Category: Curious David

Cellist of SarajevoCurious DavidGlobal Education

In Search of Arrow: Additional Reflections about The Cellist of Sarajevo

At the end of his novel The Cellist of Sarajevo  Steven Galloway mentions briefly his search for the sniper Arrow whom he fictionalized. Here is an audiotape of the interview he refers to.

Here is a newspaper article about her.

Here is another newspaper about Arrow’s “transformation” from a longing for peace to a longing for the front lines.”

Here are some images.

And here are, some more images.

When will we ever learn…

Curious DavidGlobal EducationInfluential BooksJane Hart's Top 100 Learning ToolsVirtual European Cultural Immersion Project

What Did You Do This Summer, Professor Simpson???

Flying Pig

Perhaps it is my age. Perhaps it’s my approaching retirement. However, I like to think it is because of my values. I no longer yield to the increasing Carroll peer and institutional pressure (and financial incentives) to be on campus teaching, writing grants, doing research, and mentoring students over the summer. Summer for me is a time to be away from campus and from campus emails— a time for reflection, for recharging, for redirection, for play and for rejuvenation. I never stop learning (amusingly my Mac DayOne App just eerily intruded to ask what I learned today!).

I’ve hardly been academically or intellectually stagnant since I left campus in May.  Among the books that I have enjoyed reading this summer are

  • Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son
  • Steven Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo
  • Ben Fontain’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
  • Khaled Hosseni’s The Kite Runner
  • Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life and her Behind the Scenes at the Museum
  • Connie Willis’s The Best of Connie Willis: Award-Winning Stories
  • Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Unnatural Creatures: Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman
  • Marisha Pessl’s Night Film (thank you, Susan Gusho, for the treasured autographed copy!)
  • Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus 
  • Robert Galbraith’s (aka J. K. Rowling) The Cuckoo’s Calling

What shall I read next?

I have written almost every day (blogging, developing international contacts, Twitter, Facebook, book reviews, manuscript reviews) though what I write and where  I write seems not to be highly valued by my institution’s reward system. C’est la vie.

I continue to develop expertise to bring into the classroom technology learning tool applications (e.g. Ning, WordPress, Paper.li, Scoopit,  and Animoto) based upon the path-breaking contributions of Jane Hart and others I have “met” virtually this past academic year and this summer. I have created a Sandbox for International Educators whom I have come to know and respect and experimented with BlogTalkRadio.

Here is an Animoto short video slideshow of some highlights from this summer: Final Copy of Summer Vacation 2013.

Cellist of SarajevoCurious DavidGlobal EducationInfluential BooksSarajevo

“My Name is Alisa”: Reflections on Steven Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo

Our Opening Convocation at Carroll University this year will feature a presentation by Steven Galloway, author of the novel The Cellist of Sarajevo.  All incoming freshmen were given a copy of the book this summer and extended a “challenge” to submit an original piece of writing (e.g. a speech, essay or poem) that engages both The Cellist of Sarajevo and the campus-wide “humanity” theme.

Being an incoming student at heart (every year), I dutifully read the book and curated some background information in the form of two paper.li editions. Here are links to the August 13 edition  and August 18 edition. Here is the cellist performing. Here is a story about “Arrow.” I would also recommend reading The Book of My Lives by Alekzandar Hemon.

I very much look forward to hearing the author in person. Though I am not involved in freshmen seminars, I can easily see drawing upon this material in my Introductory Psychology class which has predominantly freshmen in it. Putting the book down, I was reminded of the course I once taught “Why War?” of this song.

Curious DavidGlobal EducationJane Hart's Top 100 Learning Toolssocial psychology

Making Lemonade: Personal Disrupting Educational Experiences

I am an experimental social psychologist by my graduate school training. Tonight I am in the process of preparing for my fall semester PSY303A “Experimental Social Psychology Class.” This year I am interested in giving it a more international/ global focus while at the same time preserving the course’s emphasis on the value in using the scientific method. I also want to imbue the course with technology learning tools that I have come to value.

I am entertaining beginning the class by having all students carefully read the article Coping with Chaos: How Disordered Contexts Promote Stereotyping and Discrimination. After we have carefully studied the experimental design, elegance of the the thinking, data analysis, and conclusions and practical implications I will have the students read the full report of the investigation of Stapel’s fraudulent data collection here and his explanations of why he falsified data.

The challenge is how to avoid undermining students’ belief in the validity of psychological science while at the same time confronting the reality that science is a human endeavor. I found the Stapel malfeasance most disruptive to my own professional identity (and I am not alone.) How can I make that disruption a positive thing, especially for my students?

Curious David

Too Many Applications: Not Enough Applying

Summer time in theory allows me time to embrace the 5 R’s: Reading, Reflection, Regrouping, Refocusing, and Rejuvenation. Alas, it’s past time to revisit the 270 applications on my Macbook Pro and decide which are essential, which are duplicative, and which should be removed to free up space. Still, I want to leave some remaining summer time for enjoying the simple beauty of the flowers.

North Lake Flowers

There are many drawbacks to having too many applications (and electronic devices). One challenge is keeping them updated, though I subscribe to a number of services which alert me to updates and upgrades. Another, is simply keeping track of them in terms of what they do and how well they do the task. A third challenge, is keeping in mind to what degree they are portable and comparable in capabilities across the electronic devices which I use. And, then, of course the electronic devices themselves “evolve” with new operating systems and new devices.

Tonight I am focused on apps on my Macbook Pro which begin with the letters A-C (or begin with a number). Clearly my most valued applications are 1Password  and Camtasia.   I continue to delude myself into thinking I can find some teaching potential for Clarify, Comic Life, and Crazytalk. Hey, a guy has to have play time.

Curious David

Just Browsing

It’s amusing how much I take my web browser for granted — and how I under-utilize its capabilities. Depending upon which machine I am using I rotate across Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox. Right now I am using Google Chrome, in many ways my browser of first choice. I really should revisit and reorganize all the bookmarks here before school starts. I imported all my bookmarks from all other browsers. I also need to re-evaluate all the  extensions that at some point in time I judged important enough to add.  Some clearly are of value to me as an educator. Other, far too many, are just neat or deemed “best” by others! So much to learn, so little time—so many distractions. Alas, summer is almost over.

Curious David

Loosely Translated: A Lithuanian, a Turk, an American and a Teacher from Poland enter a Virtual Meeting Room…

I enjoy “reading” cartoons. Friends say that I am often “funny” and have a good sense of humor. Alas, I’ve never been good at telling jokes (except about me).

I am toying with revisiting my academic interests in the psychology of humor when I teach the Research Seminar next semester. What makes something funny? Is the same thing funny across cultures?

I am quite impressed with the accuracy of recent dictation software (that converts my speech into text), and I’ve recently been interested in comparing the accuracy of different language translation software apps and browser extensions. Here is one of many situations where I can be helped immensely by my international students and friends.

How good are these translation programs? Are we ready to solve the space alien communication issue which science fiction author Connie Willis so cleverly described in her hilarious novella “All Seated on the Ground?”

I thought about attempting to tell a joke in English and then seeing how well it “translated” across languages—without emoticon smiley support. Alas, the Muse of Funny Jokes Appropriate for Cross-Cultural Sharing and Language-Translation-Software Bench-marking (just TRY Googling that!) did not appear to me tonight when I called upon her. So, I ‘ll try using some aphorisms which might be more culturally universal or at least literally translatable. James Geary delightfully explores aphorisms in his book The World in a Phrase: A Brief History of Aphorisms. Here he is in his own words.

Here is an aphorism about education from Mark Twain:

The man who does not read books has no advantage over the man that can not read them.

Here (I take on faith) is a traditional Chinese translation using the InstantTranslate extension for the Chrome Browser. (The extension also allows for hearing the spoken translation.)

誰不看書的人有沒有優勢的人無法讀取它們。

Here is a translation from English to Lithuanian.

Žmogus, kuris neskaito knygų neturi nei žmogui, kuris negali jų perskaityti pranašumą.

Here is a translation from English to Turkish:

Kitap okumaz adam bunları okuyamaz adam üzerinde hiçbir avantajı vardır.

Here is a translation from English to Polish:

Człowiek, który nie czyta książek, nie ma przewagę nad człowiekiem, że nie może ich odczytać.

Here is a translation from English to Spanish:

El hombre que no lee libros no tiene ventaja sobre el hombre que no puede leerlos.

And, for my Chinese whispers telephone game test, here is the resulting translation from English to Lithuanian to Turkish to Polish to Spanish and back to English. I’ll leave to my students the challenge of investigating  all the possible differences with different orders of translation.

“This is a man who does not read books, you can read an advantage.”

LOL:)

Curious David

Curious about Curating

One of my favorite reference books is the J. I. Rodale’s  The Synonym Finder.  I am forever fascinated by shades of meaning of words. Tonight, as I sit down to begin revisiting all the courses I shall be teaching a month from now —in a different time frame (70 minutes, three days a week) rather than as I have taught them the past 34 years (50 minutes, 4 days a week), I am distracted by the word curator. Among the synonyms tendered by Rodale are guardian, custodian, concierge, protector, preserver, steward, and manager.

To what degree is a professor a curator? Without doubt one role I play as a university professor is sifting through vast amounts of content, ideas, and ways of knowing and of learning about specific topics  (e.g. my area of expertise, social psychology) and attempting to share with others in a coherent way what I have learned. There are myriad tools available to discover and manage digital content. I’ve recently focused on the utility of two such content curation tools identified and explained in Jane Hart’s marvelous A Practical Guide to the Top 100 tools for Learning.

Paper.li allows one to create a daily newspaper consisting of stories shared by persons followed on Facebook and Twitter and other online news sources. Therein lies both its strength and its weakness—one must carefully curate and be wary of the credibility of the sources. Still, just for fun I created a daily newspaper to follow events in Lithuania.

Scoop.it allows one to create an online magazine and discover others’ curated online magazines. To experiment with it I created an online magazine of Technology Tools for Learning. The challenge would be maintaining it (updating and adding value through thoughtful comments). Another use I made of it for my own purposes was to gather together information on Steven Galloway’s The Cellist of Sarajevo in preparation for his September 4 Opening Convocation talk. I’ll not share my results here before our new freshmen have a chance to read the book!

Curious DavidGlobal EducationVirtual European Cultural Immersion Project

Stlll More Lessons from Lithuania: Kas geriausi? Mes geriausi! Jūs geriausias

  1. Kindness, compassion, caring, and good cheer can successfully be exchanged (even “virtually”) even when separated by language, gender, age, culture and time zones.
  2. Lithuania is a beautiful country and a neglected European gem.
  3. Being given permission to join Irma Milevičiūtė’s  blogging platform based on her eTwinning project called TIPC (The International Penpals Club) started in 2012 was a joyful, enriching  educational experience. Thank you, Irma, for risking my participation. Kas geriausi? Mes geriausi! Jūs geriausias
  4. I learned so much from your students and from the other eTwinning project participants. Kas geriausi? Mes geriausi! Jūs geriausias.
  5. You deserve the best!—David
Curious DavidGlobal Education

Thank you, Graduating Carroll Seniors (Past and Present)

As is my habit of the past 35 years, I am sitting in my office on this Sunday morning of Commencement, reflecting. I drive in early to ensure getting a parking place before the proud families start arriving. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, babies, babies-soon-to-join-the world—-the campus explodes with sounds, colors, emotions, and celebratory chaos. Often I walk around campus taking photos (or accepting an invitation to be photographed).

Carroll College CU FB Old Main

My emotions are mixed—not unlike that of the soon-to-be-graduates. Joy—sorrow—elation—sadness—weariness—rejuvenation. At the end of long the day sometime around 4:30 —emptiness, and some poignant, positive residual reminders. I often tease my graduating research assistants that upon their exit from campus I “exorcise” our shared office space to better allow me to adjust to the temporary emotional vacuum caused by their absence from “Dr. David’s Neighborhood.” When you graduate, you remain in my memories as I have come to know you—and forever that age! Forever young.

CCEPILOT

I can hear chapel bells. Soon I’ll hear the chimes of the campus hymn and that of the alma mater. At 10:00 I’ll attend the Baccalaureate ceremony marching in wearing my cap and gown. According to the “certificate of appreciation” I recently received this is my 35th year of service to the institution.  I’ll immediately follow Provost Passaro, and Dean Byler into the auditorium. Sitting in the front row has its liabilities as I’ll feel that I must behave uncharacteristically well mannered!

Booked

Each Carroll Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremony is special to me just as is each student whom I have gotten to know.  I have chosen (or been called) to teach and to learn and though they (you) may not realize it, I truly do learn so much from my students and from the challenges of trying to teach them well.

Thank you, graduating seniors past and present (and for a few ever so short more years future) for all YOU have taught me. Put to good use your many talents, your energy, your playfulness, your empathy, your resilience and your creative ideas to making the world a better place. Come to appreciate (as I did upon graduating from Oberlin College in 1971) that you have been privileged to receive a good education due not only to your own sacrifices and hard work but also to the many members of the larger community whom you may never have met or whom you took for granted—Board Members, Administration, Staff, Faculty, and Alumni—who

.Gert and David

deeply care about you.

The bells call me.

——-Simply David