Showing posts from November, 2012

Students: Why You're Smarter Than You Think

One of the biggest challenges I encounter in teaching is seeing students determined to believe that they are poor learners in general or within the particular field of study they are encountering (in my case: literature or history).  It's frustrating because as someone vested in their learning and learning in general, I know that it's not an innate inability to do the work but more often, their mindset that inhibits them.  In fact, too often I see students believing they are not good enough at a subject matter and abandon it without really knowing if they enjoy it or not (nevermind whether they are good at it--whatever that may mean).  

I teach college level students.  They run the gamut from being just released from the imprisoning and often detrimental high school to having been away from school for decades.  Either way, they enter the classroom with some trepidation; even those that believe they are strong learners (whatever that means!).  They often enter the class with the…

Interview with Michael Goodwin, Author of Economix

About two weeks ago, I put finished an awesome book.  My review of it one-sentence review of it on Facebook was clear and simple: "one of the most coherent texts on economics ever (probably cause it's a comic book!)."  Michael Goodwin & Dan E. Burr's Economix: How Our Economy Works (And Doesn't Work) In Words and Pictures explained economics in a way that made sense--no longer grounded in simple theory but in the actual history through which they developed.  I was so excited about the experience, I look to contact the author and artist to see if they would let me interview them and they kindly agreed.  In this post, I'll interview the author, Michael Goodwin and follow up with the artist, Dan E. Burr next.

Lance:  What inspired the idea for the book?

Michael:  Really, it was my interest in history. History keeps coming back to the same economic patterns, and I thought I should understand them. But when I looked at economic textbooks, the things I was inter…

What I'm Giving Thanks For

Shortly into November, I saw the rise of friends on different social networks giving daily thanks.  They were participating in 30 Days of Thanks.  It's a great idea and one that seemed to catch among friends from one to another.  By the time I came across it, I figured it was too late to start for November.  I'm sure some would say that it's never too late to give thanks and to that I would agree.  However, I figured instead of the trend already established, I would just reflect upon within this blog to consider all the gifts in my life.

So what does it mean to give thanks?  It means to recognize that my life is not my own, entirely.  That for all the great and wonderful things afforded me in my life come from the people and things around me, just as much as it does from me.  Dear friends and loved ones who care and provide for me physical, emotional, and mental support.  Colleagues and professional associates who provide me great opportunities for work and development as w…

Tales of Running: Running & Daydreaming

So I'm currently reading (ok, listening to) Jonah Lehrer's Imagine:  How Creativity Works and despite the issues around Lehrer's journalistic practices, there are elements to it that I certainly appreciate.  At its core, the book identifies the manners and reasons in which people come to generate creativity in their lives.  I do believe that in some ways I am creative and recognize some of the actions and ways he describes people's habits for generating creativity active in my daily life.

One element he discusses is creating time and opportunities for deliberate daydreaming.  He explains that it's not enough to just daydream, but to be conscious of that daydreaming to draw upon and bring back into the real world.  For me, this idea is felt most palpably is running.  Running is a quiet time.  It's often me, the music, and the road.  Not much interaction with the world around me beside monitoring for safe cues to proceed.  Running is day-dream time.   The quietne…

Adventures in Learning : Transforming Learning Moment?

This week’s class focused on transformational learning and how that can instructors can facilitate that experience in learners in a loosely structured manner.  The group presenting led us down an activity where we broke into pairs and worked through the first three stages of the process:  Experience, Critical Reflection, and Reflective Discourse.  The final stage was Action to which we were directed to take up the conversation by writing about it.  With that in mind, what follows are my reflections on the questions posed.  I did like this activity as it made me pause and think about something I’ve been wanting to tackle for a while and better understand what stands in the way of that (and how to address it).
ExperienceWhat positive change would you like to make that would impact your life? This may include work, home, community, relationships with others. Anything.For a while now, I’ve wanted to write a book (and by now, have probably written the equivalent therein with over 150 posts …

On Meme'ing Hurricane Sandy

In a previous post, I talked about my attempt to capture and/or create a meme.  I have blogged elsewhere how I was fascinated with the fast-pasted meme of the New England earthquake on 10/16/2012.  As Hurricane Sandy soon descended upon New England, I set out to see if I could mimic what I survived the 10/16/12 earthquake Facebook page did with a page of my own: Thanks Sandy The Frankenstorm, No School/Work Today and Maybe Tomorrow.  Much of my work and thoughts around this was inspired by Bill Wasik's And Then There's This, a great book about the nature of memes.

How did it go?  Meh.  Not great but interestingly nonetheless and I learned some interesting things that are useful in this regard.  My observations and thoughts are as such.

Lesson 1:  Consider Your TopicWhat made the earthquake enjoyable and amusing was that it was done and over with before most people knew about it and did very little in terms of actual damage to humans and buildings alike.  Some are likely to have …

Adventures in Learning: Breaking Out of the Box

As we're more than 2/3 of the way through the course, I find myself a bit disappointed about the execution of the course.  In a course on adult learning that focuses on theory, there has been some positive elements employed such as empowering the students to conduct the class and become much more involved in the learning process.  And yet, we largely fell into the default positions of a typical undergraduate class (we're all guilty of this; the learners, the group instructors--I'm not divorcing myself from it--just reflecting on it).

Virtually, all of the classes have been this format: Start with a small activity.  Move into a lecture format wherein the group tells the class about the different people in the field and how the theory works.  This is followed by another activity and maybe some discussion.  End of class.   This is an adequate format.  We've all been exposed to hundred of classrooms in our lives that are conducted in very similar ways.  It's safe and re…

Adventures in Learning: Self Learning....Buttttt

So our reading in the course I'm taking led us into self-directed learning this week.  A topic I know all too well.  Many of my friends know that I'm a self-defined nerd.  My nerdiness knows no bounds.  Apparently, someone told me as a child that I would be a life-longer learner and I took that to heart.  I can remember from a very early age being curious and interested in learning more.  Whether it was learning everything there was to know about Marvel Comics, Star Wars, or stuff that was not so sci-fi oriented, I would constantly seek out knowledge.  I taught myself how to add and take out components on a computer and how to create webpages back in the late 1990s.  I would go to the library on weekends, just to find books to read and learn new things about.  I feel in love with audiobooks in part because I could learn that much more with what little time I had on Earth.  And as many know, I'm a perpetual student, acquiring degrees and taking courses because I'm just …

Look What I Made: Apple Leather

So I can thank Hurricane Sandy for the opportunity to try this new recipe.  I'm a fan of my dehydrator as many of you know.  I've made potpourri and tea with it.  In September, I got into a conversation with someone who has been dehydrating for decades and he gave me some great tips that got me wondering what else I could do.  One idea was apple leather.  Fruit leather was what people made long before there was the classic (albeit unhealthy) child' snack, the Fruit Roll-Up.  It's a dehyrdated fruit mixture that is chewy and sweet (and much more healthy).

Thus with Sandy knocking out work for me for 2 days, one project I took to was making some apple leather and it came out pretty awesome.  I instantly bragged about it on Facebook and had a few people request the recipe.  So I figured I do one step better and capture it when I made it again.  So here it is.
Ingredients1 Bag of ApplesRolled Oates (Optional)Pumpkin Spice (Optional)ToolsLarge PotFood precessor (or a really g…