders who write well and think deeply about authentically internationalizing education. Reading two books recently, Richard E. Nisbett‘s The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently… and Why and Malcolm Gladwell’s Outlier’s: The Story of Success, has revitalized my interest in relationships between language, culture, thought, and behavior. Richard Nisbett, whom Gladwell acknowledges as a major influence on his thinking that resulted in this book, was an invited speaker at Carroll University on March 24, 2009. Books such as these shaped motivated my tracking much more regularly global issues in higher education.
Today is Mother’s Day in the United States—my first since the passing on of my Mother on April 18 of this year. Some variant of this important Day of Recognition is of course celebrated throughout the world. Please pass on these three simple thoughts to your Mom—as I do to mine.
Ek is lief vir jou, Mamma! Dankie, Mamma. Ek is jammer, Ma!
- Të dua, mami! Ju faleminderit, mami. Më vjen keq, mami!
- أنا أحبك يا أمي! شكرا لك يا أمي. أنا آسف يا أمي!
- Mən səni sevirəm, ana! , Ana təşəkkür edirəm. Mən Ana üzgünüm!
- Maite zaitut, ama! Eskerrik asko, ama. Sentitzen dut, ama!
- আমি তোমায় ভালোবাসি, মা! , মা আপনাকে ধন্যবাদ. আমি মাকে দুঃখিত!
- Я люблю цябе, мама! Дзякуй, мама. Мне вельмі шкада, мама!
- Volim te, mama! Hvala ti, mama. Žao mi je, mama!
Обичам те, мамо! Благодаря ти, мамо. Съжалявам, мамо!
- Volim te, mama! Hvala ti, mama. Žao mi je, mama!
- Mám tě ráda, mami! Děkuji, mami. Je mi líto, mami!
- Jeg elsker dig, mor! Tak, mor. Jeg er ked af det, mor!
- Ik hou van je, mam! Dank je, mam. Het spijt me, mam!
- I love you, Mom! Thank you, Mom. I’m sorry, Mom!
Mi amas vin, panjo! Dankon, panjo. Mi bedaŭras, Panjo!
- Ma armastan sind, ema! Aitäh, ema. Vabandust, ema!
- Rakastan sinua, äiti! Kiitos, äiti. Olen pahoillani, äiti!
- Je t’aime, maman! Merci, maman. Je suis désolé, maman!
- მე შენ მიყვარხარ, Mom! მადლობა, Mom. მე ვწუხვარ, Mom!
- Ich liebe dich, Mama! Danke, Mama. Es tut mir leid, Mama!
- Σ ‘αγαπώ, μαμά! Σας ευχαριστώ, μαμά. Λυπάμαι, μαμά!
मैं तुमसे प्यार करता हूँ, माँ! , माँ धन्यवाद. मैं, माँ माफ कर दो!
Szeretlek, anya! Köszönöm, anya. Sajnálom, anya!
Ég elska þig, mamma! Þakka þér, mamma. Fyrirgefðu, mamma!
Aku mencintaimu, Bu! Terima kasih, Bu. Maafkan aku, Bu!
Is breá liom tú, Mam! Go raibh maith agat, Mam. Tá brón orm, Mam!
Ti voglio bene, mamma! Grazie, mamma. Mi dispiace, mamma!
Aku seneng kowe, angel! Matur nuwun, angel. Kula nyuwun pangapunten, angel!
ខ្ញុំស្រឡាញ់អ្នកម៉ាក់! សូមអរគុណកូនម៉ាក់។ ខ្ញុំពិតជាសោកស្តាយកូនម៉ាក់!
나는 당신을 사랑 해요, 엄마! 엄마, 감사합니다. 미안 해요, 엄마!
ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າຮັກທ່ານ, ບ້ານມອມ! ຂໍຂອບໃຈທ່ານ, ບ້ານມອມ. ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າຂໍອະໄພ, ບ້ານມອມ!
Es mīlu tevi, mamma! Paldies, māmiņ. Piedod, māt!
Aš tave myliu, mama! Ačiū, mama. Aš atsiprašau, mama!
Те сакам, мамо! Ви благодарам, мамо. Жал ми е, мамо!
I love you, mama! Terima kasih, mama. Saya minta maaf, mama!
Jeg elsker deg, mamma! Takk, mamma. Jeg beklager, mamma!
میں آپ سے محبت، ماں! شکریہ، ماں. میں، ماں معافی چاہتا ہوں
Kocham cię, mamo! Dziękuję, mamo. Przykro mi, mamo!
Eu te amo, mamãe! Obrigado, mãe. Sinto muito, mãe!
Te iubesc, mamă! Mulțumesc, mamă. Îmi pare rău, mamă!
Я люблю тебя, мама! Спасибо, мама. Мне очень жаль, мама!
Волим те, мама! Хвала, мама. Жао ми је, мама!
Mám ťa rada, mami! Ďakujem, mami. Je mi ľúto, mami!
Te amo, mamá! Gracias, mamá. Lo siento, mamá!
Tôi yêu mẹ! Cảm ơn mẹ. Tôi xin lỗi, mẹ ơi!
Seni seviyorum, anne! Teşekkür ederim anne. Ben, anne üzgünüm!
Jag älskar dig, mamma! Tack, mamma. Jag är ledsen, mamma!
ฉันรักคุณแม่! ขอบคุณแม่ ฉันขอโทษแม่!
My thoughts may be even fuzzier this Saturday morning as I sit here in my office—a little over 24 hours before your Commencement Day. I have just returned from a three hour meeting in my role of Faculty Observer at a Board of Trustees Meeting, and I was most impressed by the poise, courage, compassion, and intelligence of the remarks made by your Student Senate President. Now is a good time to gather together some last thoughts about and for you. Tomorrow will be a joyful and tearful day as relationships change. Because of my
age seniority good looks length of time at Carroll and rank of Full Professor, I march at the front of the line both at Baccalaurete (behind Dean Byler) and Commencement (following Faculty Marshall Pamela Pinahs-Schultz). That gives me an ideal seating position for seeing and hearing those of you in choir, but forces me to be on my best behavior (awake, disconnected from my Ipad, resisting wearing my Brewers’ or Carroll College hats). For those of you I have met, I have done my best to teach you well but I am only human. Every student I teach is different, special, and teaches me. You have enriched my life and I welcome the opportunity as you become alumni to continue and perhaps to even expand upon our relationships. Thanks for the lessons. Many people (family, staff, faculty, administrators, and trustees) have worked very hard, in addition to you, to try and provide you with the best education that Carroll can provide both within and outside of the classroom. I often think that we ought to set aside a time for recognizing those unsung “guardian angels” who have done their best to make Carroll a caring community and a better place. As time and circumstances allow join them in giving back (without expectation of receiving “conovocation points”) your time, wisdom, networking resources, prospective student recommendations, and examples of skills or values developed here at Carroll that serve you well. Give Carroll its due credit when it has earned it, but also offer constructive criticism when the institution has failed to meet your expectations for it. Seek out opportunities to do “a” right thing. Use your mind to think carefully and critically but don’t forget that there are indeed many times when it is appropriate to follow one’s heart. I envy your youth and the many opportunities that lie ahead to share your talents and to make the world a better place. Stay in touch. Oh, yes… Here is a final exam. With many fond memories, David Simpson, Professor of Psychology
What does a professor DO? My answer to this question changes as a function of when you ask me—at different times of the academic year and developmentally at different times in my professional career. I began to address this question in my first blog for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in October of 2007 when I was trying to explain to my father that a professor does more than sit in his office and read books (what a heavenly thought though). At that time I had the pleasure of being one of their online educational community columnists for a year.
One of the major demands on my academic life over and above teaching six classes per year, serving on committees,engaging in scholarly activity, academic advising, and mundane organizational responsibilities is writing letters of recommendation—an important task which consumes increasing larger amounts of my time. Having been a faculty member at Carroll for more than thirty-five years, I have gotten to know and be known by an increasingly larger number of students, staff, faculty, and alumni. I receive an unusually large number of requests from former students who graduated a number of years ago and who now are changing life directions (I truly welcome hearing from you—not only when you need something from me:)). The venue of these requests has changed from being asked in person and (in advance) to materials being placed under my office door, email, social media, telephone calls, Face Book messages, email forms from graduate programs–and occasionally via owl! I must admit I like staying in touch with former students, and the ways I keep connected with them have multiplied with the of use of email and the increased use of social networking tools such as Face Book and Linkedin and David-in-Carroll-land.
There are temptations to streamline, to cut corners, become more efficient, achieve that elusive goal of an empty email box. I conservatively estimate that I was called upon to write 5-6 letters for at least 75 individuals this past year. Easy solutions which come to mind (some of which I have experimented with) include using a template or form letter, using a rating scale or check list, keeping the letter short, limiting the number of letters written per student, being very selective about for whom I write (—or just saying NO), limiting the amount of time written per letter, limiting the format to twitter restrictions of 140 characters, using a haiku format, and/or teaching students ways that they can make my letter-writing easier. Alas, I wish that I were able to follow my own advice!
There exists quite a literature of the art (how does one write convincing letter?) and science (how valid and reliable are they?) of writing letters of recommendations. One of my favorites that I return to time and again immortalizes some ambiguous phrasing I strive to avoid—but am often tempted to use.
Time to go to a meeting of the Board of Trustees in my capacity as a Faculty Oberver to the Board. This will probably be the last time I serve in this interesting capacity at Carroll. I’ve enjoyed getting to know and be known by these dedicated people.
Hope I can stay alert; it was quite late when we returned from the Brewers/ Yankees game at 1:00 a.m! Maybe I’ll plug into this song on my headphone.
Original 2009 piece follows here:
I’ve begun developing a presentation I’m scheduled to give on January 16 to Carroll faculty tentatively titled “Pioneering Web 2.0 Learning Tools with Carroll Students: Educational Technology of the Future, Catching Up with What Fifth-Graders Already Know, or Another Fad? “I hope to share with interested members of the Carroll community some of the Web 2.0 learning tools and resources that I have explored this past semester(Download FYS 100 Section U Syllabus – Dr, David Simpson Labor Day Version PDF with my students (who were especially playful with their photoshop skills).
I am toying with the idea of showing what I can NOW do in some kind of class—possibly for alumni or faculty. I would draw upon my knowledge gained since 2009 about the application of technology learning tools—especially drawing upon resources like this? Anybody interested? If so, email me—or send me a message via owl.
I’ve been doing a lot of time traveling lately partly due to my bed time reading of the marvelous 900+ page paperback The Time Traveler’s Almanac. I’m tempted to try out Mr. Peabody’s Wayback machine.
This is also the time of year where I am flooded with memories of my time at Carroll (and my (in)formative years at Oberlin College and Ohio State). And I whistle a lot while walking across campus as I process this flood of memories. Once I get the semester successfully put to bed (with fond farewells to graduates at Commencement on Sunday), I need to turn my attention to sorting through photos, thoughts and memories in preparation for Mom’s memorial service on May 17.
Little Brother Bruce and Big Sister Connie Sue kindly sent me all the photos from Mom’s Sun City Residence. Can you pick out Connie, David, and Bruce as they looked in 1955? I wonder what we were thinking then? I think that I had gotten over my desire to run away from home because of the birth of Bruce and was trying to teach him how to read. I hadn’t yet started teasing Sis, though I may already have inadvertently locked her in the bathroom. Here are some of the events shaping our thinking then.
Many WordPress bloggers have shared their vicarious and first-hand experiences with autism. A number of books attempt to describe the autistic experience through fiction and there are many films dealing with this topic. Below, Keri J. Johnson, one of my Carroll University research students shares her observations as a mother.
According to Autism Speaks a staggering 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), with an even higher amount of boys with 1 in 42. Raising and caring for a child on the spectrum is challenging both emotionally and physically. All any parent wishes is the best for their child, and when you see your child struggle it can be heartbreaking. This is my journey raising a child with ASD.
My son, Tyler is a charming boy with a bright future. He likes to play video games, watch television, swim, and play sports. He is passionate about weather, and can name all the clouds in the sky. He has an endearing quirkiness about him that you will notice as soon as you start talking to him.
When Tyler turned two years old I noticed he did things differently than other children his age. Although he could speak well, he did not comprehend what others were telling him. For example, he would understand if you asked him if he wanted something to eat, but if you told him to put the block on top of the table he would give you a blank look. I also noticed at playgroups that he would play differently than other children his age. Instead of driving the toy cars around on the floor, he would line them up. Also when the other kids were playing in a preschool playhouse Tyler just kept opening and closing the door as if he needed to know how the door was put together.
I knew all children at his age had tantrums, but Tyler’s were different. They were full-on meltdowns that could last for over an hour, and would leave both him and me completely exhausted. Looking back now I can see these episodes as having been red flags, but at the time I didn’t recognize them as such. I made excuses for him saying to myself and to others that he was just very passionate with a very analytical mind—maybe a future engineer. I decided to bring the subject up at his next doctor’s appointment, in hopes that the doctor would ease my concerns.
I took Tyler to his three year well-child checkup and communicated my concerns to the pediatrician’s attention. I point blank asked the doctor if he thought it was possible that Tyler was autistic. He said that he believed it was very possible.
With this diagnosis my world stopped. I came home from the appointment and cried. As a parent you have so many hopes and dreams for your children, and when you get a diagnosis such as this all you can think of is what kind of future will they have. Needless to say I was very angry, but I knew I needed to do everything I could to help him. I had to learn everything I could about autism.
I enrolled him into an early childhood school program and he was assigned both an occupational therapist and a speech therapist. Things were not always easy for Tyler; meltdowns ranged from 10 to 60 minutes and were extremely exhausting for everyone.
By the time Tyler was in elementary school I was getting called every day to come and help calm him. I would hold him in my arm and just rock with him back and forth until the meltdown would subside. Sometimes the meltdowns were so bad that I would break down and start crying right along with him. Anything and everything could trigger a meltdown such as smells, sounds, and having to wait in line. He would always feel miserable afterwards, and I knew I had to find a way to help him.
I looked to no avail for therapists who would work with children with mild autism. Frustratingly, there was just no one who was willing work with him. I felt abandoned and completely alone, but I never gave up. I started to research different calming and coping techniques that I could teach him.
Social stories were a huge success, because he was able to learn how to cope in different situations. I found that tickling his arm and back soothed him and could stop a meltdown before it started. Schedules were also very important, and seemed to agree with him. I had made him a schedule that told him what he needed to do from the time he woke up until he went to bed. I discovered that he had a need for constant manipulation. He learned how to finger knit, and the feeling of the yarn and the movement of his fingers helped soothe him.
As a result of these interventions, Tyler was doing really well at home, but school was still very hard on him. His anxiety over homework, tests, and talking to other students made for very hard days, and he would come home emotionally exhausted. It was very sad because he knew he did not want to act that way.
Tyler would ask me why he was like this, and why was he different than the other kids. These questions broke my heart. It was hard as a parent to see him this way because I knew he had so much potential. His teacher suggested I look into putting him on medications. I was extremely upset that she would suggest such a thing, and I fought it for several months. However, I eventually decided it might be the best thing for him.
Tyler went through over a dozen different types of medication with many different side effects until we found some that worked for him. Although he seemed to be doing better on meds, I often wondered if I was doing the right thing. I felt that they were just a bandaid or temporary fix, and that he might never learn how to cope on his own. I wanted him to be able to self-soothe without relying on medication.
During fourth grade I started to read about the benefits of a gluten free diet. I really wanted to find an alternative to medication, and thus we started our gluten free journey. I am not going to lie; the first couple months were extremely difficult, but I knew we needed to stick with it. After three long months I started to notice a difference in Tyler. His anxiety was lower, he was happier, and his meltdowns were nonexistent.
Fifth grade was very good for Tyler. He was happy, had good grades, and not one meltdown the entire year! I was thrilled for him.
He is now almost finished with the sixth grade, and has been medication free for over a year. He is still gluten free, and doing wonderfully. It has been a long journey, but we never gave up.
Keri J. Johnson will graduate from Carroll University on Mothers’ Day, May 11, 2014. She is writing a book about her lessons learned with Tyler.
I’m in the process of revisiting several resources that have influenced my choice of online teaching tools. This post focuses on the book by Steve Johnson (2011)—a thoughtful and concise compendium of his thinking about today’s “tech-savvy” (high school age) learners and how to prepare them for their digital future. He systematically evaluates over 30 “etools” he judges to be useful for engendering collaboration, creation, and publication across the curriculum, and offers concrete suggestions for how to get started (and how to keep up) as an instructor. Among the many tools that he recommends that I have personally found especially useful for my teaching at the college/university level are the following:
- I have grown to like Animoto as a vehicle for creating and sharing video-like productions, despite its constraints of needing to use Adobe Flash and accepting only MP3 formatted music files. I have elected to have an educational account with them. Here is an example of how I have used it.
- WordPress is now my blogging tool of choice and the blogging tool that I teach to students. I myself move back and forth between WordPress.com (“David in Carroll Land”) and WordPres.org (“Curious David in Carroll Land”). The latter gives me far more creative freedom (e.g. the use of plugins) but at an additional cost (both financial and time I need to devote to its higher learning-curve). Here is an example of a WordPress.com blog piece in which my student research assistants shared “sand box” activities while they explored for me the value of some beta version software which showed promise to me of eventually being useful in the classroom. Here, on the other hand, is a recent blog piece co-written with my students using the WordPress.org blogging software (which I still am at an early stage of mastering). Without doubt, my best etool evaluators are my highly trained student assistants.
- Google Docs is becoming an increasingly important tool for me. Indeed, I would love to devote the time to create a Google Apps course for our students. Richard Bryne, an educator thought leader whom I follow on Twitter and whose contributions I benefit from, has created a wonderful comprehensive guide to this tool.
Presently my students are more facile with this learning tool than I!. We regularly use it as a means of collaborating and sharing documents —photos, videos, journal articles, rough drafts, spreadsheets. Just today one of my senior research seminar students shared with me, on Google Drive, a wonderful video she had made of her interviewing her twelve-year-old son about his experiences with a form of Asperger syndrome. Keri and I shortly shall be incorporating this video and her insights about parenting such a special child into a blog piece as a first step in assisting her in writing a book to share her knowledge.
I’m going to miss these two student friends/students/best teachers/fellow conspirators when they depart campus on May 11 as graduates. Thanks, Phoumany and Ryan for all the laughter and learning and for making my Carroll experiences more joyful.
Things we’ve done in Dr. Simpson’s Office Over the Past Few Years: (red items added by DumbleDave)
- Catalogued over 1,000 books (Dr. Simpson most likely has read them all!)
- Decorated the office for his birthday.
- Decorated every other holiday.
- Played Temple Run.
- We wrote a book!
- Played nose-goes when the phone rang.
- Learned how to use fountain pens.
- Created and Conducted Rogers Hospital Climate Survey.
- Almost got killed… multiple times.
- Utilized all furniture in the office.
- Became PC savy and MAC savy.
- Played with random trinkets.
- Conducted “Power of Ten” study.
- Researched Purple People Eater
15. Helped Evaluate Carroll University’s Alumni National Day of Service Food Drive
16. Wrote a winning grant to received IPads to develop a Virtual European Immersion course.
17. Tooled around with most of Jane Hart’s technology learning tools.
18. Made sure that Dr. Simpson ate his lunch.
19. Laughed; cried; cheered; booed.
Five years ago I was quite hesitant to use Twitter. My student assistants found little value in using it. They failed to see differences between it and, say, the “update function” of Facebook. I read two books about it, consulted several Carroll alumni who DO use it (thanks Chris G, Lori S, and Fred K.), and studiedt fellow academics’ twittering experiences documented in publications which I closely read and value. I objected to the Procrustean process of having my thoughts, ideas, and communications reduced to 140 characters or less (“thought bytes”). Also, I was petrified at my inability to decrease or at least slow down my communication and information acquisition activities. I very much need and treasure having time to reflect, to read, to assimilate, and to create.
Since then, however, I have reconsidered Twitter as a learning tool. “To Twit or not to Twit?” for me is no longer the appropriate way to frame the issue. Rather, the questions for me are:
- Under what circumstances might Twitter be enable my capabilities for more successful teaching?
- How can I use Twitter to improve my ability to find answers to questions I am investigating?
- How can I minimize the costs to me (time away from other things; wheat to chaff ratio) of my using Twitter?
- How can I best manage the tool?
Today Twitter is an invaluable personal learning and communication resource that I have fine-tuned for my particular needs. Currently I choose to follow 78 “thought leaders” whom I very much admire. I am in the process of comparing several Twitter-management apps (e.g. Tweetdeck; Tweetbot) which show promise to help me optimize the efficiency of my use of the tool. Now I need to consider implementing these Advanced Twitter Tips I encountered tonight!
Now that I’ve returned to writing this blog with some regularity, I’ve begun to have a sense of the directions I hope to take it—or it to take me. My present thoughts are to write more regularly.
I have just finished rereading Janet Majure’s wonderful Teach Yourself Visually WordPress, and have benefited much from studying online WordPress instructional resources. Consequently, I feel I now have an ability to master and manage this WordPress.com blogging software. Once the semester ends I’ll have a summer free to think, read, write, and reflect before my teaching obligations of year # 36 at Carroll resume.
I’m thinking that one distinct thread of writing I want to explore will deal with technology applications to higher education. Another will have the theme of “David in Carroll Land” (perhaps co-authored with invited students, alumni, or other members of the Carroll family). A third will deal with whatever comes to mind (as has been in the past). Some of my most creative bursts of ideas are engendered after a long summer’s day of manual labor cutting grass, chain-sawing, and being engaged in other outdoor physical or recreational activity.
A fourth focus will deal with contemporary or local issues, and a fifth will just be intended to provoke thinking.
I welcome any reader feedback about these new directions. Am I being too ambitious? Will I have any readers? Is this a positive direction to go—or is it, in fact, directionless?
Blogs post topics that I’ve been considering writing about in the near future include:
- How can students best be served by academic advising?
- My last lecture (things I would finally say)
- Thank you, Diederik Stapel, for the lessons you taught me by your dishonesty.
- Global Education
- My most (in)formative learning experiences
- Lessons learned from Robin the Newf
- (Oh) Dear Carroll Alumni
- On Immortality
- How technology can distance/enable/empower/enslave us
- Reaching out, reaching within
- The man who loves
- Loss of innocence
- The psychology of … (curiosity, religion)
- Why I
don’tgive a Twit
- Where do writing ideas come from?
- What I wanna be when I grow up?
- Distinguishing Science from Pseudo Science
- Language—Leaving no Rosetta stone unturned
Which of these would readers like to see and, hopefully, discuss? I welcome your input, encouragement, or evidence that i have a readership.
Robin the Newf is a guest collaborator tonight. Because of her presence (at my feet) I’ve been ruminating tonight about canine companions. My father-in-law, Walter G. Schmidt, also loved dogs. In fact his love of dogs was extolled in his eulogy given by the Reverend Charles Valenti-Heine:
…”And that world, for Walter, included his beloved Canines. Lucy, Canis, Oaf, Chaucer, Trollope, and Freud, the last named because Walter was told that the companionship of a good dog was of greater worth to people than any other therapy! The one time I remember Walter speaking in church was when Trollope died, and he stood up during joys and concerns to opine: ‘If there is a place in heaven for Presbyterians, then surely there is a place for greyhounds.’
To which I add, amen!
Rudyard Kipling warned us of how dogs can capture your heart!
Do dogs match their owners in physical appearance? in personality? There is an interesting body of research dealing with these questions. Here is one citation. Here is another entire article (Download Roy). Under what circumstances does pet ownership reduce stress? increase it? Why in the world did I spend $250 tonight on pet treats? Perhaps I still am affected by my first reading of Argos‘ blind enduring faith. Robin, the patient gentle giant, knows.
These might be questions to give my Introductory Psychology students to encourage them to conduct a scholarly literature review. Perhaps in the process I’ll teach them about Evernote, Diigo, Delicious, Zotero, and Google Scholar and have them help me compare the strengths and weaknesses of these tools in addition to comparing the kinds (and quality) of answers they get using Internet search engines versus library data bases.
Here is some anecdotal evidence provided by one of my playful students that owners like me (though there is a debate between Robin and me as to who is the owner) may start looking like their dogs!
Trivia question from Robin:
What was the name of the Newf who accompanied Lewis and Clark?
Answer is here if you fail to find out—and even if you do.
This is that interesting time of the academic year when I am trying to bring the semester to a soft-landing and concomitantly prepare for the fall semester. This summer I hope to revisit several books that have especially informed me about uses of digital tools for teaching—especially Michelle Pacansky-Brock’s Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies, Susan Manning and Kevin E. Johnson’s The Technology Toolbelt for Teaching, Steve Johnson’s Digital Tools for Teaching, and Julie Lindsay and Vicki A. Davis’ inspirational Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds: Move to Global Collaboration One Step at a Time.
The writings of Alec Couros through his informative Becoming a Networked Learner and Curtis J. Bonk have impacted how I teach, how I learn, and how I “reach out” to others via social media. The challenge continues how to find balance between tool use and being controlled or constrained rather than enabled by the tool.
I see that Jane Hart has opened nominations for her 8th annual Top-Tools-for-Learning List. I think I’ll withhold my vote until early this fall so that I have more time to better answer the following critical questions:
- Which of these tools will enhance my research and my communication capabilities?
- Which of these tools do I want all my students to know how to use? (Which, on the other hand, are better suited for my advanced research assistants?)
- Which of these tools will be around in four years?
- Which of these tools serve me best when I am engaged in my role as partner of Schneider Consulting?
- Among subsets of tool types, which best serve my needs?
- How much learning time do I or my students need to invest to use these tools?
- How portable are these tools across the browsers I most frequently use?
- How portable are these tools across the hardware and different operating systems I most frequently use?
- How much of the attractiveness of these tools to me is simply due to their “wow factor” and the fun they engender?
- Will mastering this tool increase the likelihood of my becoming a more effective teacher or enhance my ability to learn.
Today I explored the Apps on my Mac that begin with the letter “A.”One of my favorite (but underused) apps( that I am glad I use since the advent of Heartbleed ) is 1Password. It allows me to quickly and securely access my myriad accounts and quickly find things, like this Animoto video of a year ago that I had forgotten I had made to celebrate the wonderful creative work of some of my students.
Another app I take for granted (behind the scenes but there when I need it) is Adobe Reader. But do I really need AlarmClock Pro any more?—Perhaps, if I remembered that it has a time-zone converter and an uptime recorder that can embarrass me with a record of how long I’ve been sitting at my machine!
“How many different music players do I need,” I ask myself as I rediscover my AmazonCloudPlayer? How many flashcard makers are necessary (which one best suits my needs or those of my students) as I find Anki again, untouched, and with a new version:). And, heaven forbid, there is always the temptation to visit the MAC App store especially since it is built into the Mac Mavericks Operating System.
I REALLY should learn how to use AUTOMATOR and its distant cousin, TextExpander—and their incredible capabilities for improving the efficiencies of my work flow and my commenting on student papers. To achieve that mastery I most likely shall first seek out the sage guidance of David Sparks and his incredibly well-written books, ebooks, and screencasts. Hmm, I see that he uses Vimeo for his screencasts. I’ll have to revisit it when I get to my “V'”‘s.How about—oh, the audacity of suggesting it, Audacity? I have several times attempted to master it because of an interest in creating podcasts and wanting to support open source software endeavors, but alas, because it just crashed my machine, it has been banished to the trash. Besides, if i ever reach the “W’s” among my apps, I suspect that “Wiretap Studio” will serve the same function—and better.
Enough, even though I hear the buzz of “B’s.”
Though I won’t have time until this summer to deeply explore the 2014 Horizon Report which I alluded to in an earlier post, I wanted to share some initial reactions here:
- I concur with the Report’s assertion of the growing ubiquity of social media. The challenge for me is to find the right balance between the kinds of deep thinking which I believe “more traditional teaching methods” correctly implemented can foster and an ability to capitalize on the enabling capabilities of social media for producing, communicating,creating, and collaborating. I don’t find that my present institution has the appropriate classroom infra-structure for leveraging these social media tools within the physical classroom and traditional class-room meeting time.
- I agree with the Report’s suggestion that that it is inevitable that higher education must allow and facilitate an integration of online, hybrid, and collaborative learning.
- Though I have always been interested in “adaptive” learning and personalizing the learning environment, I find the promises of “an emerging science of learning analytics” overblown, premature, and creepy in terms of degrees of invasion of privacy.
- I applaud and embrace the identified trend of students as creators rather than merely as consumers though I would urge that one not lose sight of the importance of quality control of their products.
- I concur that the time is ripe for university programs to support aggressively “agile, lean startup models” that promote a culture of innovation in a more wide-spread, cost-effective way as long as there are built in assessment procedures which validly document the weaknesses and strengths of these (maybe) new approaches. Too often I have seen institutions chase after the latest educational fad and fail to benefit from organizational memory of prior, similar failed ventures.
- For me, online learning is a useful complement rather than a viable alternative to most forms of face-to-face learning. As I’ve written earlier, I regularly and increasingly use “nontraditional” learning tools to supplement my personal professional development and my digital literacy. I am still sorting out, however, how to embed and assess that literacy among my students. In what venues I should foster those kinds of skills and intrude them to top learning tools. I am increasing wary of a “digital divide” that ironically exists between K-12 and higher education instructors with the latter—and their students—being the more deficient!
What do you think? I’m also interested in readers’ suggestions about what I should write:
A common theme I’ve encountered in a number of meetings and informal conversations with faculty, staff, students, trustees, and alumni is a growing awareness of the rapidity of change in higher education—in how we teach, in how we learn, in from whom we learn, in where we learn, and even in in what times of the day and night we learn! These concerns are addressed well by the new learning avenues explored by the shared online learning insights of Debbie Morrison on the distinction between the creation of personal learning experiences (PLE’s) and personal learning networks (PLN’s) . I am also increasingly influenced by the “the learning flow” concept advanced by Jane Hart.
Even as I proctor an exam while writing this blog post I am learning online—checking my Twitter account especially for posts by
- Julie Lindsay,
- Jane Hart,
- Michael Sheehan,
- Michelle Pacansky-Brock,
- Richard Byrne,
- the GlobalChronicle,
- the NYTimesLearningNetwork,
- Silvia Tolisano.
Thank you, fellow educators across the world for all you share and how you teach and inspire me. Teaching and learning clearly are not constrained to the classroom.
Introduction to Edynco—and research assistant Angela: Click me.
Review of Edynco by Angela Wong
Things I really like: Edynco is a multi-feature learning tool for educators. Created in Slovenia two years ago, this tool provides easy-to-use templates for creating learning maps. The creators of the software are quick to distinguish between mind maps, which are usually used for brainstorming and planning, and learning maps. Reminiscent of Prezi [which I, DS, personally find dazzlingly distracting]. Edynco’s setup is different because its learning maps allow for additional media, clarity, discussion and communication between educator and student, and numerous kinds of interaction. The blended learning method style is intended to help anyone who wants to educate others. Overall, Edynco is well-thought out with a beautiful design.
Areas in need of improvement. There are a few areas that still need improvement. Throughout the website, users will find quite a few spelling and grammatical errors. ESL users in particular may suffer from these translation errors. Users unfamiliar with dynamic technologies may too quickly become overwhelmed. For better UI, the learning map module should integrate a “snap to grid feature” (as illustrated on Microsoft, Adobe, and LucidPress software). Lastly, the tutorial that automatically pops up every time when entering a learning map is slightly annoying, as it can be accessed anytime.
Despite these minor and relatively unimportant flaws, Edynco is incredibly sleek and promising. The user is not left wanting for a “share” feature to post on social media. Edynco also has an export to computer feature that is inaccessible to non-subscribers. The interface is dynamic, responsive, and relatively easy-to-use. In addition to the learning map software, all users have access to additional content, including micro-lectures, quizzes, videos, images, audio, and more- all of which can be seamlessly added to the user’s customizable learning map. The developers have left room for expansion to release even more educational tools and are to be praised for the present wonderful-work-in-progress. Educators and students alike should be excited for this beta software to go live—and in the interim, to try it and to provide constructive feedback for improvement.
Here is an example of a learning map which Angela created using Eydynco: Angela’s example of Iranian Women in Film.
Across my 35 years of teaching at Carroll I have been blessed to have highly skilled, patient, playful student research assistants who cheerfully and ably respond to my hurried, fly-by” task assignments such as “learn how to use Movenote and report back to me its potential value”. Thank you, student friends, for your support and for your being part of Dr. Simpson’s Neighborhood. Here is a result from our early explorations this year of the capabilities of Movenote – Click on the link: Angela and Amy Tutorial on Movenote.
Here is an example of what Angela learned THIS SEMESTER about how Movenote has evolved—Click on this link: Much has improved!
I have much for which to be thankful as a professor. Especially I am thankful for the delightful opportunities to learn along with students such as these!
A fellow educator recently asked me for a recommendation of an eBook tool that could be used by high-school aged students and which is cross-platform, cross-device, allows incorporation of multimedia, and allow for collaborative and seamless editing across the world. Any suggestions? The number of ebook formats is quite overwhelming. And ebook software that meets the needs of my friend seems still very much under development (e.g. Vellum). What high calibre software exists? What are some work arounds for my friend?
Though I have explored the use of over 200 technology learning tools over the past seven years , I’ve quickly come to realize that there is no best tool. In attempting to help my (e)friend I revisited tools that came close to addressing her needs. For example, Learnist allows for some of the capabilities she desired. (My thanks to research assistant Amy Peterson for reminding me of our use of this resource in her Virtual Course creation research).
I also examined the ebooks that I have which are accessible via my Kindle Cloud Reader app. How embarrassing to discover that I have 72 books sitting there to be read. I just never have gotten comfortable reading books from a screen.
What ebook creation software do you have experience with? What led you to choose to use it over other? What others?
Just started reading the NMC Horizon Report 2014 Higher Education Edition.
A pdf overview can be found here, though the report is well worth reading in its rich entirety.
Much to ponder here—and to compare with the 2013 K-12 report which guides the FlatConnections Project.
I am impressed by the expertise and global breadth of the 2024 Expert panel (and flattered that one of them chose to follow my Twittering). In my judgment one missing expert is Jane Hart.
To be continued…
Recently my students and I partnered with Carroll’s Office of Alumni Engagement to conduct a survey of alumni’s awareness of a forthcoming National Day of Service. One of the survey items asked…
“What is the best way for the Office of Alumni Engagement to communicate to Carroll alumni about alumni events, such as the National Day of Service? (Choose all that apply.)”
One respondent offered the following comment that made me smile. I do not take umbrage (nor take the comment as a “flame”) nor believe that the malapropism was unintentional. In fact, it seems to be the language and Ben Franklin-like wit and sense of humor of an esteemed staff colleague of many years ago,
“How much time and effort is the particular project worth? Ask the extinguished Dr. Simpson for his best advice. Occasionally the old boy will hit the nail right on the head!”I found the respondent’s playful comments thoughtful—on the mark, and perhaps prescient!
Am I indeed an “extinguished professor”?:)
Extinguished... Snuffed out, put out, quenched, expunged; stuck out; effaced; left with no vestige; having the kabosh put upon. Carroll has changed greatly since I began teaching thirty-five years ago—and so has the ways one can teach and learn. There are times when I have felt that I am about to become extinct. Alas, I have extinguished my candle-burning behavior, though I continue to burn a candle at both ends. And I am still haunted by the metaphors of Shakespeare words of MacBeth.
“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more.”
old? Twenty-one three times over + — but still succumbing to the well-documented psychological finding of feeling younger than my chronological age—especially when surrounded by students—even those whose parents have been my students!
Old boy? hopefully boyish in the positive playful sense. Here is how I recently reflected on my teaching and why I teach one of my courses a particular way.
If you give me enough hammers and enough time might I indeed hit the nail on the head? If I blog enough might I occasionally write a thoughtful, engaging, piece?
Time will tell. Time to turn off my electric candle and head out to Miller Park.
A package from an educator friend, Inci Aslan, in Turkey who is the principal investigator of an Etwinning project I closely follow ,an email from Luis Miguel Miñarro, an educator in Spain with an accompanying link to an animoto Carnival 2014 video, a Facebook chat message from Lithuanian educator Irma Milevičiūtė who befriended me on Epals a year ago and whetted my interest in global communication, an informative hour-long Fuzebox.com conference with Julie Lindsay, an educator in Australia, about the Flat Connections Global Project —my world continues to expand as it shrinks. How does one keep up with “the learning revolution” or Classroom 2.0? How does one keep abreast of developments in International Education? I try to keep reasonably aware of international events through reading articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education and The Guardian. I occasionally shadow Global Education Conferences and follow several WordPress blogs dedicated to Global Education. And yet I am so globally illiterate. Here are some of my more recent musing about these questions
Here are my some of reflections on this topic a few years ago… The world is open. I’ve been thinking about how to make our campus and curriculum more global. Here are some incipient thoughts about how that might de done. I’d welcome your thoughts.
- Increase awareness and use of media such as BBC News, Google News, and Newsvine.
- Incorporate Kiva into the classroom.
- Explore global views of religion, spirituality, and being.
- Tap into high quality online or “portable” courses.
- Explore other languages.
- Capitalize on cultural universals such as music, cusine, sports, and literature.
- Reading: Let’s encourage our faculty, staff, and students to read, discuss, and discover world literature. Though no substitute for reading, excellent recordings exist of introductions to world literature, world history, world religions, etc.What suggestions do you have that are simple and cost effective?
And here are even earlier reflections…..
I’m still reflecting on some interesting ideas that emerged in a “listening session” I attended today with two other faculty colleagues concerning a proposed change in our general education program for students at Carroll. I left quite confused, but that is not atypical for me. What is the appropriate foundation for general education in the 21rst century? Are we faculty appropriately educated for teaching in the 21rst century? What skill sets, traditions, and knowledge are as vital today as when this academic institution was founded? Can we change our general education program without intentionally changing our institutional mission? How do we avoid throwing out the baby with the bath water? Should part of a general education be mastery of another language? If so, how does one define mastery—knowing the right phrases to allow one to travel within another country? Or should one be fluent in another culture’s history, customs, idioms, national concerns, and language? Can this be achieved within the traditional four years of a college education and still allow students a traditional major? If we are interested in being more global, shouldn’t we append USA to all our institutional publications? Can internationalization be achieved through the 21rst century equivalence of international pen pals using Skype or VoiceThread? Through changing the “three r’s” to mastery of 20th century learning tools? Through BBC language acquisition in 12 weeks courses or by investing time in other such (free) online language learning resources? What does is mean to globalize or internationalize a campus? How can that best be achieved? Is the best way to do so to bring international students and faculty to campus? To send our students and faculty abroad? To create communication opportunities world-wide through Internet means? To expand faculty and students’ knowledge of history, cultures, international economics, and international relations? To conduct collaborative international research and learning projects? Should I join the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology? Which organizations do I drop out of to allow time and money for these new ones? What defines global citizenship? Global awareness? How can we continually reaffirm and rediscover our common sense of humanity?
Ayuda me. I’m going
postal :) global!
A typical whirlwind day. Arrive at the office by 7:15, but no time to flirt with Gert (pictured above) because I needed to establish work assignments for the student assistants before they came in. Maybe I should make time to explore the new free for teachers accounts of Basecamp. Wednesday will be the 2nd Exam in PSY205.
I had a good but too brief Skype session with Inci Aslan for updates on her Rainbow Kids project in Turkey. Must make the time for a more leisurely follow up.
I’ve been using Skype A LOT lately now that I have mastered some software (Pamela and CallNote) that lets me easily record the conversations for later study. Recently it has proven invaluable as I attempted to mentor an undergraduate at another institution seeking advice about a survey she was conducting in Argentina.
I brief follow-up regarding several students’ letters of recommendations. Two students delightfully inform me that they have been invited for interviews (at Marquette and Illinois State, respectively). Then it is (past) time to submit a PsyCRITIQUES revision of the most interesting, provocative book I have reviewed in the past seven years. Meanwhile, my Research seminar students experience first hand the purported advantages of brain training software. There are so many claims made on the Internet and in the media in general (Science News, NPR, ABC News) about such “programs like Lumosity and Positscience. Finally, I join my research students for a brief review of SPSS. Here is YOUR chance to see how much statistics and experimental design you recall from when YOU took my course:). Try me . Hee, hee.
I was generally pleased with the quality of the surveys they developed using our new Gold Survey Monkey account.
So much to teach. So much to learn. So much research which could/should be done. So much to share. But the clock is winding down…
… And now it is two days later. Time to take stock while I proctor two consecutive exams for the next five hours. The book review revision was accepted for publication and forwarded to the American Psychological Association. I hope that my citation of Jane Hart’s seminal work will introduce her to a broad audience of psychology technological learning neophytes who might benefit from all she has taught me. Thank you again, inspirational Virtual Friend and Mentor.
The Gardner and Davis book is now “required reading” for all my friends, parents of friends, and “followers.” Here is a good synopsis (not mine) for those who, alas, don’t have the time to read it:)
There is an interesting, well-written article in Time Magazine about Mindful Meditation that recently drew my attention for several reasons.
- This is a semester I finally have an unusually large amount of time to focus on reading, writing, reflection and research as I plan an ordered exit from Carroll Land within the next two-to-four years. There is much yet for me to do before I move on.
3. I have always admired his holiness the Dalai Lama, who holds an honorary degree from Carroll COLLEGE (WI). Ah, the things things I remember that many here at Carroll do not know or recall since they weren’t here then:).
4. I have been very impressed by the research and values of Richard Davidson, who shared the evolution of his research program in a well-written, thoughtful book The Emotional Life of Your Brain. Here are some of his current activities.
5. I have also found of value thinking about (though I have been remiss in practicing) the ideas in Rick Hanson and Richard Mendius’s Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom. I truly have been blessed to have opportunities to pursue each in my 35 years here surrounded by bright students and colleagues.
6. Some of my younger Carroll University colleagues are starting to gain well-deserved recognition exploring these topics and building bridges across interdisciplinary areas. And, their enviable publication rate even motivates me (in my own way) to match/complement/ supplement their scholarly contributions—but at my own speed as I savor the twilight of my career here.
7. Recently President Obama (who is visiting Waukesha, WI today which may explain the many hovering helicopters) has called for a BRAIN Initiative. Concomitantly, there is an explosion of apps and software claiming to improve thinking and to optimize brain power.
8. I have been intrigued by recent attempts to popularize and capitalize on such findings and initiatives and am contemplating doing some modest research to address their claims—particularly those that purport to improve memory, enhance happiness, and enhance one’s ability to focus.
9. I’ve always been fascinated by the too much neglected research of Ellen Langer’s creative work exploring concepts of mindfulness and mindlessness—as she uses the terms. I found fascinating her book Counterclockwise, though I am still struggling with believing its implications of age-reversal. Still there IS empirical evidence (needful of replication and extension) that subjective perceptions of age can be affected by the mere process of measuring variables related to aging. This merits further study.
10. So many questions to answer. Time to make some decisions and see where the research takes us.
When I was a graduate student, I would religiously read every article in every journal to which I subscribed. Alas, I have fallen out of that habit. One of my resolutions for the new semester is to invest more time in reading the scholarly journals to which I subscribe—and weaving the knowledge either into my teaching or my life.
As I prepare for a research oriented semester (two sections of Statistics and Experimental Design) and a Research Seminar, two articles in the December 2013 issue of Psychological Science intrigued me because of the simplicity of the experimental design and data analyses and the import of the results (if replicable).
In a short report entitled “Tryptophan Promotes Interpersonal Trust” Colzato et al. exposed 40 healthy adults to either an oral dosage of TRP a food supplement which is an essential amino acid contained in spinach, eggs, soybeans, and fish) or a neutral placebo. After an hour participants interacted in a game designed to measure trust. The participants who had ingested the TRP exhibited behavior indicative of trust to a significantly greater degree than participants who had received the placebo.
In an equally intriguing group of studies reported in the same journal issue entitled “Aging 5 Years in 5 Minutes: The Effect of Taking a Memory Test on Older Adults’ Subjective Age” Hughes et al. experimentally demonstrated that older (but not younger) adults felt subjectively older after taking (or even after expecting to take) a standard neurological screening test which dealt with memory! Tremendous implications here for future research on the effects of context on self-perceptions of aging.
In response to my soliciting suggestions for improving my Experimental Social Psychology class last semester, one of my students suggested that …”if the class were to have many online assignments, I believe it would be extremely beneficially to teach students how to install software that temporarily restrains them from surfing distracting websites while studying. There are several free programs which can be easily set up in order to increase focus and productivity while completing online homework.” This got me reflecting on how the Internet has challenged my own ability to focus as I sit down tonight to read a book in preparation for reviewing it. Here’s where my distractions led me before setting down! Thanks for the suggestion AW!
- Illusion of Internet Freedom
- Slate: Freedom from Distractions
- Make Use of: End of the Internet
- NY Times Your Brain on Computers
- That’s all folks!
Time to reflect upon all this and to read Howard Gardner and Katie Davis
I’ve been talking a lot to my computer lately since I installed on my Mac the Mavericks Operating system. I have been quite impressed by the dictation accuracy of Nuance’s Dragon Dictate and the degree to which I can use voice commands to control the machine. Over the past 40 some years I have followed with interest developments in “communication” between humans and computers. In the 60’s I interacted with Eliza, the Rogerian therapist and in the 70’s the Talking Moose resided on my early Macs—useful toys. But the capabilities of software to “read” text, translate simple conversations, and follow voice commands has dramatically improved since then and become useful in my work. What was once fiction (e.g. The Circle, 2312, Lexicon) is much closer to (dystopian) reality. The challenge remains how to let technology be a tool controlled by (rather than controlling) me. It is easy to be seduced by the WOW factor. .
I initially made
a number of many half-hearted attempts at blogging about seven years ago but didn’t seriously start using blogging tools until I was awarded an opportunity to become an online “community blogger” as “Curious David” for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It was during that year that I discovered the seminal technology tool dissemination work of my “virtual” mentor the indefatigable, never seems to sleep Jane Hart. Thank you, Jane, for your idealism, generosity, and persistence. I value your collegiality.
I was also blessed to have a supportive editor who gave me free license to explore Web tools and to write about whatever I cared to. Given freedom to explore I rediscovered the joys and challenges of writing. The following year I was given the opportunity to teach a semester-long course on Web learning tools to 25 Carroll (then) College freshmen. Blogging was one tool I introduced to them.
One of the best books about the history of blogging I have read is Suzanne Stefanac’s dispatches from blogistan.: a travel guide for the modern blogger. Thoughtful,witty, pithy, practical,thought-provoking—it opened my mind to the value of blogging tools.
I have investigated the relative strengths and weaknesses of WordPress, TypePad, Edublogs, Blogger, and Tumblr. In part because of the beautiful and lucid book Teach Yourself Visually WordPress by Janet Majure —I find I prefer the printed copy to the Kindle version— I have decided to invest a good deal of time exploring what WordPress blogging tools allow me to do. WordPress.com itself provides so many rich learning resources.
As Suzanne Stefanac points out, some blogs are linkfests, others diaries, some serve as club houses, others as news rooms, still others as soapboxes. I blog when I feel I have something to say that might be of interest to others. I have an enduring interest in life-long learning and enjoy sharing what I learn. I have no particular interest in having a large number of followers, but do I cross-post to Linked-in, Twitter, and Facebook because those are venues that allow me to stay in touch with friends, former students, and people I learn so much from. I welcome comments and feedback. In the past few years I’ve corresponded with a large number of interesting individuals from acoss the world who have enriched my life and informed my teaching and learning.
Here are some topics I am thinking of exploring in the new future:
- Popularizing (psychological) science with integrity
- Favorite Books–or bookmarks!
- On the strangulating limits of (over) efficiency
- Ten psychological findings that have impacted my life
- On replication
- Fraud in Psychology
- Best Courses
- Canine Companions
- Current topics in psychology