Robin the Newf advises you to be careful what you read on the Internet April 1 based on past April Fools’ Days creative postings! Caveat Lector.
Robin the Newf advises you to be careful what you read on the Internet April 1 based on past April Fools’ Days creative postings! Caveat Lector.
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 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.
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!
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:
I spent the first half of today reconnecting with my business partners, Greg and Jane Schneider. Greg and I became immediate friends when I first joined the Carroll faculty in 1978. He served as Director of Counseling, Career and Health Services at Carroll University for thirteen years. and also taught Business and Organizational Psychology. In 1990 he left Carroll and founded Schneider Consulting. Shortly thereafter he invited me to become his business partner, a decision both of us have never regretted. I always leave Greg treasuring the richness of our relationship and in awe of how well we work together.
Today was our usual constructive chaos. Catching up on personal events over a cup of team, updating and upgrading his computers, discussing some writing projects we have been talking about doing together—for about 10 years. Teasing; Toiling; Trusting; Teaching; Confiding; Consoling; being mutually uplifting—all within a natural atmosphere of unconditional positive regard.
We are always quite comfortable correcting each other and moving back and forth between teacher and learner roles. I am introducing him to WordPress blogging software. He shared with me some of his forté using dictation functions built into the Mac. I can see how that capability may help me quite a bit with my writing. For example I just dictated these last two sentences. And these, too. So much to learn —it’s so fun to learn with someone.Thank you, partners, Greg and Jane, for all the learning and collaborative opportunities.