Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

And we wonder why more people don't teach!

If you ever wondered why faculty in higher education sometimes act like they are stuck in a rut? It may be because they are . . .

Where else can you go to school for not less than 23 years (K-12, 4 college, 3 graduate, a minimum of 3 for the doctorate), potentially amassing hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, only to be paid a little better than an auto mechanic of a police officer (not that the technology revolution hasn't made those jobs more difficult).

See the recent release of Faculty Median Salaries - "results of the 2007-08 National Faculty Salary Survey conducted by The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR). Figures are based on salary data of more than 211,400 faculty members at public and private institutions nationwide. Salaries were reported by 838 institutions, including 499 private institutions and 339 public institutions."

You'll see that a business professor makes more than an economics professor, and you'll probably wonder why math and nursing professors don't make more than law and engineering professors . . . or maybe you won't. So how do they do it?

From what I've seen, it's either an intense desire to share what they've learned (hopefully by first-hand experience, not just from reading about those from another) or the opportunity to have a relatively steady, full-time position where you only have to work 2/3 of the time. That either allows a bunch of time off for sharing ideas at conferences, traveling the world, or doing something else to make money.

Sometimes plans like the above work, and sometimes they don't, but the potential for feeling like you are in a dead-end job is still there. Many college professors have a variety of classes that they have taught many times to many students. They have the lecture memorized, and if they use multimedia, it's often dated. And then, to top it all off, they get very little thanks from their students, and nothing but committee work and research requirements from the administration.

By the time they figure out that they don't enjoy the work any longer, it's way too late to change career fields (or so it appears), so there appears to be no incentive to learn more or even keep abreast of recent developments. That's when you know you need a break . . . or maybe it's time to retire?

So the next time you see a college professor stuck in a rut, help them get out by giving them a push!

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

time to process, unpack, and apply!

Just finished @itconference08, now to make sure all that learning doesn't get wasted.

Things I learned before, during and after (not necessarily in order of priority or importance):

- you can claim your Twitter account on Technorati

- I take notes better with a laptop

- Twitter Vision is cool to watch -- like a game of ping pong

- what many in education 2.0 (two-way communication) are doing is really education 3.0 (collaborative group communication)

- the world really is flat.

- wireless mobile devices (WMD) are just something I think will take over the learning environment

- PowerPoint slideshows are not teleprompters

- we need to shift the locus of learning (.pdf link)

- moved to the U of I-C

- there are simple ways to add friends on Twitter

- CrunchBase is a new (free) directory of technology companies, people, and investors that anyone can edit.

- digital ethnography is powerful

What do you think?

Monday, April 7, 2008

everything you ever wanted to know about Twitter but were afraid to ask

well, not exactly, but it is a real good primer . . .

My apologies for assuming everyone knew the basics!

Thanks to Marc Hustvedt for reminding me to post this - by way of posting it on his blog.

What do you think?

Hi-tech Mid-South educators

OK, so I'm at the13th Annual Instructional Technology conference here in Nashville and the featured speaker is about to begin and I see an @itconference08 on the screen. Hey -- that looks like a Twitter address, I think silently (in case I'm the only one that speaks Twitter). Right after that was instructions on how to get on the WLAN, so I slide out my PPC phone and hit the site and they have (now that I'm following them) 5 followers. Not good, I think.

And then I see that they aren't following anyone back. And then I see that the last 4 (actually first four, as well) posts were April 6, March 19, March 18, and March 18. And there are hundreds of people here -- on April 7th!!!

OK, so I am not in Silicon Valley . . . but shouldn't we have like some fairly regular posts just to see if someone responds. There admittedly are only a few Twitterers within 20 miles of Murfreesboro (the home of MTSU) according to TwitterLocal, but . . .

Help me out -- there's still tomorrow -- check out and follow them!

If you'd like to make
sure they get the message - @itconference08 and @carterfsmith and I'll make sure to pass it on.

What do you think?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

21st Century Roman video

Just now getting this finished -- sometimes the to-do list gets overwhelming.

This is the video of the recorded presentation of When in Rome - teaching 21st century students using 21st century tools, posted previously, complete with interaction (the only way to present).

It's from the 12th Annual Instructional Technology conference last April. The 13th starts tomorrow -- so I figured it was time to get this completed (since I just figured out how).

What do you think?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Can we learn without being comfortable?

As I noted in a recent publication:

The optimal zone in which adults learn is referred to as disjuncture— when time seems to stop. . . when our biographical repertoire is no longer sufficient to cope automatically with our situation. . . where we have a tension with our environment (Jarvis, 2006).

Without entering this zone, we are simply stacking up our experiences on top of things to which we can relate. This action often leads to an unnecessary compromise, where we settle for what is readily available to us, rather than what is actually the best fit.

With disjuncture, we are forced to build a completely new structure of learning. While in the disjuncture zone, though we usually will experience discomfort, we are ultimately able to establish a strong foundation for real learning.

(p. 182)

What do you think?

Jarvis, P. (2006). Towards a Comprehensive Theory of Human Learning. New York: Routledge.