This Bear Is Up a Tree

This Bear Is Up a Tree
photo by Scott Granneman

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Texting During Class Revisited

Yesterday I posted comments about classroom technology distractions or opportunities, depending on your perspective. Here is a link to an email I received yesterday that should prompt some interesting discussion.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Texting, Texting, 1-2-3

One of our first discussions will be about classroom behavior. Why does it matter? If you can multitask and be more productive, shouldn’t I think that’s a good thing? Of course, the cognitive psychologist and the neurologist will both tell you that the brain can really focus on one thing at a time. Thus, multitasking takes a toll on both understanding the information that’s coming to you from your external environment and your ability to communicate effectively. You can see which side I’m on in this debate.

However, I am intrigued by the possibilities of tweeting notes via your cell phone. Often note takers try to write in complete sentences everything they hear – a virtual impossibility. So – using the texting process, the note taker would get the basic info in a format that is probably (not necessarily) easier to read than hastily formed handwriting. But, since the notes would be very, very brief, what would the student be required to do in order to make them meaningful?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Taxonomists -- a vanishing species?

Carol Kaesuk Yoon is a science writer for the NY Times. On August 10, she wrote about the ability of humans to name and organize living organisms, apparently using an inherent skill shared by all cultures. According to Yoon, scientists are closing in on the part of the brain that is responsible for this activity. Can you guess where that might be? Why would this ability be a necessary or even desirable trait? As Yoon puts it, the ability to name a carrot or a cat makes it possible for one to know whether to grate or pet it. How important is this to you and how can you use it to further your academic success? She also posits that computers are taking over the job of taxonomists. What are the implications of this statement?

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Digital Future

It's official. The NY Times says today that textbooks are a thing of the past. "Kids are wired differently these days...they don't engage with textbooks that are finite, linear and rote." What do you think about that? Do you prefer that all material required for coursework is conveyed to you digitally? What are the advantages of such a program? What's the downside? This course is going to focus on online resources as well as online storage of your study materials. Tell me how that works for you.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

So You Think You Want to Be a Scientist

My favorite new website, LiveScience, has begun a series on what makes a scientist. If you think you want to be one, this might be a good chance to find out more about what those in the profession think of themselves - you can eavesdrop on their metacognitive experiences. Off the bat, some say one has to be curious and creative. Others say successful scientists are born with special abilities. What do you think?