“It’s only crazy until you do it”

I really enjoyed reading “The Power of Mindful Learning” by Ellen Langer. I think that it is easy to get on “auto pilot” as the article states. We are going through our daily life and we know what we have to do to get from day to day. What I think that gets difficult, is taking the time to create moments of intentionality and questioning, why we do what we do and how can we get out of the autopilot mode. I am the first to admit, I am a creature of habit and that I am very grateful for people that automatically just go against the grain. However, this article really made me think about my practices with my students, and how I can get into autopilot mode and the dangers that possesses.

However, this article made think about the overall concept of learning and it reminded me of the new Nike Ad with Colin Kaepernick. The ad really conveyed the idea that “it’s only crazy until you do it”, really trying to drive home the point that we keep trying to emulate these sports stars, but what we should be doing is imagining ourselves as those sports stars (Nike Ad). In my mind, I saw clear connection with our reading, “The Power of Mindful Learning”. In the reading, it stated that we get so used to just learning or doing what those before us that we do not think of new ways to improve or do it differently. We just see what others have done or are doing, and do it the way they do it. The article really talked about how if we just continue doing the norm, nothing is ever going to progress for the better. The article stated “when faced with something that hasn’t been done before, people frequently express the belief that it can’t be done. All progress, of course, depends on questioning that belief. Everything is the same until it is not”. That we can idly just do the routine, but what we need to do is shake things up so that we give our students room to imagine the possibility of the situation.

I know that incorporating this mindfulness practice is more work and it requires more front planning as educators to not just do the standard lecture or classroom knowledge delivery. However, think of all that we could do if we incorporated more mindfulness into our practice and really tried to not just stick to what we know and to give students a chance to be able to very their approaches—all the new ideas/things that could be achieved. I know that from this reading, I will really try to do more conditional practices in my day to day to work with my students and staff.

To have technology or to not have technology, that is the question.

Engaging the imaginations of digital learners has been an interesting endeavor for me to learn and think about this week. I have gone back and forth numerous times about where I stand on this concept of digital learning. On one hand, I think it creates an avenue of being able to be creative in how you facilitate your class and break down barriers of access for students. On the other hand, as someone that has sat in a classroom before, it’s not uncommon to see your fellow students “abusing” technology, aka watching the person in front of you watch episodes of Grey’s Anatomy.

Personally, I know that I have a bias sometimes regarding incorporating technology into my practices. I know I am very susceptible to being distracted by my phone or laptop and I can impose that bias on others. In my graduate assistantship role, I supervise 13 student staff members and during my weekly staff meetings, I have them put away any laptops or cellphones if they are not involved directly in an activity we are doing. I just feel like the second cell phones are out, it opens up for distractions.

Similarly, to what the Anya Kamenetz article talks about how that one teacher would walk into a room and just see all the students on their phones and not engaging with each other, I have seen this as well. If you do not have phones allowed, it can facilitate conversation between individuals faster I feel than if they did have them out. I feel that we can learn so much from others when we are just in community and engaging with each other.

On the other side of if technology should be in the classroom, I see many valid points and reasons it can be effective and should be implemented. The Anya Kamenetz article talks about how if you make a total ban of technology, if a student has a learning disability, it can unintentionally “out” them if they are using technology. As someone that does have a sibling who has a severe learning disability, I know how important learning assistive devices can be in the classroom. As well as how it can feel to not feel like you have agency in your choice of disclosing to others if you do in fact have a learning disability. It is personal information, and you should  feel obligated to inform everyone you are in a class with unless you want to.

As well as the article talks about how people in industry believe that technology can be the way of the future for the classroom. They made an interesting point along the lines of if they are using it, why not figure out ways to effectively incorporate it into the classroom. I feel that using technology should be intentional and well thought out so that you do not just spend every class trying to get the technology to work or explaining how to use the technology every time. I believe that as time goes on, we are going to keep moving towards being a technological society so how can we use technology effectively in the classroom? I would be interested to see studies that look at various online methods to see what has the best results. I feel that I need to do more research on this.

I thought it was interesting to note in the article that with the technology boom, that they reference apps that can block technology for students while they are trying to do work. I think this shows the pull technology can have on students while they are trying to be productive. I know in my undergrad, my roommate used a website that would block her from social media sites for however long she set it so that she would not get distracted by the internet while she was doing her schoolwork—how ironic that technology was both the cause of the problem and the solution to the problem.

How do you feel about technology in the classroom? Have you ever had it implanted really well in a class you’ve taken or do you feel the impact is mostly negative? I am interested in learning others perspectives on this matter.

First Blogpost

What stood out to me as I was getting ready to do this blog was my fear of using this online blogpost forum. I was more concentrated at first by making sure I could get this published than the content of what I was going to write about once I began, which is crazy (granted I need to make sure its published). I want to be one of those people whose finger is on the pulse of new technology, especially incorporating it into my educational best practices, but sadly, I have never been the forerunner for such online technology practices. What really stood out to me during this moment of anxiety, was George, the adorable baby from the Ted Talk. He didn’t know how to walk down the stairs but bygone if he didn’t keep trying and smiling while doing it (Wesch, 2016). Michael Wesch, the man giving the Ted Talk, shared that some have a narrow mind when it comes to learning and I realized (painstakingly) that it was me in this moment- I was being closed minded about the great online educational opportunities that were before my very eyes. Before this past summer, I had never taken an online class or used any other online education forum besides Blackboard or Canvas. I felt that in-person classes were more beneficial, which was closed minded of me considering, I had never taken an online class to prove that notion I created in my head. I needed to be more like George- just keep trying with new technology and web based learning until I become more comfortable. I am happy to report that one of the online courses I took this past summer was one of my favorite classes I have taken in graduate student career an thus changed my previous stance. An article from this week’s readings really stood out to me as I was reflecting on my fear of online and web based learning. I realized I needed to be more open minded with it all. The article was “Twitter and blogs are not just add-ons to academic research, but a simple reflection of the passion underpinning it” by Tim Hitchcock. Hitchcock states “we all want to have ‘impact’” (2014). This resonated to me because I think as an inspiring student affairs professional, I want to make sure the work I am doing is helping to “contributes to a better world” (Hitchcock, 2014). What I am learning is that blogs are a great way to accomplish that and leave a footprint so to speak. It would never occur to me to blog about the work I am doing, however, this article made greats points that are changing my opinion on this. For an academic, it is a great space to put oneself out there and get a buzz going for the work they are doing and creating. However, I do sympathize with the notion Hitchcock states about “ a lot of early career scholars, in particular, worry that exposing their research too early, in too public a manner, will either open them to ridicule, or allow someone else to ‘steal’ their ideas” (Hitchcock, 2014). Posting things online does open you up to a lot of potential criticism; I know I am told all the time that what I am posting could affect future job opportunities if the institution does not like what my online presence says. I think that academic blogs could be a great asset to bolster your work but if what you research write about could be considered controversial or doesn’t align 100% with an institution you want to work for, it could put you at risk for discrimination in the job hiring process. On the other hand, I think it could help you have more name recognition if people stumble across your work or someone tweets it out. I think that there are pros and cons to both. Another salient point Hitchcock talks about in this article was how when asking students to blog publically for class it helps them to write better (2014). I know as I write this, the fact that my class colleagues are also reading this makes me a tad more nervous to write this. However, I agree with Hitchcock’s notion that when the writing is more public, it “forces you to think a little harder about the reader, and to think a little harder about the standards of record keeping and attribution that underpin your research” (2014). I know in the online course I took this past summer, we blogged a lot about the subject and I felt it does open you up for good and bad criticism. I know I really took time to reflect on and edit what I was writing as it was going to be seen by my peers. I really like the idea that this online blogging can open up the ability for others to comment and interact with your writing and work create a great avenue for discussions and perhaps could give you another way to look at something. It builds for great learning partnerships and connections. Hitchcock, T. Twitter and blogs are not just add-ons to academic research, but a simple reflection of the passion underpinning it. (2015, July 27). Retrieved from http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2014/07/28/twitter-and-blogs-academic-public-sphere/ Wesch, M. (2016, April 15). TEDxMHK. Retrieved August 26, 2018, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP7dbl0rJS0&feature=youtu.be