Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Well, that got me thinking ...

I just read this article from CNN Money about Harvard MBA graduates and essays they've written about what they want from life. The article is titled "Harvard MBAs: Putting goals of corporate domination aside."

This made me think of a couple things. First, there was a student, Chad Hufsey, quoted in this article as saying, "My life going forward is about one thing: living life -- without fear of failure -- to its fullest potential." This is a very interesting thought for me because it is something that I struggle with as well ... as I'm sure many / most of us do. What is interesting to me is that he was able to learn this through his MBA program. Is this something we can teach sooner so that students can take more of a chance with their writing during earlier stages of their learning? It seems like there would be some value to bring out this "fear," talk about it, and face it - maybe even during a first year writing program. Students shouldn't be afraid of writing, they should be able to have a safe platform in which to fail and then be able to reflect upon that failure. There is a lot to be said for the (good) direction failure can take someone.

The second thing I thought about while reading this article was this assumption we have that our business students are only interested in "world domination." Oh, and how a 200-word essay can give us insight into a person. No, I'm not surprised by that, but I'm surprised that they are surprised. It isn't amazing that students who study (ied) business have a past ... or a soul. It isn't amazing that they want share their experiences with others. The impact of bringing a new genre into this Harvard MBA program was rather significant to these graduates and, possibly, their potential employers. And, since I am just starting to delve into Genre Theory, this makes me wonder, is the group of genres that populate a certain community too narrow, and how do we introduce new genres into a particular community?

Hats off to Tony Deifell for creating and introducing Portrait Project. The essays featured are also accompanied by a black and white photograph of the student author to enhance the impact.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"New Media" and its Implications in the Classroom

I just read a blog written by a past professor, Steve Krause, which mentioned that he heard the news about Bin Laden's death via Facebook. It is interesting because I actually saw the news ON the news, oddly enough. I often feel like I come into someone's conversation on Facebook ... I feel like I have missed something and everybody is already in the middle of talking about something important that I should already know about. This time, I was "watching" (using this as a loose term - more like using it as background noise) the Celebrity Apprentice when the announcement came on that President Obama was going to make an announcement ... on a Sunday night. Yeah, it made me a little nervous.

Shortly after the announcement that the President was going to address the public, the news anchor confirmed Bin Laden's death. What is unique to me in this particular situation is that I coincidentally had the TV on and was watching it live - which I rarely due anymore due to my overwhelming love of my DVR and my short snippets of time that I can watch TV. Admittedly, I have something like 95 unwatched items and I have to continually go in and delete things to make more room for things that I will inevitably delete in a week, but I digress.

Anyway, immediately after I heard the news on TV, I logged on the Facebook and watched the trend on Twitterfall. While Krause heard the news on Facebook and then turning on the TV, I did the opposite. I feel like his was a more natural progression and I wonder what I thought I might find from something like Facebook or Twitterfall that I couldn't find on the news. I think I turned to these things for comfort. I didn't really know what the implications of Bin Laden's might be, or if anyone else was thinking about the possibility of retaliation like me, but I wonder what implications or improvements my use of digital media platforms offer when events like these arise.

I also attended CAC today and the use of cell phones as "pencils" came up as well. This made me think about all the times when I grab my cell phone to write notes to myself about anything from small reminder notes, to a detailed draft, to a grocery list (which I love keeping in my phone because I always have it with me). These things really make me think about the use of these things in the classroom. We obviously don't like students using Facebook, Twitter, and cell phones during class, but I wonder how this may become prohibitive to the invention process and not prohibitive to the students' learning.

What are some of the implications of this? What does this mean in creating future assignments when possibly considering these digital mediums? What does this mean for rules and policies in school? What does it mean for our often already overloaded students to encourage MORE information at their fingertips all the time? I'm not sure the answer to any or all of these questions, but it is something for me to definitely continue to consider.