Archive for August, 2009

I really enjoyed this Wired article talking about Andrea Lunsford’s meta study of student writing from 2001-2006. What was fascinating to me was to realize how much more writing students are doing, especially outside of class. Compared to any generation before them, the volume of writing is astoundingly higher. Yes I know, the vast majority of that writing may seem to consist of meaningless combinations of LOL, ROFL and links in 140 character burst, but Lunsford’s data reveals a rich landscape many of us may not realize exists. Its worth a quick read, and of course we work very closely with the Writing and Rhetoric program at Wallenberg and supporting their efforts in two of our classrooms.

Read the Wired article

Media multitaskers pay mental price, Stanford study shows

Procrastinators of the world have never been more able to exercise their skill than in today’s media rich world. Forever connected at hip, fingertips and earlobes, we can always find a way to flip between tasks. Quick Facebook update, send a chat message here (its ok, its about work), ooh, new email better reply. And on it goes. I often find myself opening a browser window and by the time it loads (clearly Firefox 3.5 still ain’t fast enough!) I forgot what I was opening it for, and I’m moving on to something else.

Maybe you’re like me and have a nice electronic calendar and task system, and yet somehow, that system does not do the tasks for you. I forget less of them, but I am still struggling to budget time for bigger projects that require uninterrupted time. Those of us who didn’t grow up with a cell phone in one hand and a kindle in the other realize that cognitively we aren’t coping well with this. As an educator, I keep hearing people arguing that today’s children are cognitively different and more able to cope with multiple streams of information. As the father of a 5 year old, I constantly try and foster his ability to focus on a single task, not multi-task.

Clif Naas here at Stanford has done some interesting studies to show what’s happening to students when they multi-task.
Check out the video: Video about multitasking


The truth about Technical Support

tech_support_cheat_sheet.png (PNG Image, 732×823 pixels) – Scaled (47%)

Finally the word is out–no really, we don’t know the answers, we just use a system.  You too can be a part of that system.  Reminds me of the book Shop Class as Soulcraft, we all amass knowledge bases based on experience.  Enjoy!