Reaching Out Globally—Virtually


Help me out. It is official. My 6 very talented undergraduate  research assistants and I have successfully "won" a university-wide competition with our proposal to create a pilot Cross Cultural Experience (CCE) at Carroll University with a focus on an in-the-classroom emersion experience. Each student will be awarded a new Ipad and will receive two-credit hours for pioneering this course development project.

"Dr. David Simpson, Professor of Psychology,
along with students Phoumany Phouybanhdyt, Ryan Waters, Catrina Duncan,
Amy Peterson, Elizabeth Firkus, and Maxine Venturelli,  
a pilot that focuses on a single culture/nation for approximately 2 weeks.
By the end of the semester students will be able to compare and
contrast several cultures to the United States. The goal of the
classroom experience is to give the students the
ability to have an immersion-like experience through the different uses
of technology incorporated within the course through class discussion
and student reflection. Students will have the ability to interact
globally through the use of various 21st
century technology learning tools."
We have already created a wikispace and will no doubt be using among other tools Skype and VoiceThread. This is a wonderful opportunity for me to cascade into the larger Carroll community several teaching tools I have been invesigating since 2007.
What a joy to work with, develop, and learn with such student talent. This is going to be fun.
We welcome ideas, contacts, and interested virtual observers as we learn together.
Thanks in advance to Drs. Lynne Bernier and Terri Johnson for creating this educational opportunity and special heart-felt thanks (or is that Hart-felt thanks) for my wise, generous, indefatigable virtual mentorship by Jane Hart for sharing her social media wisdom and insights across the years.


Appy Daze Is Here Again! Making Lemonade from a Rotten Apple

This summer I was overconfident about my multi-tasking capabilities. Stupid. Careless (oopsie). Hypocritical. "Save regularly, backup often," I repeatedly tell my students. Practice what you preach, Dr. Simpson. Somehow I managed to make my faithful MacBook Pro inaccessible and inoperable. In addition I created considerable havoc and access confusion on its backup hard drive. Duh. Ouch.

I tried to no avail offering sacrifices to the computer gods and appealing to their intervention.


After many days and considerable expense experimenting with trial versions of data repair and data recovery software I called a well-known tech support recommended by Robin.


Pensive Robin



In retrospect, perhaps I shouldn't have kicked her off the couch before I asked Dogbert  for help.

I believe that I have recovered all the apps and succesfully transferred them to my new MacBook Pro. Of course within a month after I purchased my replacement laptop a new MacBook Pro was released and the new Mountain Lion operating system became available (for which many of my apps need to be upgraded).

Over the rest of the semester I hope to revisit each of the 200 apps I have (re)installed. Why do I have so many?  How many of them do I regularly use? Which are critical to my success as a teacher, as a learner, and as a consultant? Which are more than "Mac Gems" or POPULAR  technology tools? Which has demonstrated their value acoss the years? Which can be retired before I retire? Stay tuned.


I don’t read books…


    "I don't read books," a young Carroll colleague recently told me as a second colleague nodded his head in agreement. "I just don't have the time for pleasure reading or for reading outside my discipline if I am also to keep up with my research agenda and stay abreast of the psychological literature. When I read I do it online."

    Perhaps this is yet another signal that I am becoming a stranger in a strange land. Walk into my office and you'll see books lining the walls, stacked on the floor, on my desk, and  piled on the chairs around my desk. Novels, short stories, poetry, and nonfiction—paperback and hardback, pages stained with coffee, annotated, or dog-eared and occasionally, dog-drooled upon. Follow me home to my study and you'll find more of the same! Books and the many authors who write so much better than I and who think in such
different ways than I have clearly shaped who I am and who I aspire to be. I am book-marked!

    I love to read! Thank you first-grade teachers past, present, and future for engendering a love of reading in children. I especially enjoy reading books or articles outside the narrow confines of my academic specialization and by authors from different cultures. Though I own a Kindle, it lies in a drawer umplugged and gathering dust.Though I have on my computers applications that allow for reading ebooks, I find the act of reading on a computer an entirely different (and
less pleasurable) experience than reading print on paper. Though I have attempted to listen to audio books, I fail to be transformed by them in the same way as when I read the presentation.

Two recent psychology-related books which I read this summer are Richard J. Davidson (with Sharon Begley)'s The Emotional Life of Your Brain and Cathy Davidson's Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. Both are autobiographical in explaining the foundation of their research efforts.

    R. Davidson (who was named by Time Magazine in 2006 as one of the 100 most inflential people in the world) makes a compelling case for the neurological stucture of six dimensions of emotional style:

  • resilience (how quickly one recovers from emotions)
  • outlook (how long one can sustain positive emotion)
  • social intuition
  • self-awareness
  • sensitivity to context
  • and attention (focus)

He suggests ways to measure and to change one's emotional style.

C. Davidson (of whom I first became aware because of her "This Is Your Brain on the Internet" course fame) provides a rambling, provocative, anecdotal and inspirational book which asserts that there is a mismatch between work and the ever-changing workplace and which shares her evolving thoughts about 21rst century literacy. She is scheduled to give a presentation and lead a faculty workshop at Carroll on October 8, 2012.

    Most of my summer reading was fiction, however. What suggestions do you have for me to read next?




Returning to Campus…

Photo on 5-3-12 at 11.40 AM

The campus should be abuzz tonight with Friday's arrival of 740 new freshmen. Just sent an email to my 6 research assistants alerting them to the imminent removal of my invisibility cloak. One, predictably, replied within 30 seconds:). These special students increasingly play a critical role in my accomplishing things both inside and outside the classroom. They are fun to be with, bright, and hard-working —though at times we annoy each other! I enjoyed very much the creative Ibook they wrote last semester.

Trying now to finalize syllabi and better organize materials on my computers at home. Do I REALLY need 87 apps on my Ipad???? How best can I serve Carroll as a Technology Fellow?

This semester I'm determined to get more writing done. I am most successful in that endeavor when I block off a time to write every day—and do so. Time will tell.

This will be a semester of winnowing and improving course materials. I'm going to take the plunge and use a "free" online text as an ancillary reading source in Experimental Social Psychology.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to protect the traditions of Carroll College when fewer and fewer people here remember anything other than Carroll UNIVERSITY. This saddens me, but perhaps it is a sign. I am going to try and heed the advice of a trustee friend this summer who gently suggested that I was perceived by some as overly cynical.

 I can learn much from the wisdom of Ruth and Abby Joy (below). Neither has a cynical attitude nor a negative thought.

Abby Joy and Ruth