Category: Carroll University USA

Carroll ReflectionsCarroll University USACurious David

“What will you DO when you retire?” I am asked more and more frequently.

“What will you DO when you retire?” I am asked more and more frequently—especially as I am a year away from seventy years of age. My answer is both simple and complicated – in part depending upon who is asking, why I think they are asking me, and when I am asked.

It is easier to answer what I shall NOT do! I don’t plan to grade any exams! Or to answer the question of what will happen to “David-in-Carroll-land.com.” It WILL retire or be transformed.

If my past behavior predicts my future behavior as it has in the past I shall not return to campus after next year’s commencement. Such was my behavior upon graduating from Howland High School in 1967 (though I was tempted by the Facebook contacts of classmates inviting me to our 50th reunion), graduating from Oberlin College in 1971, and my completing my graduate work at The Ohio State University in 1979. I’ve never been back. I treasure the richness of experiences and relationships which occurred but I look forward to having the time to focus on new or neglected aspects of life.

Consider the many meanings of commencement; start, genesis, infancy, first step, unveiling, creation. It’s been fun and rewarding being a professor, and I look forward to one more academic year before commencing. Still, it clearly also is time to move on.

 

 

 

Carroll ReflectionsCarroll University USACommencementCurious DavidGraduation

Dear 2018 Carroll University Graduate…

Dear 2018 Carroll University Graduate…

Now is a good time to gather together some last thoughts about and for you while i am proctoring my last final exam of the 2017 – 2018 academic year. This year for the first time since I came here Commencement will be Saturday morning rather than on Mothers’ Day afternoon. Because of my age seniority length of time at Carroll and my rank of Full Professor, I march at the front of the line at Commencement. That gives me an ideal seating position for seeing and hearing speakers, but forces me to be on my best behavior — awake, disconnected from my Ipad, and resisting wearing my Brewers’ or Carroll College hats. I even got a hair cut!

For those of you I have met, I have done my best to teach you well but alas I am only human. Each student I teach is different, special, and always 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.  That happens a lot!

Thanks for the many lessons you have taught me.

Many people (family, staff, faculty, administrators, and trustees)  have worked very hard, in addition to you, to try to 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.

I urge that as time and circumstances allow you join them in giving back (without expectation of receiving “convocation points”) your time, wisdom, networking resources, prospective student recommendations, and examples of skills or values developed here at Carroll that have served you well. Carroll for me has always been a Caring Place.

Give Carroll its due credit when it has earned it, but I also encourage you to offer constructive criticism when the institution has failed to meet your expectations or deviates from its values which you value. Be appropriately skeptical of bland, branding platitudes. 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 or you as you 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 and fellow, flawed human being.

 

 

Agingbook writing with studentsbrain fitness trainingCarroll University USACurious David

Brain Fitness Training: Fact vs. Fiction

 

There is much interest today in using technology to improve one’s brain power,  one’s health, and one’s well-being. Take a moment to conduct an online search on the topics of “brain fitness for seniors,” “brain fitness games,” “brain fitness apps, “and “brain training.” You’ll  be overwhelmed with the number of results. Unfortunately the social media and advertising claims are far removed from the science upon which legitimate claims can be made. How can one decide which claims are “snake oil,” which represent vaporware, and which are based upon  well-done research? Which programs are merely entertainment? Which make false or unverifiable claims? Which claims are patently wrong? Are there some vaild brain training interventions that are appropriate and proven effective for special populations? How can one protect or improve one’s brain heath?

In part because a number of Carroll alumni have been actively involved in research involving aging and memory (e.g. Michelle Braun, John DenBoer and Mark Klinger), and in part because I am approaching the age of 70, I’ve taken an increased interest in memory research.  I’ve always been fascinated by the too much-neglected research of Harvard’s Ellen Langer exploring concepts of mindfulness and mindlessness. I found especially fascinating her book Counterclockwise, though I am still skeptical about its implications for age reversal. [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].

A day doesn’t pass when I am not flooded with emails about  “brain fitness training opportunities” that I am implored to explore.  Brain U Online gives me a friendly reminder of the availability of a brain training session invitation.  Blinkist suggests that I read a synopsis of the book Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect your Brain for Life.  I am alerted that Episode #4 (of 10) “Six ‘Brain Hacks’ to Enrich Your Brain” from a gohibrow.com course awaits my viewing.  An interesting NPR story invites me to explore the brain-enhancing benefits of bilingual education. I receive an invitation to take an AARP approved  (and United Health Care supported)Life Reimagined”  free online course on “Brain Power: How to Improve Your Brain Health” taught by Wendy Suzuki, Ph.D.  Posit Science urges me to become a “Smart Cookie” by joining their “…unique braining program … which unlike others… is backed by more than 100 published scientific papers”… I think that I’ll send them all  a copy of the recent review of brain training  research  n Psychological Science in the Public Interest (here is the link).

How does one separate the wheat from the chaff of these claims? Which avenues are promising and which are merely advertising promises? Will I really get smarter with five-minute lessons delivered to my inbox every morning? Do I want to? Would I be well-served by following my heart and attempting to (re) learn long forgotten Spanish? Would I be better served by exercising more? Learning how to play an instrument? Should I become involved in creating an Elder hostel educational experiences? So many questions. What fun to begin systematically answering them with talented students, data, and critical thinking.

Meet my Fall  2017 Carroll University student research seminar team. Jeff, Alexis, Sami, Abbey, Antonio, Nathan, Alex, Alex, and Ricky.

We have begun developing answers to questions such as these and are in the process of writing a short book sharing our findings. What questions would you like us to answer? Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Carroll ReflectionsCarroll University USACommencementCurious DavidGraduation

Dear 2017 Carroll University Graduate…

Dear 2017 Carroll University Graduate…

Now is a good time to gather together some last thoughts about and for you. 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 at Commencement (following Faculty Marshall Gary Olsen). That gives me an ideal seating position for seeing and hearing speakers, 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 to 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.  I urge that as time and circumstances allow join them in giving back (without expectation of receiving “convocation points”) your time, wisdom, networking resources, prospective student recommendations, and examples of skills or values developed here at Carroll that have served 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 of you 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

 

 

Carroll University USACurious DavidHigher Education Data Bases

Five Fact Checking Resources I Too Often Need to Consult

Though fact checking will not save us from fake news (see this thoughtful link), I find the following five resources useful in helping me decide how much credibility to give potential influencers who cite “facts.”

  1.  The Annenberg Public Policy Center
  2. US Politics
  3. Washington Post’s The Truth Behind the Rhetoric
  4. Poynter International Fact Checking
  5. Snopes: Urban Legends and Internet Rumors

Happy Debunking!

Carroll ReflectionsCarroll University USACurious DavidJane Hart's Top 100 Learning ToolsResearch Assistants

Denizens of Dr. David’s Neighborhood: Lizzie

Returning to my office two of my student research assistants were “at their work stations.” One was engaged in an animated phone conversation in Spanish with someone in Honduras. She has the difficult choice this weekend of choosing among three graduate school acceptances. Hasta luego, we have a brief team meeting where I update them on present and future projects (CrowdFunding proposal for extending their book publishing capabilities; a grant to fund brain fitness training research in the fall). I indicate that I also want to make a screen cast of each of them before Tuesday. Both Alison and Lizzie are very facile with technology learning tools such as iMovie. I share with them that I soon am going to need to find some new student assistants. THEY know best what goes on in Dr. Simpson’s Neighborhood, so they will do my “vetting.”

I ask Lizzie to share her experiences as my research assistant.

Carroll graduating Senior InterviewCarroll ReflectionsCarroll University USACurious DavidJane Hart's Top 100 Learning Tools

Shared Reflections With a Graduating Senior

What has kept me here almost forty years is not the buildings but the traditions, the faculty, staff, administrative, and trustee friendships–and the students. I asked one of my graduating senior research assistants to stop by and to spontaneously share some of her Carroll reflections. I promised to be well-behaved—i.e. no funny hats and unusually quiet:)

She laughed. She knows me well.

Arianna will be leaving me for graduate study at Marquette University in the Fall.

We recorded this from my MacBook Pro using the Capto screen casting software.

Team2016b

 

Carroll ReflectionsCarroll University USACurious DavidDayOneJane Hart's Top 100 Learning Tools

Ruminations: CrowdFunding, Student Book-writing, and Grant-writing

 

I had a few “extra minutes” at work today for reflection. I’m awaiting (dis)approval of seeking Crowdfunding financial support to expand my students’ capabilities to self publish books. I am also writing a few small grants to fund some modest research comparing several different “brain fitness” programs (e.g. BrainHD and Lumosity).

Just for fun I chose to document my rambling ruminations by creating a screencast. I still find Screenflow easier for me to use than Capto or Camtasia. I favor using Skitch for Screenshots from my Mac. It is indeed hard to teach an old dogged professor new tricks (or to discard old tools).

In the screen cast below I am thinking out loud as I experiment with the camera software (iglasses)  and the microphone (a Yeti).  I am leaning towards using both for our next Student Guides to Internet Learning Tools (if funded). The first volumes of the new works will most likely focus on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Screencasting tools. Oops, time to go for a walk with my canine companion!

AgingalumniCarroll ReflectionsCarroll University USACurious David

Can my old brain be (re)trained?

There are buildings on campus whose cornerstone bears a date before my birth. My father-in-law walked in some of these very buildings in 1936. Voorhees Hall was a women’s dorm when Walt walked this campus.

So many memories. Some converge; some change. Some researchers argue that memories change every time that they are retrieved.

With age comes my increased interest in the inevitable aging process. At one time or another I have written over 80 blog pieces (or drafts) about relationships between aging and memory.

Here are a few: (Clicking on all the links in each and viewing their contents might be a valuable brain fitness exercise!):)

  1. Thanks for the memories!
  2. I’m not sure that you will remember me but…
  3. Brain fitness training (Part 1)
  4. Brain fitness training (Part 2)

After consulting with my four student research assistants, I’ve decided to focus my Fall semester research seminar on the topic of “brain fitness”—fact and fad.  I am particularly intrigued by the promises of the program “BrainHQ.” Time to don my skeptical thinking cap: