Monday, April 29, 2013

iPad review and suggestion

I dropped my loaner iPad the other day and it is dented. How? Maybe it has to deal with the device being front operated grass, with rear operated stability. You hold it like a book, except the book has a slippery curved back side. As someone who has dropped a book, this opens the device up to failure, either designed or un intended.

So I thought of two things, fix it or own it. I'm in an own it mood having just successfully defended my thesis. So here is the dealy-o: make the device future glass all see through, until you have an app come on screen. Place the keyboard and other os controllers on the back of the glass so I can do something with my fingers, possibly reconfigure character spacing and text dynamics. The result, a workable keyboard and increased interaction potential for the entire device. They gotta do something because apple is gonna be looking like Compaq if gglass goes mainstream.

As for the device, I do not recommend buying the iPad 3. The iPad 2 is better, with the exception of front camera and other minor os stuff. This thing is bad on battery life and wifi Internet is always disconnecting, and as I noted in the beginning, the thing dented from a 3 foot drop. That is unacceptable for a device that is being used in elementary schools for the purposes of classroom instruction. 2 was better, but is already lapped with apple routinely updating iOS to the point of rendering older devices into mp3 only players (or other limited use). I dunno about 4. Pictures at some point.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Turning "real life" into a PBL assignment

This week's presentations made me realize the importance of audience teacher relationships. I enjoyed the aspect of presentations that made students feel welcomed; those presentations that produced a want to learn. There was a certain room shift at one point, and I think that is one of the things that will occur in the classroom, given colleges' current time/spatial complexity in the United States of America compared  to homogeneous communities. People are meeting people for the first time, and stuff still goes wrong.

Anyway, I figured that students could possibly get away from identity politics if they focused on those strengths we had discussed a few classes ago.

Feel free to add link, it may happen later.

Maybe if we tailored the education to the individual, while still in a group setting, providing opportunities for participatory outlets in the strength format, we could simply tailor the assignment to something extremely daily. Instead of hypothetical's, we get students to fill out their bureaucratic paperwork; get students to get in groups and purchase clothing online; get their trip home tickets; stuff like that. The assignment is to simply incorporate course material, which appears to be along the general lines of X is screwing up student's life in this way. You make the assessment a project deliverable with deliberation, either group or instructor focused, that way the student has an opportunity to discuss the merits of outcomes.

Naturally, lawyers will hate this.

random video, check your youtubes before going to apply for jobs. You may get a case of mistaken identity:

goes either way, I guess......

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Analytics of adult puppies in comparison to horrible music.

I am using the iPad blogger app for this post, please bear with me. I am in thesis land this weekend and I have limited resources to explore gedi training, at the moment. I do have a computer in my hands so I wanted to see what could happen. This is what happened: Pictures of adult puppies and terrible music. I had an adult puppy, an iPad, and a dream of monetized ad revenue. I also only had a few minutes to put this all together, but my hunch is that people will enjoy the dog in comparison to my horrible music.

Update #1

So I learned this week that analytics for youtube to blogger doesn't work that well. One reason is the views that occur off of the blogger site. This came up in someone's earlier blog post, or in class, regarding proper linkages to content to ensure accurate representation. Once these systems become more integrated to trans-platforms maybe these areas of qualitative/quantitative analysis would provide some measure of learning. The horrible music video has since been removed to spare other course mates the horror of having to listen to intentional garbage.  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Grades? We don't need no stinking grades?

This past week, our group had a discussion regarding grading in the performance of coursework, which got me to thinking, why grade? Not a metaphysical, what is the essence of grades, question, instead I was curious why we didn't go Great Books. Great Books institutions such as St. John's College have grades, but they don't matter (per se). At St. John's College students are required to attend yearly don rags instituted by Scott Buchanan during the implementation of the New Program at the college. Don rags enable the student to engage in a conversation with the tutor/s (faculty are not instructors or professors) regarding course conduct. This made me think. I hate talking to professors, I always have the feeling that I am wasting their time. We can debate that point, but there is no real incentive for the professor to talk to the student, other than continued employment (assuming the professor is pre-tenure), and any time they spend talking to a student is time that could be spent on other capital ventures. To move beyond this self sustaining negative feedback loop, instead of grading, maybe we should spend more time talking, or communicating.

Edited to reflect some semi balance of grammar.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Whitmore's Auto-ethnography of the syllabus assignment. Part 1 or: My attempt at a lazy allie brosh whilst explaining the problem of limited accessibility of teacher administrative resources

So today I was thinking of doing work before 9:00 AM, which many people claim to do, but are often times doing it thanks to drugs:

                 *The brown stuff is coffee, or just speedballs, who knows, right?

I was all about working and doing all the things and junk.

Which gave way to false weather report induced mania:

This may be why Weather Channel music is a combination of House and Ambient techno filled in with some smooth Sax.

So I am running on all cylinders, I don't need no V8 Ketchup juice! But right out the gate I hit the wall. I have no idea what a syllabus has to look like, because I don't have anything to compare.

I haven't taken an undergrad class in about 10 years, meanwhile things like youtube, cell phone cameras, skrillex, substance D, HD TV, and the death of Michael Jackson have all occurred. No worries, just see what is on the web.

That is when tragedy struck.

The only repository I could find was at Clemson. Take a look, it is pretty nice, but think about what this means. Other lazy professors who wake up before 9AM may also be squeezed for time to make a syllabus and just use one of the Clemson pieces. This could lead to Clemsoning of higher educational practice, where Clemson courses become the standard. This is unacceptable! As a Hokie, I demand that Virginia Tech should be remodeling the entire university educational system.

While drifting closer to the 11AM after having conceived and processed this portion of the update, I wonder how the role of the syllabus, as a tool, is changing. A centralizing document isn't really necessary in a decentralized, democratic, system, right?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Planning the Class Event

Is the professor responsible for everything that occurs in the microcosm of the class event? Yes, says the reflective planner. The competency of the practitioner to recognize problems within the course of the practice is a given. Things are going to go wrong, and the practitioner should be able to recognize non-optimal performance. Failure would result in incompetent practice.

A practitioner should also know when bureaucracy is getting in the way, and the actions that will be required to fix problematic operating variables. This is a basic telling of the work of Chris Argyris and Donald Schön. To save time and warp your brain, here is 1,000's of pages of material condensed into a quick example.

Example: You drive your car to school and the tires go flat; this happens every time you drive to school.

Incompetency: You do not recognize this problem and continue driving.

Single Loop learning: You realize that car tires going flat is a problem and you fix the tires.

Double Loop learning: You realize that car tires going flat is a problem and you also realize that fixing the tires repeatedly isn't solving the problem.

If you want more info but hate the tl;dr aspect of grad school here are some sites for more info:

This idea goes even further nowadays though, incorporating an even higher level of learning, that actively changes the practitioner into a post modern mess. I'm not sold, but here is some info:

So what does this have to do with pedagogy class?  Professors are going to get things wrong. Things are going to happen in the classroom that require different teaching applications. Thinking about why things are going wrong and making necessary modifications to your teaching practice is going to help you in your daily work life, or at least help you better understand your daily work life.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dr. Karpanty's Pyramid Scheme

Last Wednesday, Dr. Karpanty provided direct insight into the practice of case based learning, based on her direct observation in the performance of her teaching pedagogy. While some may have gained understanding of the practice, I was left more confused than before the class began. One item of contention is the need for Teaching Assistants in the operation of the course. The claim was made that teaching cases is the wave of the future, where more professors will have to provide these learning opportunities to students. Do you see the problem?

Where are we going to get teaching assistants? The cost of education continues to increase while funding decreases. Is it safe to assume that Grad students will continue to multiply? 

My take is that this pedagogy is stacked pyramid scheme thinking. Sure, we can set up this type of learning environment, but it demands that we have access to skilled low cost labor, TA's. Then when these TA's become professors they too will have to have an increased crop of low skilled labor to enable competent practice. This is a system of exploitation, whereby the original professor is going to be a position to create more gain than the outer leveled professors or TA's. 

Lets go further. What happens when all of the good research gigs dry up and professors have to take on higher teaching loads, without TA support. If i'm teaching a 6x6, in what world will I be able to place 8 to 10 hours into every course hour? That means I may be spending 144 to 160 hours a week setting up my cases for class. In this scenario, I may get 24 hours to exist in all other areas of my life, that includes sleeping, eating, doing research, going to departmental meetings, and teaching classes. The time requirement does not make sense.

I'm sure students love this approach, but it is not feasible. This is a trap at best.