App GenerationCurious DavidGlobal EducationJane Hart's Top 100 Learning ToolsPersonal Learning Tools

Thinking Horizontally

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…

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On Being “An Extinguished” Professor

David Simpson 2Recently 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 learnThere 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.

Curious DavidGlobal EducationJane Hart's Top 100 Learning Tools

My World Continues to Expand as It Shrinks

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

  • http://david-in-carroll-land.com/2013/08/06/loosely-translated-a-lithuanian-a-turk-an-american-and-a-teacher-from-poland-enter-a-virtual-meeting-room/

  • http://david-in-carroll-land.com/2013/05/07/three-questions-raised-from-attempting-to-create-a-virtual-cultural-immersion-course/

  • http://david-in-carroll-land.com/2013/04/14/reflections-on-creating-a-virtual-cultural-immersion-course-lessons-learned-part-1/

  • http://david-in-carroll-land.com/2013/04/21/pioneering-a-virtual-european-cultural-immersion-course/

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 NewsGoogle 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 musiccusine, 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!

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Where does the time go? Oh!

Gert and DavidMonday…

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…

RSEARCH SEMINAR

Wednesday…

… 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:)

David Simpson Teaching 1

Psychology

Ten Meditations on Meditating

There is an interesting, well-written article in Time Magazine about Mindful Meditation that recently drew my attention for several reasons.

  1. 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.

2. Since my Oberlin College days I have been interested in “East Asian” philosophies and religions. I recall being intrigued by Herbert Benson’s first empirical studies of the “Relaxation response”.

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 BrainHere 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.

Psychology

Two Simple Studies with Potentially Impactful Results—if Replicated

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.

BloggingControlling TechnologyCurious DavidPersonal Learning Tools

Reducing Internet Distractions to Focus on the Writing Task at Hand

 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!

  1. Freedom
  2. 99U
  3. Profhacker
  4. Illusion of Internet Freedom
  5. Mashable
  6. Slate: Freedom from Distractions
  7. Make Use of: End of the Internet
  8. NY Times Your Brain on Computers
  9. That’s all folks!

Time to reflect upon all this and to read Howard Gardner and Katie Davis

The App Generation: How Today’s Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World.

computer dictationControlling TechnologyCurious DavidDystopiaslanguage

Nuanced monologue: I’ve been talking to my computer a lot lately—and sometimes it talks back.

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.  

.

So far I have not QUITE formed a “singular” “SIRIous”  emotional relationship with “her” nor discussed serious religious beliefs . Now, my relationship with books is another matter! 


BloggingCarroll University USACurious DavidJane Hart's Top 100 Learning Tools

Why Blog (Redux)?

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:

  • Time
  • 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
  • Creativity
  • Current topics in psychology

Pensive Robin

Robin the Newf – My Canine Confidante
*Steam
Two research assistants too-soon-to graduate
Newf Teacher
Explaining to Robin where Newfoundland is.