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Calm in the Digital Storm

Popular wisdom says this generation of students is digitally native, and that they have facility with digital technology that people even of my generation (I’m just on the upper edge of millenial) don’t have. Indeed, in my household we had a family computer all through my years in high school. Cell phones were still relatively novel, and the iPhone was not even a twinkle in Steve Jobs’ eye. This difference in perspective led to my over-enthusiasm for introducing digital technology in the classroom.

The Sound Effects are Free

When I worked in the production/post-production business there was a running joke in our video and audio edit sessions: “The sound effects are free.”  Originally, this was due to the fact that clients often didn’t understand why they had to pay for them.  And so, we just gave them away for free as a perk.  More importantly, the joke applied to the way a client described an action they wanted to see in an animation.  Invariably the action was described with verbal sounds.


The Rule of Three

When you sit with a friend at lunch, do you keep your cell phone on the table? If you do, the mere presence of your phone can change the quality of the encounter.

“People keep the conversation on topics where they won’t mind being interrupted,” writes Sherry Turkle, in her recent article “Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.”  “They don’t feel as invested in each other. Even a silent phone disconnects us.” 

In Search of the Digital Red Pen

Paper is great, and it gives a flexibility that typing doesn’t. I can leaf through a book faster than I can scan a PDF; word processing software isn’t as dynamic as the scrawls of a red pen. And I require students to mark their texts when they read to create “working texts.” Call me old-fashioned, but I have always been skeptical of jumping into the tech revolution with two feet. How was an app supposed to transform my teaching?

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