Thursday, October 19, 2006

Random Thursday Morning Snippets

* Apparently "doing just enough to get by" has found its way into my blogging habits, too. Oops. I do have a lot to say (I still go around mentally composing blog posts in my head), but this week the last thing I've felt like doing in the evenings at home is turning on my computer (and the late nights at school aren't helping, either). I'll be back to regularly-scheduled blogging soon, I promise.

* The research impasse has been overcome---I am once again regularly doing research. It is going painfully slowly, since I'm in a phase where I'm (a) debugging code and (b) trying to figure out my students' code and (c) I'm limited to half-hour or hour-long blocks, but research is happening again. Happy happy joy joy!

* Yesterday I did a Bad Thing. I skipped out on a lunch with a visiting bigwig. I should have gone, really. But it was clear across campus and sandwiched (hee!) into my really short break between my two classes, and the last thing I felt like doing after my first class was schlepping myself over there and then running back for class #2. So I skipped. And I felt relieved, strangely, about letting that commitment go.

* However, the universe punished me for my actions, since no lunch meeting = no lunch = time to hit our evil overpriced gross snack bar. 6 bucks for a veggie burger and Sun Chips, no drink. (I think they double-charged me for the cheese.) Highway robbery. And the food made me sick, too, for the rest of the afternoon. This is why I always pack my lunch.

* A tale of two classes: My first class yesterday went spectacularly well. My second class yesterday fell spectacularly flat. Sometimes I think there is an inverse relationship between time spent prepping a class and how well the class goes.

* After resolving this student problem (well, it actually resolved itself, which was nice---I've had no problems with those students since), I now have a new set of problem students. This one's a group of 3, and they apparently are big into the note-passing. How they think I don't notice them doing this is a mystery to me. Sigh. I have a plan for dealing with these students, though, so I think I'll be able to nip this in the bud rather easily. But I hate having to waste time and energy dealing with junior-high level behavior. This is college, people; grow up already!


Anonymous said...

See the note passing as a teaching opportunity. Talk about Wi-Fi and packets of information being brought together. Do it like this:

"Ah, I see a note being passed! Wonderful! This reminds me of something that most of you may not be aware of regarding Wi-Fi. Now, first, has everyone seen the note that needs to see the note? If not, do it right now because I need it to speak of Wi-Fi and to illustrate something. [Then you ask that the note be passed to you.] Now look, [hold up the note so all can see it] when you send information electronically over a Wi-Fi network it is routed in parts or packets of information. Many of you may know this already. How did this technique come to be? [Then you speak of Hedy Kiesler Markey* and her work in wireless communication and while doing this your tear the note into small "packets."] Now, I have just described how Wi-Fi works and the work of a great woman that each of you owes a debt of gratitude. The problem here, however, is that we cannot put this note back together in exactly the same way it first appeared. Such is the limitation of note passing in this class. So, with a sense of gratitude still in your mind, keep this in your mind as well, we are here to learn about programming to be able to convey information in a most efficient way. It is inefficient to the purposes of this class to pass notes in this way. If you must pass notes, and I hope if you do it is about what you are learning and not what you are doing after this class, you at least not shame yourselves by engaging in "old school tech" and pass information via wireless transfer and not in a manner obvious to your teacher's eyes or ears and to the distraction of your classmates."

How's that Jane? :-) It would be better, of course, to send an e-mail to the students engaged in passing notes so as not to shame them in front of their peers but, on the other hand, here you at least have an opportunity to teach the students something involving computing and the history of women involved in information transfer. You could even have a picture of the inventor mentioned above ready for when the teaching moment arrives.

* Oh, by the way, the name Hedy Kiesler Markey might be unfamiliar to you. She was better known as Hedy Lamarr. That's right. The brilliant and beautiful actress.

Jane said...

That's brilliant! And oddly, it fits in with my lesson plan tomorrow. Thanks!

(and I have brought up Hedy Lamarr in my classes before...the students always enjoy hearing about her.)