There’s a great article in Slate by Michael Agger a couple of weeks ago about how we read on the web. Apparently we don’t really read as much as skim. This is based on interesting research cited in the article. My website doesn’t really fit the guidelines that ‘experts’ advocate in order to retain audiences. There’s also a great article in this month’s the Atlantic Monthly, Is Google Making Us Stupid, which takes a media ecology approach to the web, citing the Phaedrus, McLuhan, and Mumford, among others. The article was a long column, which I had to scroll over, and it didn’t have any bullet points, so I only skimmed it! No, kidding. I read it. The author makes the standard argument that all critics of new media do, we are losing our ability to think linearly, critically, and substantively. He concludes by saying, “as we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.” This line, incidentally, reminds me of something Haraway wrote in the Cyborg Manifesto: “Our machines are disturbingly lively, and we ourselves frighteningly inert.”
So I’ve been surfing the web on the qualities and characteristics of Gen Y. We are thick in the middle of teaching Gen Y or the Millennials.
1. They all point to how wired Gen Y is, which relates to the point above about the net. Millennials are parallel processors. So, I’m thinking of what I can do to appeal to that in the classroom. That’s one of the reasons I’m thinking about recording my lectures.
2. It raises issues for me on how to teach public speaking. It’s that old debate between do I force them into the box of linearity, or do I teach them to be better producers and consumers of stream of consciousness, narcissistic, montage, facebook-style thinking. And since they’re better at that than I am, I’m not sure how to teach it. Students insist on bullet points on their outlines. I insist on traditional outlines. It’s a constant struggle.
3. As an aside, their parents are “Helicopter Parents,” which totally fits with my experience, especially at BRCC.
It’s late into the summer to be setting goals, but this is only my second week of summer vacation. For my summer goals I plan to
1. Clean my desk. It desperately needs it.
2. Buy new sneakers. And soon.
3. Read Donna Haraway’s _When Species Meet_. I should have already read it, but I’m so mentally unmotivated by teaching at BRCC. So, I have no excuse this summer.
Every year we are required at BRCC to list three professional development goals. So here are my three:
1. Learn how to use speech lab and the ancillary products associated with the Devito textbook we are using in public speaking.
2. Facilitate a professional development workshop on community building in the classroom.
3. Learn how to podcast or record lectures on mp3s for students to download on blackboard. I have mixed feelings about doing this. Will students skip class more frequently or get lazy and stop taking notes? Or will it help them to learn? It’s an experiment.
I keep numbering things, instead of using bullet points. Does that say something about me?