Well, sort of. I am starting to feel a bit like the Peter Finch character in “Network” in the sense that whenever I write about online education or technological pedagogy in a cynical manner, my ratings go up. Besides, how can you not help but get mad when you read stuff like this (via Ray Schroeder’s Twitter feed*):
Students increasingly expect to use mobile devices, social networking sites and other tools to find information in class. And faculty have to look for different ways to incorporate these powerful computing tools into educational discussions.
I hear that second graders increasingly expect to get more recess time and that their teachers must give it to them or else they’ll be swept away by the tide of history. OK, maybe that’s unfair since college students are adults, but since when do students get to call the shots about how they’re going to be taught? If they want better food in the cafeteria, I’ll sign the petition. If they want to get university clothing made in sweatshops out of the bookstore, I’ll march with them. However, under no circumstances will I let them spend my entire class period fiddling with their phones. Sheesh. Next thing you know they’ll be punishing professors for enforcing rules about plagiarism. Oh wait…
While I’m in full Peter Finch mode, let me just note that stereotyping academics in order to cram technological de-skilling down our throats doesn’t help my mood:
“At the heart of every faculty member is a curious kid who’s a little geeky and really fascinated by the world around him or her,” [Gardner] Campbell [director of professional development and innovative initiatives at Virginia Tech] said.
Or perhaps we’re all just a bunch of “self-important, delusional jackasses.” While both those stereotypes undoubtedly apply to some of us [I freely admit that both those comments describe me to at least some extent.], there’s no way they apply to all of us. But if the public comes to believe that we are all just a bunch of self-important children, the few prerogatives that we have left will quickly disappear.
In other words, once the war on secondary school teachers is over, they’ll be coming for the college professors next. Heck, if you’re adjunct faculty, they probably started coming for you while you were still in elementary school. You just didn’t know it yet. Therefore, when I read something like this:
So most faculty resist new technology to a point because it doesn’t make sense to them…
I see the first stages of an infantilization campaign afoot. “College professors? They don’t know how to teach. All they care about is all that research that nobody is going to read anyways. Technology will save us all, and at a cheaper price too!”
Well, I’m not buying it. So while I have not yet reached the stage of opening my window and screaming at the world (Ah…if my office only had a window!), if this technological stuff is the only thing that gets me motivated to write blog posts I plan on continuing to listen to my inner-Faye Dunaway for the foreseeable future.
* I make this attribution here because if you’re really interested in this technological stuff (that means you MfD), you really ought to be reading it too.