A New Year of Learning

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    It has been an interesting number of learning years since when I studied Latin at Howland High School in Warren, Ohio. I’ve outlived many of my best teachers but am continually blessed with opportunities to learn from and with … Continue reading

I fell off the NET again—and enjoyed every minute.

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Reading with the Newf

After last semester I pretty much dropped off the Net for a couple of months (due to an unreliable home networking situation) and spent time reading printed books, hard copies of magazine subscriptions and paper newspapers. I highly recommend it. I am convinced that online reading is a different experience. I look forward to reading Naomi Baron’s latest thoughts on this.

Here are books I found well worth my having read:

  1. Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Thingspraised by several of my favorite contemporary authors David Mitchell, Philip Pullman, and Yann Martel.
  2. John Scalzi’s Lock In: A Novel of the Near Future.
  3. David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks.
  4. Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age.
  5. Gabriella Coleman’s Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous
  6. Andy Weir’s The Martian

I presently am finishing Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings and am looking forward to reading Ann Morgan‘s The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe when it becomes available in the US in May 2015. Before then I plan to read Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven.

Tomorrow, after my classes, I’ll invite my students into my office to take any books I have read. It always pleases me to see them walk off excitedly with some pleasure reading.

What books do you recommend that I read? That I encourage my students to read?

A Busy Nine Years for the Newf

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Robin the Newf owns the couch.

Robin the Newf owns the couch.

Patiently waiting for Saint Nick.

Patiently waiting for Saint Nick.

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Rudolph’s Backup

Bewitched

Bewitched

The Devil Made Me Do It!

The Devil Made Me Do It!

Harley Newf

Harley Newf

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FETCH

Rapping with the Pink Biped Who Feeds Me

Rapping with the Pink Biped Who Feeds Me

Reading Together

Reading Together

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Discussing Where Newfoundland Is…

Time's "Person" of the Year

Time’s “Person” of the Year

Identity Confusion

Identity Confusion

Canine Grading Assistant

Always Contemplative

Always Contemplative

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Newf Ball

Who SAYS I bat like a girl?

Who SAYS I bat like a girl?

Managing the North Lake Newf team

****Christmas 2014 104

Meeting Three-Year-Old Annie

Curious David Shares Secrets of Grading During the Christmas Holiday Season: My Magic Hat

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Yet to be done: 1) Grade 18 papers critiquing and contrasting “The Scrooge Effect: Evidence that Mortality threat Salience Increases Prosocial Attitudes and Behavior” and “God is Watching You: Priming God Concepts increases Prosocial Behavior in an Anonymous Economic Game.” … Continue reading

Musings While Giving an 8:00 a.m. Saturday Morning Final Exam on the 37th Anniversary of My Carroll Job Interview…

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The Newf

It was a foggy 5:30 a.m. morning when I let the Newf out for her morning “duties.” One of many good reasons for driving carefully to Carroll this Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. I surely would NOT like to hit another deer—nor would Santa or my car.

Deer Me

I can still see fog outside my Rankin classroom. Thirty-seven years ago I was in this very building giving a sample lecture illustrating how I teach as part of my two-day job interview to become a faculty member at then-called Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. I still have a copy of that presentation—and I remain at my first and only job for better or for worse. So much has changed—buildings, enrollment, technology, the institution’s name, the organizational structure.  I feel obligated to protect traditions and overriding institutional historical values, but there are fewer and fewer here that remember them. So many of my former mentoring faculty and staff friends have moved on through retirement or from life. I miss their wisdom but try to preserve their gifts to Carroll.

Ghosts of Christmas's Past

And here I sit proctoring an 8:00 a.m.Saturday morning final exam covering “Statistics and Experimental Design” taken by students several of whose relatives (aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters) were former students or advisees of mine. An_Outline_of_Basic__Cover_for_Kindle

There are times when they look and behave very young and I recognize that I am 65-years old. Many other times Assistantsthey keep me young with their energy, willingness to learn, and playfulness. I feel that way especially in the present of my student research assistants—four of whom are graduating this year.

It has been a rough semester. I continue to find challenging teaching three consecutive seventy-minute courses in a row with 10 minute breaks even when two of the courses are the same. And this year I am co-chairing the Planning and Budget Committee (with a delightful colleague and poet BJ Best).

It has been the Dickens of a task: The Wurst of Times and the Best of Times. Younger colleagues like BJ, though, and the fewer and fewer remaining colleagues from my past reinforce my willingness to remain here and make a difference before departing.

Best of Times, the Wurst of Times

The chimes just sounded. 10:00 a.m. Eight students remaining. Very good students among which several, should they wish, might join Dr. Simpson’s Neighborhood as student research assistants.

Carroll’s 2014-2015 theme is “Time.” I just finished reading David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks. Time to start grading so that I can finishing reading The Book of Strange New Things.

 

On Ostracism, Forgiveness, Compassion, and Accountabilty

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For numerous reasons I am a slow writer. I don’t type. though a nuanced writer I do not naturally dictate into a piece of software like dragon dictate. I’ve never had a secretary. I am a prodigious reader (and have been criticized for reading too much in order to delay writing). I revise multiple times trying to find just the right word, the right tone, the right feeling (This is version 21 of this short piece!). I am interested in so many different things—and therefore easily distracyted from the task at hand (yesterday I was distracted from writing by reflecting on digital doppelnamers!). I have no strong external incentive to write (I am tenured and intrinsically motivated). Are these excuses or reasons?

I am having quite a bit of difficulty writing this piece—and have had that difficulty for the past three years when my identity with my discipline of social psychology became disrupted and unsettled. In my Experimental Social Psychology class the past three years I have been sharing with students a case study of the influential career of European social psychologist Diederik Stapel. May I never be so famous that

  1. my biography is regularly updated in Wikipedia,
  2. my story is featured in the New York Times,
  3. my entire career’s work is evaluated by a Commission,
  4. I’m featured on a TED train special,
  5. and my work is regularly condemned on Retraction Watch.

The past two years I have invited my students to share in writing their reactions to this case study. Before “publishing them” in a blog piece, I was interested in whether Diederik might be interested in seeing them. Thank you, Diederik for replying and sharing some of your experiences over the past three years.

I am left struggling with the questions of at what point is ostracism unwarranted and forgiveness or a variant of compassion warranted. At what point does ostracism degenerate into a witch hunt? How can one both acknowledge and condemn wrong behavior (never forget) and yet not engage in wrong behavior by failing to allow an individual opportunities to show that they have learned from their wrong behavior?

I have much to ruminate about.


On spam, anti-spam, porn and robocalls

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I’ve been continually very impressed by WordPress’s Akismet spam filters—and annoyed and depressed that individuals spend so much time spamming or attempting to perfect successful spamming techniques. Not a day goes by when my filter doesn’t catch 7-10 spam messages—usually from abroad. Some are somewhat clever in their design.

This one in particular interests me because it is written not unlike how my juvenile undergraduate friends use to write silly/sometimes funny/ erotic/neurotic “pornography”. Unlike many spammers, this individual is reasonably literate in grammar and spelling, very clever in the number of ways of praising someone,and uses sound sound social psychological principles to fool the reader into thinking the comments are worthy of including in a blog post. A lot of work went into creating this. Such wasted intelligence.

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something {completely unique|unique}. P.S {My apologies|Apologies|Sorry} for {getting|being} off-topic but I had to
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my heart… {Cheers|Many thanks|Best wishes|Take care|Thank you}!
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{A great|An excellent|A fantastic} read. {I’ll|I will} {definitely|certainly} be back.|
I visited {multiple|many|several|various} {websites|sites|web sites|web pages|blogs} {but|except|however} the audio {quality|feature} for audio songs {current|present|existing} at this {website|web site|site|web page} is {really|actually|in fact|truly|genuinely}
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If so how do you {prevent|reduce|stop|protect against} it, any plugin or anything you can {advise|suggest|recommend}?
I get so much lately it’s driving me {mad|insane|crazy} so
any {assistance|help|support} is very much appreciated.|
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{would like to|want to|would love to} {know|learn|find out} where you got this from
or {what the|exactly what the|just what the} theme {is called|is named}.
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{Hi there|Hello there|Howdy}! This {post|article|blog post} {couldn’t|could not} be written {any better|much better}!

{Reading through|Looking at|Going through|Looking through}
this {post|article} reminds me of my previous roommate!

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to him. {Pretty sure|Fairly certain} {he will|he’ll|he’s
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{Thank you for|Thanks for|Many thanks for|I appreciate you for} sharing!|
{Wow|Whoa|Incredible|Amazing}! This blog looks {exactly|just} like my old one!

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{I like|I love|I really like} {all the|all of
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{You made|You’ve made|You have made} some {decent|good|really good} points there.

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PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the {expenses|costs}.
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site|website} . {Thank you|Thanks} =)|
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no doubt that} {your site|your website|your web site|your blog} {might be|may be|could be|could possibly be} having {browser|internet browser|web browser} compatibility {issues|problems}.

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across|found} this board and I {in finding|find|to find} It {truly|really} {useful|helpful} & it helped me out {a lot|much}.
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offer|to provide|to present} {something|one thing} {back|again} and {help|aid} others {like you|such
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blog|your site|your website|your web site}
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I {always|all the time|every time} used to {read|study} {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} in news papers but now as I
am a user of {internet|web|net} {so|thus|therefore} from now I am using net for {articles|posts|articles
or reviews|content}, thanks to web.|
Your {way|method|means|mode} of {describing|explaining|telling}
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of writing|paragraph} is {really|actually|in fact|truly|genuinely} {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious}, {all|every one} {can|be able to|be capable of} {easily|without difficulty|effortlessly|simply} {understand|know|be aware of} it, Thanks a lot.|
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days|nowadays|today}.|
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is} {rare|uncommon} {to peer|to see|to look} a {nice|great} {blog|weblog} like this one {these days|nowadays|today}..|
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in {internet|web} explorer, {may|might|could|would} {check|test} this?
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writing {due to|because of} this problem.|
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looking for this {information|info} for my mission.|
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site|site} {so|thus} i came to “return the favor”.{I am|I’m} {trying to|attempting to} find things to {improve|enhance} my {website|site|web site}!I suppose its ok
to use {some of|a few o

Today, finally, is Voting Day in Wisconsin. For awhile, perhaps, my phone will not be ringing 6-7 times per night between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.with spam-like political robocalls  with lengthy, emotional, one-sided messages telling me how to vote. Ironically they have motivated me to vote—but not for the candidate most abusing my privacy.

Thank you WordPress for your continual enlightenment and enablement. Blog pieces like your recent one on voting make it easier to vote and illustrate the opposite of spamming. Let’s create a word for that! Anti-spam?

Off to vote!


Reading, Writing, and Watching User Manuals

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whetting-my--app-etite----too-many-apps

Maybe it is my aging. Maybe it is a lack of motivation. Maybe it is a lack of focus on my part. Gone are the times when I used to master a new piece of software or a new computer in a few hours—exploring every drop down menu. Gone is my ability (or the time needed) to write a succinct user’s guide for the new machine and feel comfortable being a resident expert of its capabilities. Ah, my TRS 80 Level I machine—sometimes I miss you!

Fortunately now there are increasingly available excellent screencasts which clearly explain features of software. I find of special value MacMost Videos, Screencastsonline.com, and the superb presentations by David Sparks. When I am producing my own screencast I find most useful Screenflow though I am becoming impressed with Clarify‘s didactic potential.

Just downloaded the new OSX Yosemite Operating System onto one of my Mac’s. I find that it is worth the investment to purchase online tutorials that hand-hold one through the different features. I’ll have my undergraduate research assistants go through them before we install it on one of my office machines. In the interim I need to cycle through all my apps and see which ones work with the new OS, which don’t but are essential for my needs, and which ones I no longer need or have totally forgotten



Through the Looking Glass: (Ms.)Adventures in David-Land

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S-TEAM

P1020013

6b521-6a0105369066ba970b0120a6ce7b96970b-piIMG_0012

Amy and David---Photo stored on Google Drive

Phoumany

Two soon-to-be graduates Phoumany and Ryan

Ryan and Phoumany

Amy
Amy Peterson

4 years ago, I anxiously started my career as a Psychology Research Assistant for none other than the “psychology professor with the big beard”, Dr. David Simpson. Our first encounter was delayed because after receiving my assignment and seeing his picture, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work for him, what a typical precocious freshman I was! But after meeting him and learned the ropes from the God-like junior and sophomores, I finally began to feel comfortable in Dr. Simpson’s neighborhood. Looking back, I can hardly believe how much has changed. Time has transformed me, well, all of us really. Now sitting in the office, reflecting on my future after Carroll in December, I’m nostalgic for those years. From silly videos and webcasts, to struggling through SPSS for the first time, to Survey Monkey, and our pilot course in global connections through technology, our accomplishments are innumerable.
Dr. Simpson always brings light and fun into the office, even when he has stuff to do. He always makes time to check in with us, or joke about his Chi Tea Lattes, and of course telling stories about dear Robin, the Newf. Working with Dr. S has turned me from a precocious freshman, to a slightly-cynical, confident, and “sassy” senior with smarts to match-or so he lets me think! Our S-Team is my work family and as a senior, it’s especially odd that Phoumany and Ryan aren’t still here working with us as they had for 3 years prior.
Life in David land is a never ending adventure full of learning, fun and family.

Gracie
Gracie Bubnik

My time in Mr. David’s neighborhood has been fairly limited because this is my first year. I had heard through the grapevine that there was a waiting list to become one of Dr. Simpson’s research assistants and somehow I was given one of the positions! At the time of receiving the email I was really excited to be given this opportunity! Then I was on mycarrollu.edu looking up my class schedule and realized he was one of my professors… I was terrified to begin my time as one of his research assistants. I was nervous that he would bring up class work during work and work during class. But we are here now, 2 months later, and I have found out that I can apply what I learn during work to my classwork and vice versa.
I know I haven’t been here as long as many of the other research assistants but I have found this little lab in the back of his office to be very comforting. And the family type relationship I have formed with the other research assistants and Dr. Simpson is something I look forward to keep building.

Jamie

Jamilyn Smolik

I started this journey with Dr. Simpson in the spring semester of my sophomore year as one of his Psy205 students. At first, I was extremely intimidated by him because I was still a very shy, insecure underclassman with little self-confidence who had a lot to prove. I have learned that he is not as intimidating once you get to know him, and he is always around to help me out whenever I need it. After taking one of his classes, I was then curious if he had any openings for faculty assistants the following year. Because, I was not very assertive or timely, I waited to contact him the following fall when school began again. Long and behold, I received an email back saying he would enjoy having my help and welcomed me to his team.
After being shown the ropes from some helpful upperclassmen, I have grown to be quite comfortable when working in the office. I now also help the newbies get affiliated and comfortable with working in the office. I enjoy helping/working on ‘up and coming’ projects Dr. Simpson participates in outside of the Carroll environment. All of his projects provide great networking opportunities not only for himself, but for us, the student workers as well. As for the other student assistants, I have become very good friends with all of them. It is as if we are one, big, work family. We get on each other’s nerves at times, but just like family, we make up and act as if nothing ever happened. As I finish up my final year at Carroll, I look back and am so thankful for the opportunity I have been granted to work under Dr. Simpson, but also am grateful I took the initiative to push myself in a direction that will impact my future.

Copy of Maxine

Maxine Venturelli

I remember as a freshman being assigned to Dr. Simpson as a faculty assistant for my work-study program. I took a breath and turned the doorknob into Dr. Simpson’s office to meet him for the first time. I was so nervous! What I did not know at the time was that I was walking into a place where I would make some great friendships and learn many things from the one and only Dr. Simpson. Starting off as acquaintances, they soon into my S-team family. See, these people are not just peers, but people who I look up to and admire. For the first few weeks working for Dr. Simpson, I was very quiet and shy, but that quickly changed. I slowly started to open up. Dr. Simpson takes the time to get to know each and every of his faculty assistants. He has challenged me to improve upon my weakness, while encouraging me to use my strengths. Over the years, there have been a multitude of projects that have taught me to collaborate with my fellow workers. Although, we did not always agree, we always ended up finding a solution in the end. One of the most memorable projects that we completed my sophomore year included creating our own course that focused on culture. Along with the project, we were each given an iPad. I loved participating in this project because I desire to become a teacher! Working with Dr. Simpson is a privilege. He involves us in projects and opportunities that are meaningful. I have so many memories that have accumulated over the years. My experiences here have shaped me into not only a better student, but a better person. When I graduate this coming spring, I will greatly miss the times spent in Dr. Simpson’s office.

Copy of Liz

Liz Firkus

Looking back on the past four years gives me such a bittersweet feeling. It seems surreal to think that in just a few short months I, along with several of the other S-Team members will be walking across the stage at graduation. I remember walking into Dr. Simpson’s office for the first time, feeling absolutely terrified. This did not last for long though, Dr. Simpson and the other S-Team members very quickly made me feel right at home. The first two years we had the same six S-Team members who quickly became my family away from home.
As an assistant, we always have work to get done, but Dr. Simpson makes sure that we have a fun time doing so. He is always filling us in on the latest stories about Robin, The Newf, his big black Newfoundland “pup”. Dr. Simpson, being an avid reader, makes it a habit of giving away books from his personal collection, so I always have a new book to add to my collection, a recommendation for something new to read, or someone to discuss Harry Potter with. Dr. Simpson has always played the role as a second academic advisor as well, giving advice about classes to take and what adjuncts he is familiar with and recommends. Working for Dr. Simpson has been an amazing experience that has taught me so much that I will take with me when I leave Carroll. Any future students will be extremely lucky to be one of his student assistants.



I asked my research assistants to indicate their Top Learning Tools: Here is what they told me…

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1. Amy’s List of Top Tools:

“Like Air” that I don’t even think about:

  • Google Search
    • It goes without saying
  • Facebook
    • Key to staying in touch with friends
  • Youtube
    • Mostly for entertainment or “life” tutorials
  • Google Chrome
    • My primary web browser
  • Skype
    • Key for communication
    • My home internet is slow. This is a problem, but I also live in rural Wisconsin.
    • School is a little better.

Tools I use as a student:

  • Notability
    • This should be  higher on the list. It may charge you 3 dollars to get it, but it pays for itself.
    • Don’t need to carry a notebook because I can take notes on the app, organize and divide by category and class.
    • Highlight, type, draw, insert graphs and pictures. download powerpoints.
    • This app meets all my needs as a student.
  • Google Docs/Drive
    • Two words: Group Projects
  • Google Translate
    • More for Tutoring than Student now that I’ve completed my minor.
    • It’s like a dictionary.
  • Powerpoint (But I resent that I have to use it)
    • Most Professors expect it. You have to use it most of the time

It meets needs but lacks in presentation creativity. You follow a script.

Annie’s List of Top Tools:

Everyday Life (‘Like air’)

  •  Google Search
  • Never use Bing.  Google is everything.  If I don’t know the answer to a question, I will to be guaranteed to use Google search.
  • Youtube
  • The website I spend most of my time on anyway…
  • The best way to keep in touch with friends, especially as a freshman.  I still have a connection to many of my dear friends from high school, and I can see what they are doing, how their college experience is developing, etc.
  • Facebook
  • Wikipedia
  • Usually, when I do a Google search, the first link I click directs me to Wikipedia.  I know Wikipedia is criticized because it is content that can be edited by supposedly ‘anyone.’  However, I dare anyone to make a ridiculous change to a Wikipedia page and watch how quickly it gets deleted.  Especially on celebrity or historical figure pages, they do have people who monitor the information put forth on Wikipedia and they will change it if it is inaccurate/crude/stupid.
  • Buzzfeed
  • Useful as both a tool of entertainment and also highly informative on up-to-date issues (if you look in the right places).  They reported on the ebola case in Texas before most other news outlets.  However, it has a very heavy liberal bias in most of their articles.

As a College Student

  1. Microsoft Word
  • If there is any software that I feel like an expert it, it is Microsoft Word.  Formatting is easy, it looks very professional, and I have never had any issues with lost files or data.
  1. Google Docs/Drive
  • However, it is sometimes easier to use Google Drive, especially if you need to do a group project.  It also saves automatically, which is very useful, but it did have a tendency to crash when I used it in high school.  I did also occasionally lose information from my Google documents, which is always devastating.
  • While doing a group presentation in Google Drive is easy, it is pitifully uncreative and formulaic.  Still, it is easy and useful.
  1. Wikipedia
  • Most professors prohibit using Wikipedia as a source BUT if you scroll to the bottom, you can click the blue citations and find your way to more reliable content.  That is an excellent way to locate good material for a research project.
  1. Easy Bib/Bib Me
  • Out of all of the bibliography makers I have used, Easy Bib and Bib Me are the most user friendly and accurate.  However, between the two, only Bib Me allows free use of APA formatting.  For Easy Bib, you have to subscribe.
  1. TED Talks

Highly informative, always powerful and revelatory

Jamie’s Top 5 Learning Tools:

  1. Google (Everything in Google)

As a student, having access to the internet is extremely important and efficient.  I really like Google because not only does it provide you with a search engine, it also gives you options to share your research with friends and colleagues via Google Drive or Google Hangouts.  In my opinion, everything relating to Google should be wrapped up into one massive tool because if you use one, you’re most likely to use them all, or at least another aspect of it.

  1. PowerPoint

I find PowerPoint extremely useful, especially when giving presentations.  It is organized serially which is pleasing to the eye and easy to follow.  The program, itself, is easy to use and make changes.  Also, there are plenty of settings to mess around with when trying to create your own spin on the design of the final project.

  1. WordPress

I am familiar with WordPress and have used it a little bit with the Writing Center.  I think it is a very good tool to use when blogging.

  1. LinkedIn

I have a LinkedIn account and I think it is a great tool to use when you want to extend your networking.  As students, we want to build connections outside of our university in order to “land a job” or get hired right after graduation.  However, it is also useful to stay in contact with former professors and peers, as well.  In a way, LinkedIn is a shorthand, quick, glimpse of a resume for potential employers to get a sense of who they are about to incorporate into their companies.

  1. TedTalks

I just really enjoy these.  They are short (most of the time) videos about new and innovating ideas and research that people are currently working on.  I find them fascinating and extremely helpful.  I can draw connections from the content I learn in the classroom setting and then have something to apply that new knowledge to in a modern setting.

*I am also trying out Diigo, I will keep you posted about what I think of it…

Gracie’s Top 5 Tools

“Like air” tools:

  • Google Search- Although this tool is very helpful, and I google everything. You never know what can come as result for your search and does not have many credible sources.
  • Youtube-. Who doesn’t like to look up cute dog videos? Has many useful tools but can be highly distracting rather quickly
  • Facebook- The world’s best way to procrastinate. A way to communicate. Especially with those you do not have daily interactions with.
  • Instagram- Documentation of hobbies, likes, and dislikes by photo.
  • Skype- I like the idea of skype but I have had been confronted with glitches. I prefer google hangout.

Tools I use as a student (Gracie):

  • Google Docs- I find google docs to be extremely useful. It makes group projects and communication between multiple people easy.
  • Prezi- Prezi it the cooler version of powerpoint. Most of my newer and younger teachers/professors enjoy prezi over powerpoint.
  • Word- I could not get through college without word. I use it daily.
  • Powerpoint- Although prezi is extremely eye catching and interesting, powerpoint is very professional and a less distracting visual aid
  • Ipad/Apps- My ipad is put to more use that my computer. It has saved me a lot of time and money by just downloading a few apps.

Maxine’s Top Tools:

  • iPad and Apps– The iPad along with its many apps appeals to a wide range of individuals. The iPad is easily transportable and has become a common tool used in school settings today. The apps span a multitude of subjects from games, to educational tools. The apps are endless and can aide individuals in everyday life. For example, there is a Common Core app that allows me to easily access the standards on my iPad that I can apply to the lessons that I create.
  • Pinterest– Majoring in Educational Studies with a minor in Early Childhood, Pinterest is a great resource for finding ideas that I can incorporate into the classroom. This site, which is also an iPad app, allows me to browse through a plethora of lesson ideas. Within this site/iPad app I can create boards that allow me to organize the ideas that I find.
  • Facebook– I have learned that Facebook allows people to communicate as well as collaborate with one another. Especially with the various group pages, communities are able to share common information with each other. For example, I follow a page called Collaboration and Inclusion that allows my classmates as well as other educators to share information that they find on the topic.

  

  • TwitterAlthough I do not use Twitter on a daily basis, I hope to utilize it more often. It is a great tool in staying connected to people as well as causes. It provides quick updates as well as links to information that one chooses to follow. I follow the New York Times as well as educational organizations that keep me up to date on the current state of education.
  • All Things Google– Google Docs/Drive, Google Search, Google Scholar, Gmail are all tools that I use on a regular basis. Google Docs/Drive is a great tool to use when collaborating with others. When working in groups, this tool allows individuals to work on the project without necessarily meeting. This is important because finding a time when everyone is free to work on a project is difficult. Whenever I want to find information, I use Google Search as a first stop to finding out information quick. When researching, Google Scholar is a great tool to researching higher quality information. For my school email, I use Gmail and I really like formatting.



USING Jane Hart’s Top 100 Tools for Learning

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I hope I never find myself in the position of this monk where I need to call in technical support to figure out how to read an object called a “book.” In my judgment there IS a danger, however, in becoming too dependent on “technology learning tools.” My favorite tools remain a # 2 pencil with an eraser, a Pilot G-2 broad ink pen, some writing paper, and my mind. Nonetheless, this blog post is a heart-felt mini-festschrift to an Internet visionary.

I’ve written numerous blog posts about the tremendous value I find from Jane Hart’s annual identifying top learning tools. I have unbridled admiration and respect for her vision, willingness to share, and thought-provoking ideas. As I wind up (or wind down) my teaching career over the next few years, I am making an intentional, concerted effort to use things I have learned from Jane (directly or indirectly) over the past seven years. Thank you, Comrade and Mentor across the Pond!

  1. I have incorporated into my Experimental Social Psychology class use of a Ning (or see Julie Lindsay‘s superb utilization of a Ning). If you would like to visit this Ning, especially if you are a former student or classmate of mine or are also an experimental social psychologist, let me know. I would welcome incorporating into the Ning your thoughts about the course or your thoughts about being a social psychologist or using social psychology.
  2. Jane has influenced (favorably) my extra-classroom university academic life (e.g. I maintain alumni contact through Linkedin, and by my cross-posting my WordPress blogs across Facebook and Twitter.
  3. Jane’s influence has transformed the way I conduct my committee work (e.g. I recently began a Planning and Budget Committee meeting which I co-chair with a screenflow screencast which explained to colleagues how to access budget and planning information).
  4. Jane has transformed my daily interaction with my student research assistants who annually pilot test all tools on Jane’s list.  Among the tools we currently use or are bench-marking for student learning utility are Google Drive, Class Owl, and WordPress. These research assistants continue to revitalize me with their intelligence, playfulness, eagerness to learn, and youth. I have invited this year’s S -Team to identify what Top Tools they find most valuable and which they’d like to learn. Stay tuned.



It’s Been a Reasonably Quiet Day at Camp Carroll as I return to Campus for the First Time Since Mothers’Day

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It was a reasonably quiet day at Camp Carroll as I returned to campus for the first time since Mothers’ Day (Commencement) . I adjusted my invisibility cloak to semi-permeable but kept the missile defense system active. I spent most of the morning shoveling a path through my office and lab—the piles of papers, notebooks, etc. gave clear evidence that I had departed in a hurry. So THAT is where my Ipod was! Yech—that sandwich needs an escort out to the trash bin.

I dealt with the usual annoyances of computers not working; lack of access to locked rooms and I left today satisfied with having created creating a semblance of order in the office and lab.

How delightful to find summer notes on my door from three alumni! (I’m looking forward to chatting with alumnus Mike Martin about our collaborating on an applied social psychology research project. Thank you, Anita Rodriguez, Julie Sascer-Burgos (PsyD!), and Kristina Dones for stopping by. Of COURSE, I remember all three of you—and yes, I’d love to get together either in person, via Skype, or by phone. Thanks for your kind words—and the memories!  Yes, Kristina (class of 2009) I too have many positive memories. Anita and Julie (class of ’82) remember my office being in the basement of Voorhees. Each of these three former students also had classes with my two emeriti colleagues, Ralph and Virginia Parsons

David, Ralph, and Virginia

David, Ralph, and Virginia

It’s amazing (satisfying) how much I can get done with no interruptions. I chatted with a student who is trying to return to campus after experienced some academic difficulties. I believe that she will be able to graduate and I tried to be be both appropriately supportive and realistic about how she needs to change her behavior to succeed.

I had a brief visit from two colleagues. I shared with Psychology colleague Chris May my excitement about (self) publishing my statistics text and we made a lunch date. Tomorrow I (sigh) have three meetings.

An_Outline_of_Basic__Cover_for_Kindle

 

Time to head home and see how the Newf is doing in my absence. She has now been home a week since her week’s hospital stay.

 


I’ve Been Thinking About Bagpipes Lately

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I’ve been thinking a lot about bagpipes lately. Perhaps that is because of my listening to NPR about the Scottish soda Irn Bru. Or perhaps it is because of my incipient interest in exploring my Scottish ancestry.

A wonderful tradition on my campus both on the first day before classes and again at graduation is to have a group of kilted bagpipers majestically lead the students ion to campus. I wonder if my school would like to involve a different bagpiper to campus. He would provide a cross-cultural experience, be energizing, engaging, and quite memorable.

 

Dear First-Year Student

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Dear First-year Student,

I may not meet you for awhile since I am not teaching first-year courses as often as I used to. I do offer you a heartfelt welcome.  You may well be the son or daughter or niece or nephew of one of my former students. That happens a lot.

First-year students have played a very important positive role in my life during my 36+ years of teaching here. You have made me smile, motivated me to learn from your enthusiasm, made me proud as I have seen you grow across your years here, and made me especially happy when we have been able to stay in touch across the years.

You sometimes have been favorably referred to as “the App Generation.” Don’t forget that your best apps are your values and your mind. You, the Class of 2018, do have very different life experiences than I. I look forward to learning from you and with you—if not directly this year, then in subsequent years. Do drop by and say hello in the interim.

Here are a few friendly suggestions I offer based on my years of teaching and learning.

  • Don’t be too proud to seek help or advice from faculty, staff, administrators, and older students here—especially those who know the campus and our students well.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to try new things, to meet new people (especially from different cultures) and to learn how to learn better. Let us become a global choir of learning.
  • Research suggests that the quality of relationships (e.g. with peers, with faculty)  is central to a positive, successful college experience.
  • Set aside some time for self-reflection.
  • Let  self-discipline enable you rather than imprison you, find the right balance between service and involuntary servitude, between doing a right thing and doing things right. My own freshman year at Oberlin College in 1967 was informative and formative, lonely and elating, value challenging and values affirming. I envy you the learning opportunities that are here.

 

 

 

 

Treating Appluenza

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Too many apps. I am on a decluttering mission. I am especially interested in keeping (cross-platform and cross browser) software that enhances my capabilities for writing, screencasting, and facilitating global communication.

First I shall revisit each application and attempt to answer these questions:

  1. Why it is on my machine? Was it pre-installed? Perhaps it was very favorably reviewed? Am I keeping it because of nostalgia? Have I forgotten that it is there? How often have I used it? Updated it?
  2. What needs or research interests did it address at the time I installed it? Do these needs or interests still exist? Are these needs likely to continue over the remaining years of my teaching?
  3. How well does does the application address these needs compared to other applications that I have since “collected”?
  4. Is it likely to work with the new Mac “Yosmite” operating system?

Here are the applications I am reviewing:

  1. 1-Password
  2. Adobe Reader
  3. Alarm Clock Pro
  4. Amazon Music
  5. Anki (flash card program)
  6. App Store
  7. Automator
  8. AVG Cleaner
  9. Battery Health
  10. Boingo Wi-Fi Finder
  11. Book Proofer
  12. Boom
  13. Logitech Broadcaster
  14. Calculator
  15. Calendar
  16. Calibre
  17. CallNote
  18. Camtasia2 (Mac)
  19. Chess
  20. Clarify
  21. Cloud
  22. Comic Life 3
  23. Contacts
  24. Crazy Talk 7
  25. Dashboard
  26. Data Rescue 3
  27. Day One
  28. Delicious Library
  29. Dictionary
  30. Disk Doctor
  31. Drive Genius 3
  32. Drop Box
  33. DupeGuru PE
  34. Duplicate Detective
  35. DVD Player
  36. EasyBatch Photo
  37. Evernote
  38. FaceTime
  39. FamilyTree Maker 3 Mac
  40. FireFox
  41. FlipPlayer2
  42. FontBook
  43. Freedom
  44. Fuze
  45. G*Power
  46. Game Center
  47. Garage Band
  48. Glui
  49. Google Chrome
  50. Google Drive
  51. Google Earth
  52. Google Backup
  53. Hello, Tips, Tricks and Secrets *
  54. Ibooks
  55. Ibooks Author
  56. Image Capture
  57. IMovie
  58. Inform
  59. IPhoto
  60. ISoft Video Converter
  61. Itunes
  62. ITunes Producer
  63. Jing
  64. KeyNote
  65. Kindle
  66. LaunchPad
  67. Leaf
  68. Learn IbooksAuthor
  69. Learn Mac OS Lion
  70. Learn Mac OSX Maverick
  71. Learn Mac
  72. LibrarianPro
  73. Logitech
  74. MacCleanse
  75. MacFamilyTree 7
  76. MacJournal
  77. MacKeeper
  78. MacOptimizer
  79. MacPilot
  80. MacUpdate DeskTop
  81. Mail
  82. MailtabPro for Gmail
  83. MemoryKeeper
  84. Messages
  85. Microsoft Messenger
  86. Microsoft Office
  87. Microsoft Silverlight
  88. Mint Quickview
  89. Miro
  90. Missio Control
  91. Moose
  92. Movie Tools
  93. Notebook
  94. Notes
  95. Numbers
  96. OmniOutliner
  97. OOVoo
  98. Opera
  99. Pages
  100. PdfPen
  101. Photobooth
  102. Picassa
  103. Pins
  104. PixelPumper
  105. Pocket
  106. Posterino
  107. Preview
  108. PulpMotionr3
  109. Quicken Essentials
  110. QuickTime Player
  111. RadioShift
  112. RapidReader
  113. ReadLater
  114. RealPlayer Converter
  115. Reflector
  116. Reminders
  117. Remote DeskTop Connection
  118. Safari
  119. Sandbox Cleaner
  120. Screenflow
  121. ScreenSteps
  122. Scrivener
  123. SecondLife Viewer
  124. Shape Collage
  125. Share Bucket
  126. Showcase
  127. Skitch
  128. Skype
  129. SnapConverter
  130. SnagIt
  131. SnapxPro
  132. Soundboard
  133. Soundflower
  134. SplashtopStreamer
  135. StarQuiz
  136. Stat
  137. Stickies
  138. Tapedeck
  139. Techtool Pro 7
  140. TechTool Protogo
  141. TextEdit
  142. TextExpander
  143. Textwrangler
  144. TimeMachine
  145. TurboTax
  146. Tutor for Imovie11
  147. Tutor for Iphoto11
  148. Tutor for Lion
  149. Tutor for OSX Mavericks
  150. Tweetbot
  151. TweetDeck
  152. Universal translator
  153. Utilities Folder
  154. Video Guide to Mac Lion
  155. Voila
  156. Vox
  157. Wallpaper
  158. WashingMachine
  159. WD Drive utilities
  160. WePrint Server
  161. Wimba Diploma 6
  162. Wiretap Studio
  163. WorldClock Deluxe
  164. Zotero



Tool Winnowing 201:Treating APP Affluenza

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*Tools1

Too much stuff. An embarrassment of riches: Books; office supplies; projects; computers; planners for organizing my life:). Too much either wasted or neglected: space; knowledge unshared; time; opportunities; networking.

Inspired in part by the first chapter of Gretchen Rubin’s well written and thought provoking The Happiness Project and in part by my panicking that it is almost time to return to campus to teach, I’m focusing today on (again!) winnowing applications. I doubt that I can change my app-collecting habits (but, reflecting on Patrick Lindsay’s little book of self-help inspirational nudges It’s Never Too Late…172 simple acts to change your life,)—maybe I CAN change. It’s time to reconsider the ideas of “Essentialism“—with a grain of salt. I enjoy too much having many interests, many simultaneous projects, and continuous learning opportunities.

But do I REALLY need so many tools overlapping (or duplicative) in function that as a consequence of their sheer number or my changing interests I never master, I fail to update, or I forget that I possess?:)

Especially with the new Mac Operating system imminent, it’s time for some app-revisiting.

Time to focus.

Today I focus on screencasting/ screen capturing/ video producing apps among them

  • Screenflow
  • Screensteps
  • Skitch
  • Snagit
  • Snapzpro
  • Voila
  • Cantasia
  • Jing
  • Imovie
  • Clarify
  • Pulpmotion3



Twitter’s Potential as a Learning Tool: Additional Thoughts

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S-TEAM

As I systematically revisit Jane Hart’s Top 100 Learning Tools List, I must confess that (like Adam Grant) I continue to discover new ways to maximize Twitter’s usefulness for me as a learning tool. Though I have no interest in becoming a Twitter Ninja:), I am delighted by the capabilities, for example, of creating lists of experts who regularly stream invaluable and current information on topics important to me (right now those topics are technology learning tools and global education).

 

Still Looking for ways to Improve My Courses (Pt. 2 of 2)

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Back to the Office (Soon)

As I wrote about earlier , I’m looking for ways to improve my course Psychology 303, Experimental Social Psychology. My first such course, experienced while I was an undergraduate at Oberlin, was life-changing for me as I discovered that the discipline of psychology could scientifically study issues such as prejudice, attitude change, interpersonal attraction, and aggression. I’ve had several former students indicate that they have been very favorably impacted in similar fashion. I recently read a well-written blog by a Harvard undergraduate who listed what he felt were 20 best lessons from social psychology.

  • I’ve been contemplating incorporating into my course a writing project that would culminate in something like his blog piece. I also am in the process of reviewing Jane Hart’s list of Top 100 Learning Tools to identify any that I want to bring into the course as research tools.
  • I am especially interested in integrating into the course opportunities for cross-cultural /international communication.
  • I’d be very interested in hearing from formed students how they have USED what they learned in experimental social psychology.

I welcome your input and ideas.

 

 

Still Looking for Ways to Improve Courses After 36 Years of Teaching (Pt.1 of 2)

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Proof of Self-Publishable Book I've talked about in progress for the past 30 years!

Proof-reading ready copy of self-published book I’ve talked about being in progress for the past 30 years!

I’m sitting on the porch attempting to complete the bulk of my Fall semester Carroll University course preparation before intentionally disconnecting from the Internet and enjoying five days of pure vacation in northern Michigan a week from tomorrow. This year I shall be teaching two sections of Psychology 205 (Statistics and Experimental Design) and one section of Psychology 303 (Experimental Social Psychology).

Tonight I am focusing on the Statistics and Experimental Design course—-a course that is particularly meaningful to me. For the past 20 years I have used a traditional textbook enhanced by my handouts. Students also have weekly labs to gain hands-on experience using SPSS (The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). I’ve been very pleased by evidence that students learn, and I have received consistent positive evaluations across the years about the course both at the course’s completion and from graduates. But, there is always room for improvement—especially improvement attempts informed by thoughtful reflection from former students. So help me out. Are the two ideas below worth pursuing?

Across the years I have repeated heard from students how much they valued handouts I have distributed. These have essentially been a succinct outline of my notes (though I must confess that I haven’t used notes in 15 years!). The handouts are replete with a congery of Carroll-specific data and data collection exercises.

I have been troubled by the high cost to students of textbooks and bothered by what I see as unnecessary inclusions in textbooks (e.g. color, study guides, constant revisions, and electronic ancillaries of dubious didactic value) which drive up costs. Therefore,  I’ve been recently exploring a number of self-publishing mechanisms (especially Lulu.com and ibooks author). One of the best resources about self-publishing I have come across is Rick Smith’s  (self-published!)  CreateSpace and Kindle Self-Publishing Masterclass (2014 edition). I found it very useful and useable.

I’ve recently carefully examined Amazon’s CreateSpace.com. I have been very impressed by its ease of use, pricing structure, and quality of physical book production. I am holding in my hand tonight a hard-copy proof of a very physically attractive book —my book—with a glossy cover which I created using Create Space’s Cover Creator software. If I proceed, the book can be printed on demand and/or, if I choose, it can be converted relatively effortlessly to Kindle format (This i have not yet tried). I can pretty much decide the cost to readers (I’ve toyed with the idea of it being free).

  1. Idea 1: I am tempted to give students the opportunity to buy a copy and to help me improve the book by their adding their own data collection examples. Alternatively, I hold off distribution until 2nd semester when I before which time I add information to the book (perhaps with some student/former student collaborators).
  2. Idea 2: I am also considering building into the course this semester formal instruction in using Survey Monkey software now that I have a Carroll account in addition to my Schneider Consulting account. I envision in my last few years’ teaching creating a Carroll Student Statistical Consulting service and this would be one of the tools the use.

 

 

“I’m not sure if you will remember me, but …”

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The letter was posted out of state on April 29, 2014. It appeared in my campus mail box a few days later. I glanced at the hand-written envelope (too) quickly, guessed that it might be a (sigh, yet another) solicitation for a letter of recommendation, and didn’t have a chance to open it until the following Saturday while I was proctoring my first final exam.

Dr. Simpson,

     I hope that this letter finds you in good health and spirit. I’m not sure if you’ll remember me, but you did something for me that I’ve never forgotten.

The letter-writer (a former academic advisee and not the academically strongest of students) had graduated three years after I had been diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer. Therefore, he might have been aware of some of my health issues while he was a student here.  Alas, he’s right that I am not as good at remembering students as I once was. I suspect that some of that memory failure is age-related; some is caused, I think, by how Carroll has changed. Some by the sheer number of students I have taught in the past 36 years. And though I had no immediate recollection of the particular event he shared, nonetheless I recalled him in some detail even without going to my filing cabinet and pulling out his advisee folder.

In 2004 ,,, I called the College to inquire about online classes. The adviser I spoke with told me that you changed one of my grades allowing me to graduate. You gave me my life and I can never begin to thank you enough. … I never contacted you because I was embarrassed, but always so thankful for it….[B]ecause of what you did I have been able to get my Masters… and have the current job I hold.  I am about to leave for Afghanistan … And just want you to know that I have never forgotten what you did for me and have always tried to earn it and will continue to. Thank you so much. Respectfully,

I have only a vague recollection of the particular circumstance alluded to (but I verified its occurrence).

A student, about to graduate fails a final exam in one of my courses. Were there personal circumstances affecting their performance? Is this part of a pattern? Is there justified reason to give them an additional chance—say, an oral exam?

A student is just a few points away from the next higher grade needed to graduate. This is easier for me to resolve, because of my extensive training in statistics and measurement error I am aware of and sensitive to the imprecision of measurement. I am quite comfortable in this situation under certain circumstances allowing some subjective (human, humane?) factors to enter into my final judgment of the student’s demonstrated abilities and likelihood of future success.

I most assuredly would change a grade if I myself had made a clerical error in assigning a grade. My vague recollection is that the latter was the case in this instance.

Simple acts of kindness, even when unintentional, can have long-lasting effects. This I believe. I was overjoyed to hear from him and communicated my thankfulness for his letter and best wishes for safety while serving our country.

Preparing for Bloomsday: Reasons for Reading James Joyce

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Abloom with Ideas of What to Read

Abloom with Ideas of What to Read

I recently purchased a five-year journal and I’m using it, as a planning tool for things I want to accomplish in the next five years. Inspired by my sister-in-law who a year ago told me that she might attempt to read my late father-in-law’s copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses, I’ve begun identifying “great books” which I’d like to have read in the next few years. Ulysses is on my short-list at the moment, though I vacillate on whether I should invest the time in READING it. If so, I want to finish reading it by next Bloomsday.

I just finished reading Kevin Birmingham’s excellent The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses and gained a fuller understanding of the importance of the book. I learned a lot from listening to James A. W. Heffernan’s  Great Courses lectures on Ulysses.  I have explored the James Joyce resources on Openculture.com including a recording of his reading from the book. I’ve read The Odyssey (but almost 50 years ago—perhaps I should read the critically acclaimed Fagles translation). My interest has been piqued by the virtual reality project to create an educational video game of Ulysses, and I have discovered Frank Delaney’s audio podcasts reading of the work.  I passed by the twitter edition! Perhaps I’ll attend Milwaukee’s Irishfest. I’ll definitely add in my five-year journal Ireland as one of the countries I wish to visit.

The question, now, is should I commit myself to reading Ulysses—or instead curl up with Robin the Newf and study my dog-eared copy of  Berke Breathed‘s Classics of Western Literature: Bloom County 1986-1989.

 

It’s about Time…

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enjoypic

It is about time to discard my invisibility cloak and return to campus. TIME is the campus -wide theme 2014-2015 for Carroll University (Waukesha, WI, USA) where I teach. Across the course of my 36 years of teaching, I have enjoyed creating special courses (‘Why War?” “Happiness” “Pioneering Web 2.0 Technology Tools”) when I have been allowed total control over the course. Were I to offer a course on this year’s theme, I would include the following required reading and videos:

In Pursuit of Happiness

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Happiness is being ONE with the Dog

Robin the Newf knows about FLOW.

In an interesting article entitled “The What, Why, When, and How of Teaching the Science of Subjective Well-Being” in the April 2014 issue of the journal Teaching of Psychology Ed Diener and Christi Napa Scollon point out that in the past few years there have been over 10,00 publications per year on the topic of happiness. Anyone interested in teaching a course about Subjective Well-Being (I myself developed and taught such a course once for Freshmen) might find this article especially useful. It includes sample discussion questions, sample syllabus topics, exercises for enhancing well-being, and scholarly references. Here are webpages describing related work of two scholars I admire Richard Davidson and Sonja Lyubormirsky.

Some relatively recent “SWB” research is summarized in this  Happify link.

Below are some germane videos I have come across that made me laugh, smile, or think and that I might use were I to teach such a course again.

Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Booked for the Summer!

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Home Study Book Shelf # 1

 

Christine Smallwood has a thoughtful review in the June 9 & 16 2014 New Yorker “Ghosts in the Stacks” of Phyllis Rose’s The Shelf: From LEQ to LES.

Smallwood raises some issues about reading of considerable interest to me:

  • how we choose books today has been dramatically changed by technology (our preferences and reading habits are monitored and curated
  • what scholars read and how they read has changed (a distinction is made between close reading and surface reading)

I was appropriately admonished by her last paragraph:

And what about the books right in front of you that were published, even purchased, but, for all you know, might as well not have existed? My own bookshelves are filled with books I haven’t read, and books I read so long ago that they look at me like strangers. Can you have FOMO about your own life?…The alphabet is great, but there is nothing quite as arbitrary as one’s own past choices. Reading more books begins at home.”

Timeout on buying new books to read until I review what is filling my home office bookshelves. This is also a wonderful opportunity to use my LibrarianPro app.

Hmm—32 books in shelf # 1 beginning with father-in-law’s 1927 copy of the Best Known Works of Edgar Allan Poe and ending with Philip Tetlock’s Expert Political Judgment. How delightful!

 

 

 

 

Stop the Internet—I want to get off!!!

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Commencement 2014 was a month ago. I have already begun preparations for teaching in the Fall (how the years have flown by since February, 1978 when I taught my first class here).

Ryan and Phoumany

From time to time I disconnect and disengage from my seemingly always being online and from focusing on productivity. Try it —-you may discover that you are more addicted than you think. Can you enjoy the twittering of the birds without thinking about this wonderful Twitter guide?:)

It is easier to so do during the summer, since I opt NOT to teach or to commit myself to grant work during that time. As author Naomi S. Baron acknowledges in her thoughtful book Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World, one needs to be alert to the personal, cognitive, and social consequences of “24/7” connectivity.

Is Google making us “stoopid” (sic) or smarter? How can I ever find time to explore, evaluate, merge into my teaching the 2000 + learning tools which Jane Hart has alerted us to? I resolve these questions by stepping back, engaging in intense physical activity, reading widely, playing, and consulting the Newf!

Newf1

 

 

 

What evidence is there that collaborative, engaging, Web 2.0 tools indeed enhance learning?

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This thought piece  has been slightly revised from a blog piece I wrote a number of years ago for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel under the name “Curious David” when I was a community educational blogger for them.

I’m nervous and excited. Time to take off my invisibility cloak. Tomorrow (Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 8:00 a.m.) I meet in person for the first time with my 20 first-year students. What an immense responsibility to be their first professor!

We’re going to explore “21rst century” learning tools such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networks, virtual worlds, and YouTube. The idea for this course emerged from my experiences writing this “Curious David” blog column. Last year’s opportunity to write for “JSonline” was transformative for me as I learned from elementary and secondary school teachers, high school students, virtual school advocates, retired faculty and readers about innovations, challenges and successes they faced promoting learning.

In this first-year seminar we shall focus on some of the 25 free learning tools described by educator Jane Hart. [Here is an updated list I would draw upon were I to teach this course again.]  As we examine these learning tools we hope to answer questions such as these:

  1. To what degree can these web tools truly enhance student learning?
  2. To what degree are they just “cool” tools?
  3. Could they be used to develop critical thinking?
  4. Do they improve or degrade communication skills?
  5. Might they be applied to fostering cross-cultural or international understanding?
  6. Might they strengthen or weaken writing skills?
  7. What are their weaknesses or dangers?
  8. Should they complement or replace 20th century learning skills/tools?
  9. How can one evaluate their effectiveness?

[It seems to me it should be possible to produce an evidence-based paper like this to address the questions above.]

 My intent is to assist students in the transition from high school to college—and to investigate Web 2.0 learning tools which might be useful across classes and in the workplace. I want to involve them in educational experiences that will develop and enhance abilities in reading, writing, reflecting, presenting, thinking, and producing. Writing exercises will include short in-class and out-of-class reaction papers, journals, blogs/wikis, and exams. Presentations will be both formal and informal; individual and in small groups. Collaboration will be both with fellow students and with me.

Still Curious,

David


Giving Away (Social) Psychology

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Old Main

When I initially arrived at Carroll with my “ABD” degree (All But Dissertation) in 1978 it made much sense to me and to my chair, Dr. Ralph Parsons, to teach what I had specialized in during graduate school at The Ohio State University.

David, Ralph, and Virginia

David, Ralph, and Virginia Briefly Reunited February 1, 2014

My introduction to the field of social psychology had come while I was an  undergraduate at Oberlin College, and I hoped to give back to my Carroll students the excitement that I felt at that time of actually being a social psychologist.

At Oberlin  my academic adviser, Ralph Turner, was a self-described “arm-chair” social psychologist—i.e not at a researcher—interested in creating dithering devices to facilitate learning that would cascade within and outside the classroom. As an adviser and professor Ralph Turner was kind to and patient with me. He was a role model of a dynamic teacher and a voracious reader who regularly wrote book reviews and who played a leadership role in Division 2 (Teaching of Psychology). He encouraged my intellectual curiosity and accepted me as I was, unformed and uninformed but eager to learn. He introduced me to the idea that psychological principles of persuasion and attitude change could be used to make the world a better place—or a worse place if applications of these same social psychological principles and findings failed to be guided by ethics.

These were my most (in)formative years especially, perhaps, because I was taking all my classes “credit/no entry” (that is, ungraded).  This freedom from being graded allowed me to read voraciously, to be exposed first hand to social justice and war/peace issues, and to read and reflect upon works such as Postman and Weingartner’s Teaching as a Subversive Activity. I was also at that time inspired by APA President George Miller’s 1969 address advocating that we should give psychology away.

While a perennial graduate student at Ohio State I was surrounded by students who already were far better scientists than I was or would ever become and who subsequently have made major contributions to the field. Once again I was heavily influenced by personal relationships formed with a few key faculty—in particular by my academic adviser, mentor, and friend Tom Ostrom and more indirectly but in many positive ways, by the teachings by example of Tony Greenwald. Both of them, in their kind but brutally candid way convinced me that my calling most likely would be in teaching rather than in conducting creative, seminal, path-breaking research. And here I am thirty-some years later!

It pleases me that a number of Carroll students have chosen to pursue advanced graduate degrees in social psychology (e.g. Mark Klinger, Pam Propsom, Deana Julka, Darcy Reich, Jenny Welbourne, Cathy Carnot-Bond ) or in related disciplines (e.g. Mike Schwerin). Some of them have developed enviable scholarly reputations. But my goal in my experimental social psychology class is not so much as to be a pipeline to graduate schools in social psychology as to attempt to provide a capstone-like experience in their developed abilities of thinking about research.

I’m at a point of giving serious consideration to changing what I teach and how I teach my experimental social psychology course—if I continue to teach it. Two or my colleagues have a professional identity with my discipline, and I’m sure that they could step in. One possibility is to teach it entirely based upon readings (e.g. classic studies and recently published articles). Such a change in format might allow for more extensive, daily discussion and the potential development of student research ideas resulting from such discussion. This possibility would work best, however, if the class were small. There are years, though when I’ve had up to 35 students.

A second possibility is to teach it from a much more global, international perspective. A third possibility is to dramatically introduce hands-on Internet-based resources and experiences—drawing upon my recent interest in developing Web 2.0 learning tool. A good start in identifying some such resources has already been made by Scott Plous in his development of the Social Psychology Network  and is reflected in the work of Jonathon Mueller in developing teaching resources for social psychology.  And, of course, I could draw more upon the expertise of former students who are active experimental social psychologists. (Are you interest in some good students directed to you? Let’s connect!)

I welcome input from students and former students concerning which directions I should explore. How best should I proceed to give social psychology away?

 

Whispered Words of Wisdom

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Whispered Words of Wisdom from My Mom at Her Memorial Service

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sun City, Arizona

Good Morning! I am David Simpson, Pat’s oldest (perhaps Prodigal ) son sometimes called  “David D.” by her.  A Professor of Psychology for the past 35 years, I am wont to speak for 50 minutes or to twitter for 140 characters, but here, as she would wish, I shall be uncharacteristically brief.

90th Birthday Celebration: Bruce, David, Connie, and Mom

*smaile

*Family 1955

*clownsClowning at 90th Birthday Party

My mother was a life-long Teacher. She taught me how to read.  As soon as I learned how to read, I tried to teach Baby Bruce. Even today I love reading and teaching.

Mom taught me about life and about death and how to pray the 18th century Children’s prayer (personalized version):

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

If I should die before I wake

I pray the Lord my soul to take

God bless Mommie and Daddy and Grandpa and Grandma

Connie Sue and David and Brucie and Queenie

And EVERY BODY!!!!!  Amen

My mother was both simple and complex. She was a lady —prim and proper. She was good-humored, reflective, energetic, slim and vivacious. She loved children and music and clowns and cows and rainbows and especially took pride in her own children— respecting, accepting, treasuring, and nourishing their differences. Mom was a worrier—especially about the well-being of her guests. I do not doubt that she is worried right now about this service and that the guests feel welcome.

Mom leaves me with these whispered words of wisdom:

*truck

  • Don’t worry about doing THE Right Thing, but do A right thing.
  • Live, Love, Learn, and ——Give.
  • Be Good (for Goodness’ Sake).
  • Be Nice to your Brother and Sister.
  • Be Patient.
  • Be Kind
  • Be Giving.
  • Be Forgiving.
  • Be of Good Cheer.
  • Be You.
  • Be—–

and

  • Let it Be.

Obituary: Patricia Ann Stover (Simpson) Swinger

(Thanks to Sister Connie Sue and Brother Bruce for writing this).

February 2, 1924–April 18, 2014/ Sun City, AZ

Born in Robinson, Illinois to Nelson T. and Beulah Copley Stover, she had two siblings: Robert Nelson Stover and James Copley Stover. Her summers were spent at Interlochen, a world-renown music school/camp where she studied a number of instruments, including flute, piano, and organ. Her life centered around her family, her faith, and her music—not necessarily in that order.

After graduating from Robinson High School, she attended Oberlin College in Ohio where she met and later married Frank C. Simpson of Cleveland, OH. Frank was in the United States Navy, and soon after they were married June 30, 1945, she moved to FL to be close to him. Three children were born to them: Connie Sue (born in 1946), David Durell (born in 1949), and Bruce Copley (born in 1953).  Pat was a stay-at-home-mom until Bruce entered kindergarten; she then began a teaching career in Ohio, and completed her student teaching and her Bachelor’s Degree through Kent State University in Ohio before returning to the Buffalo area to teach at The Park School for a number of years.

Frank’s job with General Electric and later with several steel companies in Niles, OH, and N. Tonawanda, NY, led to numerous family moves, and when Bruce was to enter the 9th grade, the Frank, Pat, and Bruce finally settled in Williamsville, NY near Buffalo, NY. Pat was involved in church music, church activities, teaching activities, and, of course, school activities of Bruce as he moved through high school. Frank died in New York in 2001.

In the meantime, Pat had moved to Sun City, AZ where she renewed acquaintance with Paul Swinger whom she married in 1994. Ironically, they had attended all twelve years of school together in Robinson, IL. Small world….Paul’s family consisted of two daughters– Vicki (and Leon) Midgett and Paula (and Randy) Britt, and their daughters and grandchildren.

Throughout her life, Pat maintained her interest in music, specifically the organ and the piano. She continued to take lessons throughout her life and was the organist and director of several choirs as well as mastering the hand bells of Paul’s church in Sun City. She traveled to various churches in Europe as a result of her membership in the American Guild of Organists, which regularly traveled overseas; she was able to play the European church organs of composers such as Bach, Handel, Beethoven, etc. She and Paul did extensive traveling after they married: Hawaii, Alaska, and Europe were some of their adventures. Pat continued with her music playing at Royal Oaks and elsewhere until macular degeneration curtailed that activity.

After she moved to Royal Oaks in Sun City, she took up golf and made many friends through that activity. She continued to golf throughout her life–and was quite good at it, too, and modestly had trophies to prove it. Part of an octogenarian golf team, she will be missed by her golfing buddies.

In February, Pat celebrated her 90th birthday with all three of her children and her friends in attendance. On April 18, 2014, she died peacefully at home in the company of family members. Services will be held in Bellevue Heights Baptist Church at 11:00 am the morning of May 17, 2014; and interment will be next to husband Paul Swinger (who died in 2008) in the columbarium of Bellevue Heights Baptist Church, a church where she was active in church activities from volunteering for the annual Rose Festival to serving on various church committees and participating in Bible studies and activities involving numerous churches in the Sun City area.

In addition to her children Connie Sue (and Keith), David (and Debbie) and Bruce (Kai) and many special friends, Pat will be missed by her grandchildren Andrew (and Misty Bowman and their two boys Nicholas and Daniel) of Hinwil, Switzerland; Blaise Connor Simpson of Frederick, MD; and Lisa (and Christopher Miller and their son Bryan) of Bucyrus, OH.

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Commencement

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2014RyanandPhoumany

 

Commencement Is history. Academic life takes on a different rhythm. End of semester revisiting of goals. Planning for fall semester courses. Reflection, rejuvenation, redirection.

One of the first academic professional development efforts I’ll engage in this summer is in reworking my Experimental Social Psychology course, PSY303. I need to somehow incorporate into it lessons learned from Diederik Stapel.

 

I also want to transform it into a major introduction to international/global applications. Any suggestions from readers of this blog would be most welcome.

Language, Culture, and Internationalizing Education

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I have long had a fascination with languages. In high school I studied Latin for two years and followed that with two years of Spanish. When I graduated from Oberlin College in 1971 with an A.B. in Psychology I also had studied the equivalent of a Spanish major (including credits earned at the University of Guanajuato, Mexico). While a graduate student at Ohio State University I marveled at the language fluency of foreign fellow graduate students (I spent 6 months doing research at the University of Bergen, Norway and was humbled by the challenges of learning Norwegian and by how much more about the United States Norwegians knew compared to me!). A critical component of these language learning experiences was having opportunities to be exposed to the literature, theater, art, history, and cultural contexts of these languages. It will be interesting to discover what added value such tools as Rosetta Stone software contribute to efforts to internationalize this campus. I have yet to see convincing empirical evidence that the software lives up to its heavily advertised promises. I think something like teletandem may be a more practical way to provide language immersion. I greatly admire a number of thought leaders who write well and think deeply about authentically internationalizing education. Reading two books recently, Richard E. Nisbett‘s The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently… and Why and Malcolm Gladwell’s Outlier’s: The Story of Success, has revitalized my interest in relationships between language, culture, thought, and behavior. Richard Nisbett, whom Gladwell acknowledges as a major influence on his thinking that resulted in this book, was an invited speaker at Carroll University on March 24, 2009. Books such as these shaped motivated my tracking much more regularly global issues in higher education.


 

 

Fifty Ways to Say I Love You, Mom…

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Today is Mother’s Day  in the United States—my first since the passing on of my Mother on April 18 of this year. Some variant of this important Day of Recognition is of course celebrated throughout the world. Please pass on these three simple thoughts to your Mom—as I do to mine.

  1.  

    Ek is lief vir jou, Mamma! Dankie, Mamma. Ek is jammer, Ma!

  2. Të dua, mami! Ju faleminderit, mami. Më vjen keq, mami!
  3. أنا أحبك يا أمي! شكرا لك يا أمي. أنا آسف يا أمي!
  4. Mən səni sevirəm, ana! , Ana təşəkkür edirəm. Mən Ana üzgünüm!
  5. Maite zaitut, ama! Eskerrik asko, ama. Sentitzen dut, ama!
  6. আমি তোমায় ভালোবাসি, মা! , মা আপনাকে ধন্যবাদ. আমি মাকে দুঃখিত!
  7. Я люблю цябе, мама! Дзякуй, мама. Мне вельмі шкада, мама!
  8. Volim te, mama! Hvala ti, mama. Žao mi je, mama!
  9. Обичам те, мамо! Благодаря ти, мамо. Съжалявам, мамо!

  10. 我爱你,妈妈!谢谢你,妈妈。对不起,妈妈!
  11. Volim te, mama! Hvala ti, mama. Žao mi je, mama!
  12. Mám tě ráda, mami! Děkuji, mami. Je mi líto, mami!
  13. Jeg elsker dig, mor! Tak, mor. Jeg er ked af det, mor!
  14. Ik hou van je, mam! Dank je, mam. Het spijt me, mam!
  15. I love you, Mom! Thank you, Mom. I’m sorry, Mom!
  16. Mi amas vin, panjo! Dankon, panjo. Mi bedaŭras, Panjo!

  17. Ma armastan sind, ema! Aitäh, ema. Vabandust, ema!
  18. Rakastan sinua, äiti! Kiitos, äiti. Olen pahoillani, äiti!
  19. Je t’aime, maman! Merci, maman. Je suis désolé, maman!
  20. მე შენ მიყვარხარ, Mom! მადლობა, Mom. მე ვწუხვარ, Mom!
  21. Ich liebe dich, Mama! Danke, Mama. Es tut mir leid, Mama!
  22. Σ ‘αγαπώ, μαμά! Σας ευχαριστώ, μαμά. Λυπάμαι, μαμά!
  23. मैं तुमसे प्यार करता हूँ, माँ! , माँ धन्यवाद. मैं, माँ माफ कर दो!

  24. Szeretlek, anya! Köszönöm, anya. Sajnálom, anya!

  25. Ég elska þig, mamma! Þakka þér, mamma. Fyrirgefðu, mamma!

  26. Aku mencintaimu, Bu! Terima kasih, Bu. Maafkan aku, Bu!

  27. Is breá liom tú, Mam! Go raibh maith agat, Mam. Tá brón orm, Mam!

  28. Ti voglio bene, mamma! Grazie, mamma. Mi dispiace, mamma!

  29. 私はあなたを愛して、ママ! 、お母さん、ありがとうございました。私は、お母さんごめんなさい!

  30. Aku seneng kowe, angel! Matur nuwun, angel. Kula nyuwun pangapunten, angel!

  31. ខ្ញុំ​ស្រឡាញ់​អ្នក​ម៉ាក់​! សូម​អរគុណ​កូន​ម៉ាក់​។ ខ្ញុំ​ពិត​ជា​សោក​ស្តា​យ​កូន​ម៉ាក់​!

  32. 나는 당신을 사랑 해요, 엄마! 엄마, 감사합니다. 미안 해요, 엄마!

  33. ຂ້າ​ພະ​ເຈົ້າ​ຮັກ​ທ່ານ​, ບ້ານ​ມອມ​! ຂໍ​ຂອບ​ໃຈ​ທ່ານ​, ບ້ານ​ມອມ​. ຂ້າ​ພະ​ເຈົ້າ​ຂໍ​ອະ​ໄພ​, ບ້ານ​ມອມ​!

  34. Es mīlu tevi, mamma! Paldies, māmiņ. Piedod, māt!

  35. Aš tave myliu, mama! Ačiū, mama. Aš atsiprašau, mama!

  36. Те сакам, мамо! Ви благодарам, мамо. Жал ми е, мамо!

  37. I love you, mama! Terima kasih, mama. Saya minta maaf, mama!

  38. Jeg elsker deg, mamma! Takk, mamma. Jeg beklager, mamma!

  39. میں آپ سے محبت، ماں! شکریہ، ماں. میں، ماں معافی چاہتا ہوں

  40. Kocham cię, mamo! Dziękuję, mamo. Przykro mi, mamo!

  41. Eu te amo, mamãe! Obrigado, mãe. Sinto muito, mãe!

  42. Te iubesc, mamă! Mulțumesc, mamă. Îmi pare rău, mamă!

  43. Я люблю тебя, мама! Спасибо, мама. Мне очень жаль, мама!

  44. Волим те, мама! Хвала, мама. Жао ми је, мама!

  45. Mám ťa rada, mami! Ďakujem, mami. Je mi ľúto, mami!

  46. Te amo, mamá! Gracias, mamá. Lo siento, mamá!

  47. Tôi yêu mẹ! Cảm ơn mẹ. Tôi xin lỗi, mẹ ơi!

  48. Seni seviyorum, anne! Teşekkür ederim anne. Ben, anne üzgünüm!

  49. Jag älskar dig, mamma! Tack, mamma. Jag är ledsen, mamma!

  50. ฉันรักคุณแม่! ขอบคุณแม่ ฉันขอโทษแม่!



 

 

Dear 2014 Carroll University Graduate…

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My thoughts may be even fuzzier this Saturday morning as I sit here in my office—a little over 24 hours before your Commencement Day. I have just returned from a three hour meeting in my role of Faculty Observer at a Board of Trustees Meeting, and I was most impressed by the poise, courage, compassion, and intelligence of the remarks made by your Student Senate President. Now is a good time to gather together some last thoughts about and for you. Tomorrow will be a joyful and tearful day as relationships change. Because of my age seniority good looks  length of time at Carroll and rank of Full Professor, I march at the front of the line both at Baccalaurete (behind Dean Byler) and Commencement (following Faculty Marshall Pamela Pinahs-Schultz). That gives me an ideal seating position for seeing and hearing those of you in choir, but forces me to be on my best behavior (awake, disconnected from my Ipad, resisting wearing my Brewers’ or Carroll College hats). For those of you I have met, I have done my best to teach you well but I am only human. Every student I teach is different, special, and teaches me.  You have enriched my life and I welcome the opportunity as you become alumni to continue and perhaps to even expand upon our relationships. Thanks for the lessons. Many people (family, staff, faculty, administrators, and trustees)  have worked very hard, in addition to you, to try and provide you with the best education that Carroll can provide both within and outside of the classroom. I often think that we ought to set aside a time for recognizing those unsung “guardian angels” who have done their best to make Carroll a caring community and a better place.  As time and circumstances allow join them in giving back (without expectation of receiving “conovocation points”) your time, wisdom, networking resources, prospective student recommendations, and examples of skills or values developed here at Carroll that serve you well.  Give Carroll its due credit when it has earned it, but also offer constructive criticism when the institution has failed to meet your expectations for it. Seek out opportunities to do “a” right thing. Use your mind to think carefully and critically but don’t forget that there are indeed many times when it is appropriate to follow one’s heart. I envy your youth and the many opportunities that lie ahead to share your talents and to make the world a better place. Stay in touch. Oh, yes… Here is a final exam. With many fond memories, David Simpson, Professor of Psychology


What ELSE a professor does: On Being a Person of “Letters”

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What does a professor DO? My answer to this question changes as a function of when you ask me—at different times of the academic year and developmentally at different times in my professional career.  I began to address this question in my first blog for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in October of 2007 when I was trying to explain to my father that a professor does more than sit in his office and read books (what a heavenly thought though). At that time I had the pleasure of being one of their online educational community columnists for a year.

One of the major demands on my academic life over and above teaching six classes per year, serving on committees,engaging in scholarly activity, academic advising, and mundane organizational responsibilities is writing letters of recommendation—an important task which consumes increasing larger amounts of my time. Having been a faculty member at Carroll for more than thirty-five years, I have gotten to know and be known by an increasingly larger number of students, staff, faculty, and alumni. I receive an unusually large number of requests from former students who graduated a number of years ago and who now are changing life directions (I truly welcome hearing from you—not only when you need something from me:)). The venue of these requests has changed from being asked in person and (in advance) to materials being placed under my office door, email, social media, telephone calls, Face Book messages, email forms from graduate programs–and occasionally via owl! I must admit I like staying in touch with former students, and the ways I keep connected with them have multiplied with the of use of email and the increased use of social networking tools such as Face Book  and Linkedin and David-in-Carroll-land.

There are temptations to streamline, to cut corners, become more efficient, achieve that elusive goal of an empty email box. I conservatively estimate that I was called upon to write 5-6 letters for at least 75 individuals this past year. Easy solutions which come to mind (some of which I have experimented with) include using a template or form letter, using a rating scale or check list, keeping the letter short, limiting the number of letters written per student, being very selective about for whom I write (—or just saying NO), limiting the amount of time written per letter, limiting the format to twitter restrictions of 140 characters, using a haiku format, and/or teaching students ways that they can make my letter-writing easier. Alas, I wish that I were able to follow my own advice!

There exists quite a literature of the art (how does one write convincing letter?) and science (how valid and reliable are they?) of writing letters of recommendations. One of my favorites that I return to time and again immortalizes some ambiguous phrasing I strive to avoid—but am often tempted to use.

Time to go to a meeting of the Board of Trustees in my capacity as a Faculty Oberver to the Board. This will probably be the last time I serve in this interesting capacity at Carroll. I’ve enjoyed getting to know and be known by these dedicated people.

Hope I can stay alert; it was quite late when we returned from the Brewers/ Yankees game at 1:00 a.m! Maybe I’ll plug into this song on my headphone.

David’s Wayback Machine – Pioneering Web 2.0 Technology Tools (Part 1) Jan 6, 2009

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There was a time when I kept rough drafts of everything I wrote. Now, I am no longer in that habit and am in the process of cleaning out all my files (both electronic and legal-pad format). It is amusing to (re)discover some early writings when I thought I was at the leading edge of knowing about, sharing, and using “technology learning tools”
     I find interesting the existence of the Internet Wayback archive project, though I’m uneasy about such a huge amount of Internet detritus (especially my own) using up cyberspace. Recently I’ve made time to attempt to clean up my own Internet garbage (old accounts, false starts on blogs). With some amusement I rediscovered some of my first efforts to promulgate into the classroom technology tools with 25 Carroll freshmen.  (I have chosen NOT to revive the dead links in this piece).

Original 2009 piece follows here:

Historic First Meeting in Second Life

I’ve begun developing a presentation I’m scheduled to give on January 16 to Carroll faculty tentatively titled “Pioneering Web 2.0 Learning Tools with Carroll Students: Educational Technology of the Future, Catching Up with What Fifth-Graders Already Know, or Another Fad? “I hope to share with interested members of the Carroll community some of the Web 2.0 learning tools and resources that I have explored this past semester(Download FYS 100 Section U Syllabus – Dr, David Simpson Labor Day Version PDF with my students (who were especially playful with their photoshop skills).

Simpson

I am toying with the idea of showing what I can NOW do in some kind of class—possibly for alumni or faculty.  I would draw upon my knowledge gained since 2009 about the application of technology learning tools—especially drawing upon resources like this?  Anybody interested? If so, email me—or send me a message via owl.

 


I’ve been Doing a Lot of Time Traveling Lately

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Family 19554Blog

I’ve been doing a lot of time traveling lately partly due to my bed time reading of the marvelous 900+ page paperback The Time Traveler’s Almanac.  I’m tempted to try out Mr. Peabody’s Wayback machine.

This is also the time of year where I am flooded with memories of my time at Carroll (and my (in)formative years at Oberlin College and Ohio State). And I whistle a lot while walking across campus as I process this flood of memories. Once I get the semester successfully put to bed (with fond farewells to graduates at Commencement on Sunday),  I need to turn my attention to sorting through photos, thoughts and memories in preparation for Mom’s memorial service on May 17.

Little Brother Bruce and Big Sister Connie Sue kindly sent me all the photos from Mom’s Sun City Residence. Can you pick out Connie, David, and Bruce as they looked in 1955? I wonder what we were thinking then? I think that I had gotten over my desire to run away from home because of the birth of Bruce and was trying to teach him how to read. I hadn’t yet started teasing Sis, though I may already have inadvertently locked her in the bathroom.  Here are some of the events shaping our thinking then.

I can vaguely remember some of the radio show and TV shows.  What do you remember from 1955? What would you like to remember when you are 65? 90?


Tyler speaks: A loving Mother shares lessons learned with her ASD child

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Many WordPress bloggers have shared their vicarious and first-hand experiences with autism. A number of books attempt to describe the autistic experience through fiction and there are many films dealing with this topic. Below, Keri J. Johnson, one of my Carroll University research students shares her observations as a mother.

According to Autism Speaks a staggering 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), with an even higher amount of boys with 1 in 42. Raising and caring for a child on the spectrum is challenging both emotionally and physically. All any parent wishes is the best for their child, and when you see your child struggle it can be heartbreaking. This is my journey raising a child with ASD.

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Tyler speaks…

 

 My son, Tyler is a charming boy with a bright future. He likes to play video games, watch television, swim, and play sports. He is passionate about weather, and can name all the clouds in the sky. He has an endearing quirkiness about him that you will notice as soon as you start talking to him.

      When Tyler turned two years old I noticed he did things differently than other children his age. Although he could speak well, he did not comprehend what others were telling him. For example, he would understand if you asked him if he wanted something to eat, but if you told him to put the block on top of the table he would give you a blank look. I also noticed at playgroups that he would play differently than other children his age. Instead of driving the toy cars around on the floor, he would line them up.  Also when the other kids were playing in a preschool playhouse Tyler just kept opening and closing the door as if he needed to know how the door was put together.

     I knew all children at his age had tantrums, but Tyler’s were different. They were full-on meltdowns that could last for over an hour, and would leave both him and me completely exhausted.  Looking back now I can see these episodes as having been red flags, but at the time I didn’t recognize them as such. I made excuses for him saying to myself and to others that he was just very passionate with a very analytical mind—maybe a future engineer. I decided to bring the subject up at his next doctor’s appointment, in hopes that the doctor would ease my concerns.

     I took Tyler to his three year well-child checkup and communicated my concerns to the pediatrician’s attention. I point blank asked the doctor if he thought it was possible that Tyler was autistic.  He said that he believed it was very possible.

    With this diagnosis my world stopped. I came home from the appointment and cried. As a parent you have so many hopes and dreams for your children, and when you get a diagnosis such as this all you can think of is what kind of future will they have. Needless to say I was very angry, but I knew I needed to do everything I could to help him. I had to learn everything I could about autism.

     I enrolled him into an early childhood school program and he was assigned both an occupational therapist and a speech therapist. Things were not always easy for Tyler; meltdowns ranged from 10 to 60 minutes and were extremely exhausting for everyone.

     By the time Tyler was in elementary school I was getting called every day to come and help calm him. I would hold him in my arm and just rock with him back and forth until the meltdown would subside. Sometimes the meltdowns were so bad that I would break down and start crying right along with him. Anything and everything could trigger a meltdown such as smells, sounds, and having to wait in line. He would always feel miserable afterwards, and I knew I had to find a way to help him.

     I looked to no avail for therapists who would work with children with mild autism. Frustratingly, there was just no one who was willing work with him. I felt abandoned and  completely alone, but I never gave up.  I started to research different calming and coping techniques that I could teach him.

     Social stories were a huge success, because he was able to learn how to cope in different situations. I found that tickling his arm and back soothed him and could stop a meltdown before it started. Schedules were also very important, and seemed to agree with him. I had made him a schedule that told him what he needed to do from the time he woke up until he went to bed.  I discovered  that he had a need for constant manipulation. He learned how to finger knit, and the feeling of the yarn and the movement of his fingers helped soothe him.

     As a result of these interventions, Tyler  was doing really well at home, but school was still very hard on him. His anxiety over homework, tests, and talking to other students made for very hard days,  and he would come home emotionally exhausted. It was very sad because he knew he did not want to act that way.

     Tyler would ask me why he was like this, and why was he different than the other kids. These questions  broke my heart.  It was hard as a parent to see him this way because I knew he had so much potential. His teacher suggested I look into putting him on medications. I was extremely upset that she would suggest such a thing, and I fought it for several months. However, I eventually decided it might be the best thing for him.

     Tyler went through over a dozen different types of medication with many different side effects until we found some that worked for him. Although he seemed to be doing better on meds, I often wondered if I was doing the right thing. I felt that they were just a bandaid or temporary fix, and that he might never learn how to cope on his own. I wanted him to be able to self-soothe without relying on medication.

     During fourth grade I started to read about the benefits of a gluten free diet. I really wanted to find an alternative to medication, and thus we started our gluten free journey. I am not going to lie; the first couple months were extremely difficult, but I knew we needed to stick with it.  After three long months I started to notice a difference in Tyler.  His anxiety was lower, he was happier, and his meltdowns were nonexistent.

     Fifth grade was very good for Tyler. He was happy, had good grades, and not one meltdown the entire year! I was thrilled for him.

     He is now almost finished with the sixth grade, and has been medication free for over a year. He is still gluten free, and doing wonderfully.  It has been a long journey, but we never gave up.

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Keri J. Johnson will graduate from Carroll University on Mothers’ Day, May 11, 2014. She is writing a book about her lessons learned with Tyler.

Three Digital Tools in Need of My Sharpening

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I’m in the process of revisiting several resources that have influenced my choice of online teaching tools. This post focuses on the book by Steve Johnson (2011)—a thoughtful and concise compendium of his thinking about today’s “tech-savvy” (high school age) learners and how to prepare them for their digital future. He systematically  evaluates over 30 “etools” he judges to be useful for engendering collaboration, creation, and publication across the curriculum, and offers concrete suggestions for how to get started (and how to keep up) as an instructor. Among the many tools that he recommends that I have personally found especially useful for my teaching at the college/university level are the following:

  1. I have grown to like Animoto as a vehicle for creating and sharing video-like productions, despite its constraints of needing to use Adobe Flash and accepting only MP3 formatted music files. I have elected to have an educational account with them. Here is an example of how I have used it.
  2. WordPress is now my blogging tool of choice and the blogging tool that I teach to students. I myself move back and forth between WordPress.com (“David in Carroll Land”) and WordPres.org  (“Curious David in Carroll Land”). The latter gives me far more creative freedom (e.g. the use of plugins) but at an additional cost (both financial and time I need to devote to its higher learning-curve). Here is an example of a WordPress.com blog piece in which my student research assistants shared  “sand box” activities while they explored for me the value of some beta version software which showed promise to me of eventually being useful in the classroom.  Here, on the other hand, is a recent blog piece co-written with my students using the WordPress.org blogging software (which I still am at an early stage of mastering). Without doubt, my best etool  evaluators are my highly trained student assistants.
  3. Google Docs is becoming an increasingly important tool for me. Indeed, I would love to devote the time to create a Google Apps course for our students.  Richard Bryne, an educator thought leader whom I follow on Twitter and whose contributions I benefit from, has created a wonderful comprehensive guide to this tool.

Presently my students are more facile with this learning tool than I!.  We regularly use it as a means of collaborating and sharing documents —photos, videos, journal articles, rough drafts, spreadsheets. Just today one of my senior research seminar students shared with me, on Google Drive, a wonderful video she had made of her interviewing her twelve-year-old son about his experiences with a form of Asperger syndrome. Keri and I shortly shall be incorporating this video and her insights about parenting such a special child into a blog piece as a first step in assisting her in writing a book to share her knowledge.


 

OMG: Discovering What My Research Assistants Are REALLY Doing…

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Phoumany

Bookwhacked

Two soon-to-be graduates Phoumany and Ryan

Two soon-to-be graduates Phoumany and Ryan

I’m going to miss these two student friends/students/best teachers/fellow conspirators when they depart campus on May 11 as graduates. Thanks, Phoumany and Ryan for all the laughter and learning and for making my Carroll experiences more joyful.

Things we’ve done in Dr. Simpson’s Office Over the Past Few Years: (red items added by DumbleDave)

  1. Catalogued over 1,000 books (Dr. Simpson most likely has read them all!)
  2. Decorated the office for his birthday.
  3. Decorated every other holiday.
  4. Played Temple Run.
  5. We wrote a book!
  6. Played nose-goes when the phone rang.
  7. Learned how to use fountain pens.
  8. Created and Conducted Rogers Hospital Climate Survey.
  9. Almost got killed… multiple times.
  10. Utilized all furniture in the office.
  11. Became PC savy and MAC savy.
  12. Played with random trinkets.
  13. Conducted “Power of Ten” study.
  14.  Researched Purple People Eater

15. Helped Evaluate Carroll University’s Alumni  National Day of Service Food Drive

16. Wrote a winning grant to received IPads to develop a Virtual European Immersion course.

17. Tooled around with most of Jane Hart’s technology learning tools.

18. Made sure that Dr. Simpson ate his lunch.

19. Laughed; cried; cheered; booed.

20. Complained.



 

Twitter Reconsidered

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Five years ago I was quite hesitant to use Twitter. My student assistants found little value in using  it. They failed to see differences between it and, say,  the “update function” of Facebook. I read two books about it, consulted several Carroll alumni who DO use it (thanks Chris G,  Lori S, and Fred K.), and studiedt fellow academics’ twittering experiences documented in publications which I closely read and value.  I objected to the Procrustean process of having  my thoughts, ideas, and communications reduced to 140 characters or less (“thought bytes”). Also, I was petrified at my inability to decrease or at least slow down my communication and information acquisition activities. I very much need and treasure having time to reflect, to read, to assimilate, and to create.

Since then, however, I have reconsidered Twitter as a learning tool. “To Twit or not to Twit?” for me is no longer the appropriate way to frame the issue. Rather, the questions for me are:

  • Under what circumstances might Twitter be enable my  capabilities for more successful teaching?
  •  How can I use Twitter to improve my ability to find answers to questions I am investigating?
  • How can I minimize the costs to me (time away from other things; wheat to chaff ratio) of my using Twitter?
  • How can I best manage the tool?

Today Twitter is an invaluable personal learning and communication resource that I have fine-tuned for my particular needs. Currently I choose to follow 78 “thought leaders” whom I very much admire.   I am in the process of comparing  several  Twitter-management apps (e.g.Tweetbot) which show promise to help me optimize the efficiency of my use of the tool.  Now I need to consider implementing these Advanced Twitter Tips I encountered tonight!

@professorDavidS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mapping New Directions for the Writings of Curious David

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David Simpson Teaching 1

Now that I’ve returned to writing this blog with some regularity, I’ve begun to have a sense of the directions I hope to take it—or it to take me. My present thoughts are to write more regularly.

I have just finished rereading Janet Majure’s wonderful Teach Yourself Visually WordPress, and have benefited much from studying online WordPress instructional resources.   Consequently, I feel I now have an ability to master and manage this WordPress.com blogging software. Once the semester ends I’ll have a summer free to think, read, write, and reflect before my teaching obligations of year # 36 at Carroll resume.

I’m thinking that one distinct thread of writing I want to explore will deal with technology applications to higher education. Another will have the theme of “David in Carroll Land” (perhaps co-authored with invited students, alumni, or other members of the Carroll family). A third will deal with whatever comes to mind (as has been in the past). Some of my most creative bursts of ideas are engendered after a long summer’s day of manual labor cutting grass, chain-sawing, and being engaged in other outdoor physical or recreational activity.

A fourth focus will deal with contemporary or local issues, and a fifth will just be intended to provoke thinking.

I welcome any reader feedback about these new directions. Am I being too ambitious? Will I have any readers? Is this a positive direction to go—or is it, in fact, directionless?

Blogs post topics  that I’ve been considering writing about in the near future include:

  • How can students best be served by academic advising?
  • My last lecture (things I would finally say)
  • Thank you, Diederik Stapel, for the lessons you taught me by your dishonesty.
  • Global Education
  • My most (in)formative learning experiences
  • Lessons learned from Robin the Newf
  • (Oh) Dear Carroll Alumni
  • On Immortality
  • Time
  • How technology can distance/enable/empower/enslave us
  • Reaching out, reaching within
  • The man who loves dogs students dogs
  • Loss of innocence
  • Labyrinths
  • The psychology of … (curiosity, religion)
  • Why I don’t give a Twit
  • Where do writing ideas come from?
  • What I wanna be when I grow up?
  • Distinguishing Science from Pseudo Science
  • Language—Leaving no Rosetta stone unturned

Which of these would readers like to see and, hopefully, discuss? I welcome your input, encouragement, or evidence that i have a readership.

Canine Ruminations: Robin the Newf Helps Me Write a Blog Post

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Robin

Robin the Newf is a guest collaborator tonight. Because of her presence (at my feet) I’ve been ruminating tonight about canine companions. My father-in-law, Walter G. Schmidt,  also loved dogs. In fact his love of dogs was extolled in his eulogy given by the Reverend Charles Valenti-Heine:

…”And that world, for Walter, included his beloved Canines. Lucy, Canis, Oaf, Chaucer, Trollope, and Freud, the last named because Walter was told that the companionship of a good dog was of greater worth to people than any other therapy! The one time I remember Walter speaking in church was when Trollope died, and he stood up during joys and concerns to opine: ‘If there is a place in heaven for Presbyterians, then surely there is a place for greyhounds.’

To which I add, amen!

Rudyard Kipling warned us of how dogs can capture your heart!

Do dogs match their owners in physical appearance? in personality? There is an interesting body of research dealing with these questions. Here is one citation. Here is another entire  article (Download Roy). Under what circumstances does pet ownership reduce stress? increase it? Why in the world did I spend $250 tonight on pet treats? Perhaps I still am affected by my first reading of Argos‘ blind enduring faith. Robin, the patient gentle giant, knows.

These might be questions to give my Introductory Psychology students to encourage them to conduct a scholarly literature review.  Perhaps in the process I’ll teach them about EvernoteDiigoDelicious,  Zotero, and  Google Scholar and have them help me compare the strengths and weaknesses of these tools in addition to comparing the kinds (and quality) of answers they get using Internet search engines versus library data bases.

Here is some anecdotal evidence provided by one of my playful students that owners like me (though there is a debate between Robin and me as to who is the owner) may start looking like their dogs!

Newfed

 Trivia question from Robin:

What was the name of the Newf who accompanied Lewis and Clark?

Answer is here if you fail to find out—and even if you do.

 



Remembering Mother Earth: Reflections on Earth Day 2014.

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North Lake Flowers

 

1) Earth Day concerns should be unifying every day concerns .

2) We must do more than merely virtually explore the wonders of our precious planet.

3) Preserving, savoring, celebrating, protecting, and nurturing Mother Earth should be a super-ordinate, cross national,unifying effort of international  concern.

4) We are all earthlings.

5) There is much to learn.

6) Mother Earth is fragile and the Pale Blue Dot is tiny in the cosmic scheme of things.

7) So much beauty must be shared, preserved, protected and passed on.

July 10

 

 

Retooling and Sharpening my Technology Learning Tools – Without Injury

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This is that interesting time of the academic year when I am trying to bring the semester to a soft-landing and concomitantly prepare for  the fall semester. This summer I hope to revisit several books that have especially informed me about uses of digital tools for teaching—especially  Michelle Pacansky-Brock’s Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies, Susan Manning and Kevin E. Johnson’s The Technology Toolbelt for Teaching, Steve Johnson’s Digital Tools for Teaching, and Julie Lindsay and Vicki A. Davis’ inspirational Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds: Move to Global Collaboration One Step at a Time.

The writings of Alec Couros through his informative Becoming a Networked Learner and Curtis J. Bonk have impacted  how I teach, how I learn, and how I “reach out” to others  via social media. The challenge continues how  to find balance between tool use and being controlled or constrained rather than enabled by the tool.

I see that Jane Hart has opened nominations for her 8th annual Top-Tools-for-Learning  List.  I think I’ll withhold my vote until early this fall so that I have more time  to better answer the following critical questions:

  1. Which of these tools will enhance my research and my communication capabilities?
  2. Which of these tools do I want all my students to know how to use? (Which, on the other hand,  are better suited for my  advanced research assistants?)
  3. Which of these tools will be around in four years?
  4. Which of these tools serve me best when I am engaged in my role as partner of Schneider Consulting?
  5. Among subsets of tool types, which best serve my needs?
  6. How much learning time do I or my students need to invest to use these tools?
  7. How portable are these tools across the browsers I most frequently use?
  8. How portable are these tools across the hardware and different operating systems I most frequently use?
  9. How much of the attractiveness of these tools to me is simply due to their “wow factor” and the fun they engender?
  10. Will mastering this tool increase the likelihood of my becoming a more effective teacher or enhance my ability to learn.

 

 

An APP a day… Give me an “A”!

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Today I explored the Apps on my Mac that begin with the letter  “A.”One of my favorite (but underused) apps( that I am glad I use since the advent of Heartbleed ) is 1Password. It allows me to quickly and securely access my myriad accounts and quickly find things, like this Animoto video of a year ago that I had forgotten I had made to celebrate the wonderful creative work of some of my students.

Another app I take for granted (behind the scenes but there when I need it)  is Adobe Reader. But do I really need AlarmClock Pro any more?—Perhaps, if I remembered that it has a time-zone converter and an uptime recorder that can embarrass me with a record of how long I’ve been sitting at my machine!

“How many different music players do I need,” I ask myself as I rediscover my AmazonCloudPlayer? How many flashcard makers are necessary (which one best suits my needs or those of my students) as I find Anki again, untouched, and with a new version:). And, heaven forbid,  there is always the temptation to visit the MAC App store especially since it is built into the Mac Mavericks Operating System.

I REALLY should learn how to use AUTOMATOR and its distant cousin, TextExpander—and their incredible capabilities for improving the efficiencies of my work flow and my commenting on student papers. To achieve that mastery I most likely shall first seek out the sage guidance of David Sparks and his incredibly well-written books, ebooks, and screencasts. Hmm, I see that he uses Vimeo for his screencasts. I’ll have to revisit it when I get to my “V'”‘s.How about—oh, the audacity of suggesting it, Audacity? I have several times attempted to master it because of an interest in creating podcasts and wanting to support open source software endeavors, but alas, because it just crashed my machine, it has been banished to the trash. Besides, if i ever reach the “W’s” among my apps, I suspect that “Wiretap Studio” will serve the same function—and better.

Enough, even though I hear the buzz of “B’s.”

 

 

Preliminary Personal Responses to the 2014 Higher Education Edition Horizon Report

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Though I won’t have time until this summer to deeply explore the 2014 Horizon Report which I alluded to in an earlier post, I wanted to share some initial reactions here:

  1. I concur with the Report’s assertion of the growing ubiquity of social media. The challenge for me is to find the right balance between the kinds of deep thinking which I believe “more traditional teaching methods” correctly implemented can foster and an ability to capitalize on the enabling capabilities of social media for producing, communicating,creating, and collaborating.  I don’t find that my present institution has the appropriate classroom infra-structure for leveraging these social media tools within the physical classroom and traditional class-room meeting time.
  2. I agree with the Report’s suggestion that that it is inevitable that higher education must allow and facilitate an integration of online, hybrid, and collaborative learning.
  3. Though I have always been interested in “adaptive” learning and personalizing the learning  environment, I find the promises of “an emerging science of learning analytics” overblown, premature, and creepy in terms of degrees of invasion of privacy.
  4. I applaud and embrace the identified trend of students as creators rather than merely as consumers though I would urge that one not lose sight of the importance of quality control of their products.
  5. I concur that the time is ripe for university programs to support aggressively “agile, lean  startup models” that promote a culture of innovation in a more wide-spread, cost-effective way as long as there are built in assessment procedures which validly document the weaknesses and strengths of these (maybe) new approaches. Too often I have seen institutions chase after the latest educational fad and fail to benefit from organizational memory of prior, similar failed ventures.
  6. For me, online learning is a useful complement rather than a viable alternative to most forms of face-to-face learning. As I’ve written earlier, I regularly and increasingly use “nontraditional” learning tools to supplement my personal professional development and my digital literacy. I am still sorting out, however,  how to embed and assess that literacy among my students.  In what venues I should foster those kinds of skills and intrude them to top learning tools. I am increasing wary of a “digital divide” that ironically exists between K-12 and higher education instructors with the latter—and their students—being the more deficient!

What do you think? I’m also interested in readers’ suggestions about what I should write:

David in Carroll Land: Liz, Amy, and DumbleDave Explore ExamTime

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David

Examtime is a relatively new (beta) version piece of software which has interesting potential for students and teachers. Here is a relatively recent Lifehacker review.

by dsimpson

Here is an example of a fun “quiz” I made. I included multiple choice, True/False, and multiple response check-list formats. It was easy to upload images. I’d like to see the capability to include html code, videos, and hypertext links.
by dsimpson

Here is a silly example of flash cards:
by dsimpson
Here is some feedback I received from two of my research assistants, Liz and Amy:
Amy

Liz
ExamTime is an education tool used to make mind maps, quizzes, and notecards. The application also allows you to take notes and build schedules for studying. ExamTime is a great place to for students and educators to collaborate and share information. The application is currently in a beta version and is a free tool.

To explore the features of ExamTime I made a mind map, notecards, and a quiz. Of the three, the most time was spent on the mind map, which was the most extensive of the three. I found the ability to personalize the mind map very appealing. ExamTime allows you to make the map as linear or randomized as you wish. Other features include, the ability to add notes or pictures within the mind map and to customize the shapes and colors to make the map visually appealing. This tool is an exceptional addition to classrooms, educators, and students of all ages. For example, 100 level language students could use ExamTime flashcards to study vocabulary, make a mind map for verb-conjugation practice and quizzes for cultural integration.

Things I especially liked. On the surface, the application is very simple, but has many features. I particularly like the ability to create quizzes to share with friends for studying together. I also love that after creating a mind map, with a simple click you can transfer the information into notes. Additionally, you can add videos, links, photos, and slideshows to a note. Not only does this application have a significant number of options for studying, it is very user friendly and allows members to organize a large pool of information quickly and easily.

Things in Need of Improvement. When making an extensive mind map, there is a set amount of space available, so running out of room can be a concern with this application. Another struggle is perfectly matching the color and shapes of nodes so the final product looks polished and professional. Additionally, hypertext links cannot be added to the information which can limit some types of information sharing.

What are your experiences with Examtime? How does it compare with other similar software?

My Top 10 Personal Learning Resources—Always in Flux

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A common theme I’ve encountered in a number of meetings and informal conversations with faculty, staff, students, trustees, and alumni is a growing awareness of the rapidity of change in higher education—in how we teach, in how we learn, in from whom we learn, in where we learn, and even in in what times of the day and night we learn!  These concerns are addressed well by the new learning avenues explored by the shared online learning insights of Debbie Morrison on the distinction between the creation of personal learning experiences (PLE’s)  and personal learning networks (PLN’s) . I am also increasingly influenced by the  “the learning flow” concept advanced by Jane Hart.

Even as I proctor an exam while writing this blog post I am learning online—checking my Twitter account especially for posts by

  1. Julie Lindsay,
  2. Jane Hart,
  3. Michael Sheehan,
  4. Michelle Pacansky-Brock,
  5. “brian@ieducator,”
  6. Richard Byrne,
  7. edutopia,
  8. the GlobalChronicle,
  9. the NYTimesLearningNetwork,
  10. Silvia Tolisano.

Thank you, fellow educators across the world for all you share and how you teach and inspire me. Teaching and learning clearly are not constrained to the classroom.

Dr. David’s Neighborhood: Angela and David Explore Edynco

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AngelaandDavid

Introduction to Edynco—and research assistant Angela: Click me.

Review of Edynco by Angela Wong

Things I really like: Edynco is a multi-feature learning tool for educators. Created in Slovenia two years ago, this tool provides easy-to-use templates for creating learning maps. The creators of the software are  quick to distinguish between mind maps, which are usually used for brainstorming and planning, and learning maps. Reminiscent of Prezi [which I, DS, personally find dazzlingly distracting].  Edynco’s setup is different because its learning maps allow for additional media, clarity, discussion and communication between educator and student, and numerous kinds of interaction. The blended learning method style is intended to help anyone who wants to educate others. Overall, Edynco is well-thought out with a beautiful design.

Areas in need of improvement. There are a few areas that still need improvement. Throughout the website, users will find quite a few spelling and grammatical errors.  ESL users in particular may suffer from these translation errors. Users unfamiliar with dynamic technologies may too quickly become overwhelmed. For better UI, the learning map module should integrate a “snap to grid feature” (as illustrated on Microsoft, Adobe, and LucidPress software). Lastly, the tutorial that automatically pops up every time when entering a learning map is slightly annoying, as it can be accessed anytime.

Despite these minor and relatively unimportant flaws, Edynco is incredibly sleek and promising. The user is not left wanting for a “share” feature to post on social media. Edynco also has an export to computer feature that is inaccessible to non-subscribers. The interface is dynamic, responsive, and relatively easy-to-use. In addition to the learning map software, all users have access to additional content, including micro-lectures, quizzes, videos, images, audio, and more- all of which can be seamlessly added to the user’s customizable learning map. The developers have left room for expansion to release even more educational tools and are to be praised for the present wonderful-work-in-progress.  Educators and students alike should be excited for this beta software to go live—and in the interim, to try it and to provide constructive feedback for improvement.

Here is an example of a learning map which  Angela created using Eydynco: Angela’s example of Iranian Women in Film.

Movenote Revisited

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S-TEAM

Across my 35 years of teaching at Carroll I have been blessed to have highly skilled, patient, playful student research assistants who cheerfully and ably respond to my hurried, fly-by” task assignments such as “learn how to use Movenote and report back to me its potential value”. Thank you, student friends, for your support and for your being part of Dr. Simpson’s Neighborhood. Here is a result from our early explorations this year of the capabilities of Movenote –  Click on the link:  Angela and Amy Tutorial on Movenote.

Here is an example of what Angela learned THIS SEMESTER about how Movenote has evolved—Click on this link:  Much has improved!

 

 

I have much for which to be thankful as a professor. Especially I am thankful for the delightful opportunities to learn along with students such as these!

(E)booked!

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Bookwhacked

A fellow educator  recently asked me for a recommendation of an eBook tool that could be used  by high-school aged students and which is cross-platform, cross-device, allows incorporation of multimedia, and allow for collaborative and seamless editing across the world. Any suggestions? The number of ebook formats is quite overwhelming. And ebook software that meets the needs of my friend seems still very much under development (e.g. Vellum). What high calibre software exists? What are some work arounds for my friend?

Though I have explored the use of over 200 technology learning tools over the past seven years , I’ve quickly come to realize that there is no best tool. In attempting to help my (e)friend I revisited tools that came close to addressing her needs. For example, Learnist allows for some of the capabilities she desired. (My thanks to research assistant Amy Peterson for reminding me of our use of this resource in her Virtual Course creation research).

I also examined the ebooks that I have which are accessible via my Kindle Cloud Reader app. How embarrassing to discover that I have 72 books sitting there to be read.  I just never have gotten comfortable reading books from a screen.

What ebook creation software do you have experience with? What led you to choose to use it over other? What others?

Evil Eye

Nazar Boncugu

 

 

 

Thinking Horizontally

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Just started reading the  NMC Horizon Report 2014 Higher Education Edition.

A pdf overview can be found here, though the report is well worth reading in its rich entirety.

Much to ponder here—and to compare with the 2013 K-12 report which guides the FlatConnections Project.

I am impressed by the expertise and global breadth of the 2024 Expert panel (and flattered that one of them chose to follow my Twittering). In my judgment one missing expert is Jane Hart.

To be continued…

On Being “An Extinguished” Professor

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David Simpson 2Recently my students and I partnered with Carroll’s Office of Alumni Engagement to conduct a survey of alumni’s awareness of a forthcoming National Day of Service. One of the survey items asked…

“What is the best way for the Office of Alumni Engagement to communicate to Carroll alumni about alumni events, such as the National Day of Service? (Choose all that apply.)”

One respondent offered the following comment that made me smile. I do not take umbrage (nor take the comment as a “flame”) nor believe that the malapropism was unintentional. In fact, it seems to be the language and Ben Franklin-like wit and sense of humor of an esteemed staff colleague of many years ago,

“How much time and effort is the particular project worth? Ask the extinguished Dr. Simpson for his best advice. Occasionally the old boy will hit the nail right on the head!”I found the respondent’s playful comments thoughtful—on the mark, and perhaps prescient!

Am I indeed an “extinguished professor”?:)

Extinguished... Snuffed out, put out, quenched, expunged; stuck out; effaced; left with no vestige; having the kabosh put upon.  Carroll has changed greatly since I began teaching thirty-five years ago—and so has the ways one can teach and learnThere are times when I have felt that I am about to become extinct. Alas, I have extinguished my candle-burning behavior, though I continue to burn a candle at both ends. And I am still haunted by the metaphors of Shakespeare words of MacBeth.

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more.”

old? Twenty-one three times over + — but still succumbing to the well-documented psychological finding of feeling younger than my chronological age—especially when surrounded by students—even those whose parents have been my students!

Old boy? hopefully boyish in the positive playful sense. Here is how I recently reflected on my teaching and why I teach one of my courses a particular way.

If you give me enough hammers and enough time might I indeed hit the nail on the head? If I blog enough might I occasionally write a thoughtful, engaging, piece?

Time will tell. Time to turn off my electric candle and head out to Miller Park.

My World Continues to Expand as It Shrinks

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A package from an educator friend, Inci Aslan,  in Turkey who is the principal investigator of an Etwinning project I closely follow ,an email from Luis Miguel Miñarro, an educator in Spain with an accompanying  link to an animoto  Carnival 2014 video, a Facebook chat message from Lithuanian educator Irma Milevičiūtė who befriended me on Epals a year ago and whetted my  interest in global communication, an informative hour-long  Fuzebox.com  conference with Julie Lindsay, an educator in Australia, about the Flat Connections Global Project —my world continues to expand as it shrinks. How does one keep up with “the learning revolution” or Classroom 2.0? How does one keep abreast of developments in International Education? I try to keep reasonably aware of international events through reading articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education and The Guardian. I occasionally shadow  Global Education Conferences  and follow several WordPress blogs dedicated to Global Education. And yet I am so globally illiterate. Here are some of my more recent musing about these questions

  • http://david-in-carroll-land.com/2013/08/06/loosely-translated-a-lithuanian-a-turk-an-american-and-a-teacher-from-poland-enter-a-virtual-meeting-room/

  • http://david-in-carroll-land.com/2013/05/07/three-questions-raised-from-attempting-to-create-a-virtual-cultural-immersion-course/

  • http://david-in-carroll-land.com/2013/04/14/reflections-on-creating-a-virtual-cultural-immersion-course-lessons-learned-part-1/

  • http://david-in-carroll-land.com/2013/04/21/pioneering-a-virtual-european-cultural-immersion-course/

Here are my some of reflections on this topic a few years ago… The world is open. I’ve been thinking about how to make our campus and curriculum more global. Here are some incipient thoughts about how that might de done. I’d welcome your thoughts.

  • Increase awareness and use of media such as BBC NewsGoogle News, and Newsvine.
  • Incorporate Kiva into the classroom.
  • Explore global views of religion, spirituality, and being.
  • Tap into high quality online  or “portable” courses.
  • Explore other languages.
  • Capitalize on cultural universals such as musiccusine, sports, and literature.
  • Reading: Let’s encourage our faculty, staff, and students to read, discuss, and discover world literature. Though no substitute for reading, excellent recordings exist of introductions to world literature, world history, world religions, etc.What suggestions do you have that are simple and cost effective?

And here are even earlier reflections…..

I’m still reflecting on some interesting ideas that emerged in a “listening session” I attended today with two other faculty colleagues concerning a proposed change in our general education program for students at Carroll. I left quite confused, but that is not atypical for me. What is the appropriate foundation for general education in the 21rst century? Are we faculty appropriately educated for teaching in the 21rst century? What skill sets, traditions, and knowledge are as vital today as when this academic institution was founded? Can we change our general education program without intentionally changing our institutional mission? How do we avoid throwing out the baby with the bath water? Should part of a general education be mastery of another language? If so, how does one define mastery—knowing the right phrases to allow one to travel within another country? Or should one be fluent in another culture’s history, customs, idioms, national concerns, and language? Can this be achieved within the traditional four years of a college education and still allow students a traditional major? If we are interested in being more global, shouldn’t we append USA to all our institutional publications? Can internationalization be achieved through the 21rst century equivalence of international pen pals using Skype or VoiceThread?  Through changing the “three r’s” to mastery of 20th century learning tools?   Through BBC language acquisition in 12 weeks courses or by investing time in other such (free) online language learning resources? What does is mean to globalize or internationalize a campus? How can that best be achieved? Is the best way to do so to bring international students and faculty to campus? To send our students and faculty abroad? To create communication opportunities world-wide through Internet means? To expand faculty and students’ knowledge of history, cultures, international economics, and international relations? To conduct collaborative international research and learning projects? Should I join the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology?  Which organizations do I drop out of to allow time and money for these new ones?  What defines global citizenship? Global awareness? How can we continually reaffirm and rediscover our common sense of humanity?

Ayuda me. I’m going postal 🙂  global!

Where does the time go? Oh!

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Gert and DavidMonday…

A typical whirlwind day. Arrive at the office by 7:15, but no time to flirt with Gert (pictured above)  because I needed to establish work assignments for the student assistants before they came in. Maybe I should make  time to explore the new free for teachers accounts of Basecamp. Wednesday will be the 2nd Exam in PSY205.

I had a good but too brief Skype session with Inci Aslan for updates on her Rainbow Kids project in Turkey. Must make the time for a more leisurely follow up.

I’ve been using Skype A LOT lately now that I have mastered some software (Pamela and CallNote)  that lets me easily record the conversations for later study. Recently it has proven invaluable as I attempted to mentor an undergraduate at another institution seeking advice about a survey she was conducting in Argentina.

I brief follow-up regarding several students’ letters of recommendations. Two students delightfully inform me that they have been invited for interviews (at Marquette and Illinois State, respectively). Then it is (past) time to submit a PsyCRITIQUES revision of the most interesting, provocative book I have reviewed in the past seven years. Meanwhile, my Research seminar students experience first hand the purported advantages of brain training software. There are so many claims made on the Internet and in the media in general (Science News, NPR, ABC News) about such “programs like Lumosity and Positscience.  Finally, I join my research students for a brief review of SPSS.  Here is YOUR chance to see how much statistics and experimental design you recall from when YOU took my course:). Try me . Hee, hee.

I was generally pleased with the quality of the surveys they developed using our new Gold Survey Monkey account.

So much to teach. So much to learn. So much research which could/should be done.  So much to share. But the clock is winding down…

RSEARCH SEMINAR

Wednesday…

… And now it is two days later. Time to take stock while I proctor two consecutive exams for the next five hours. The book review revision was accepted for publication and forwarded to the American Psychological Association. I hope that my citation of Jane Hart’s seminal work will introduce her to a broad audience of psychology technological learning neophytes who might benefit from all she has taught me. Thank you again, inspirational Virtual Friend and Mentor.

The Gardner and Davis book  is now “required reading” for all my friends, parents of friends, and “followers.” Here is a good synopsis (not mine) for those who, alas, don’t have the time to read it:)

David Simpson Teaching 1