Archive for January 10th, 2012

Forced to pay attention “on this day”

January 10, 2012

Ten days into 2012 and it dawns on me what’s missing from my routine: I’ve not replaced my desktop calendar, the one I always use for jotting random notes and “to do”s and for jogging thoughts and notions when the tabula feels too rasa.

They should all be bargain-discounted by now, I’ll see what I can find. Meanwhile there are online resources to fill the gap. The Times’ On this Day” site, for instance, has apparently been embedded in its “Learning Network” blog and is chock-full of amusing and useful daily tidbits “for students 13 and older.” I notice, when I click on “January 10,” that most of the historical squib s deemed worthy of mention occurred in my lifetime. When I was seven, for instance, the Beatles’ first U.S. album was released on this date. “Masterpiece Theater” premiered on January 10 when I was fourteen.  More recent items seem even less momentous. And maybe I don’t really need to know that it’s Donald Fagen’s birthday.

On the other hand, this site’s interactive features are compelling and, with another semester’s Opening  Day about to arrive, timely. A student named Elizabeth, responding to the question Do Your Teachers Use Technology Well?, offers this:

“ I actually took a class where the professor didn’t use PowerPoint or any supplements to lecture except for occasional use of a traditional whiteboard, and that was one of the most effective lectures I have attended. Instead of coasting by merely reading the slides, I was forced to actually pay attention to the lecture, and I gained so much from that–more, I think, than could be possible from any technology, no matter how advanced.”

Well, good! How reassuring to hear a student say the old-fashioned technology of voice-to-ear and face-to-face communication can still be effective in the classroom. Now I’m ready, if only someone will force me to pay attention. Oh yeah: that’s what students are for. They, and not a desktop pad, are what I’ve really been missing in these early days of the new year.