Sunday, January 4, 2009

Resolved......a Book, a Blog and a Black Back Pack

I have three resolutions for the New Year:

#1 My short term resolution is to finish reading David Weinberger's Everything is Miscellaneous by the next blog. I believe this book was a recommended by Will Richardson, and I'm glad I put it on my Christmas list.

#2 My second resolution, to carry my black back pack through June, relates to this quote from chapter 1 in Miscellaneous :

We have entire industries and institutions built on the fact that the paper order severely limits how things can be organized. Museums, educational curricula, newspapers . . . But now we
. . . do it ourselves and, more significantly, we can do it together, figuring out the arrangements that make sense for us now and the new arrangements that make sense a minute later . . . The miscellaneous order is changing how we think the world itself is organized and—perhaps more important—who we think has the authority to tell us so.

The black book bag resolution is pretty significant, because until this year I have always carried a brief case to and from work....and it was always packed with student papers. Of course for the English teacher this is a badge of martyrdom, but also considered a necessary trade-off for loving lit. But this year, I put the briefcase aside, and to date, I have not taken a single paper home. Now, as my Red Herring post indicates, I am not phobic about paper, but I am trying to radically change my approach to "work" and to vary the media that my students and I use to communicate and (I hope) learn. This change was not a cinch for me, but I feel I am over the hump, and I look at it as a lifestyle change instead of an experiment.

#3 This blog began as a sprint with a backlog of material. Now I am going to ease off the throttle and shoot for one a week in 2009. I still look forward to writing each post as I have not enjoyed composition for some time. If my job were to accommodate more time for writing, I think I would really enjoy it. In the mean time I am going to strive for a steady pace as well as quality over quantity. (Check back soon for my favorite multi media class project).


Lynn Waldsmith said...

Enjoyed reading your blog over the holiday break Larry. I especially can relate to your most recent post about resolutions. I, too, resolve to learn how to use new technology/media this year to reduce my never-ending pile of student papers to grade.

This will not be an easy transition for me, however, since I admit I have a tendency to fill up student papers with red ink. It's not so much to satisfy my own ego, but I really do believe that students NEED a great deal of feedback if they're ever going to improve their writing. Therefore I resolve to learn an audio program that will allow me to talk and point out all the things I normally write or type instead.

Who needs a "badge of martyrdom" anyway? Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges . . .

Here's to greater freedom on the horizon . . .


Larry Baker said...

You are on spot about the need for feedback. To avoid needlessly repeating the same comment, I've been creating templates with google docs and attaching a customized feedback sheet to short digital or paper assignments. I intend to look further looking into Jing and Audacity for the type of audio commentary you are discussing. But I also confess that I am getting away from the traditional "paper" as the only legitimate way to provide a film or literary analysis.

Alison Kline-Kator said...

I think those are good ideas for providing feedback - I have a prof that uses Audacity to comment on our digital projects - I open up the file and listen while also having my copy of my project open - this might be good for more digital or multimedia things - I haven't used it myself (I'm kicking around some places to do it in the next semester)in the classroom, but definitely see the applications.

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