Friday, November 13, 2009

How the NMAP Made RTB Reflexively Cry

NMAP: "I'm kind of tired of people claiming that academics and researchers are trying to 'tell practitioners what to do' - when nearly all of us these days who are researchers WERE and still ARE also practitioners. Why is the assumption that we don't listen to practitioners? That we have no real world experience ourselves? That practitioner knowledge should automatically trump theory?"

RTB: IMHO, the problem is that researchers DON'T tell practitioners what to do. Researchers in general do a lousy job of making their research findings praxiologically transparent. We talk at them, not to them. But we can't blame researchers for that...academe does not reward it. Consequently, the job often falls to some intermediary (for CALL@UTK, that would be me). But then the intermediaries get "uppity", want to try their hand at changing the world, only to find out that the only one changed is themselves. You teach, but are no longer a "teacher". You practice, but are no longer a "practitioner". You are a researcher...a new member of a particular flavor of cognoscenti. It is a position I will never be comfortable in...but I could never go back. It is a position in which there is no room for apathy because intense ambivalence fills every available bit of space. I lack the words to reflect on this at a 'meta' level, but images flash in my head...the poor/fortunate man freed from Plato's Cave is one. But for those of you who are closet fans of Cyrano de Bergerac, perhaps you will understand when I tell you that the image that resonates with me like a massive earthquake is the Comte de Guiche as he reflects on his life after becoming a Duc. I can totally see me playing this out in a decade. For those of you qui ne parle pas très bien le français, perhaps taking his reflective lines from the English edition and inserting myself into them somehow will help you understand. All I ask in return is that you send me a little something to give voice to my tension. A little theory-as-therapy, palliative philosophy. Even a citation will do...I know my way around a library:

(walking from Claxton to the Library)

RTB (AS THE FUTURE NMAP) (speaking of a teacher): Ay, there is one who has no prize of Fortune!--Yet is not to be pitied!

THE TA (with a bitter smile): But Dr. Berchot...

RTB : Pity him not! He has lived out his career, free in his thoughts, as in his actions free!

THE TA (in the same tone): Dr. Berchot!

RTB  (haughtily): True! I have all, and he has naught;. . .Yet I am proud to shake his hand!

(Waving to a colleague): Bye!

COLLEAGUE: I'll go over with you.

(RTB waves goodbye to the TA, and goes with the colleague toward the ramp.)

RTB (pausing, while the colleague goes up the ramp):
Ay, true,--I envy him.
Look you, when life is full of scholarly success
--Though the past holds no action foul--one feels
A thousand self-disgusts, of which the sum
Is not remorse, but a dim, vague unrest;
And, as one mounts the ramp of scholarly renown,
The NMAP's leather wheeled briefcase trails within its wheels
A sound of dead illusions, vain regrets,
A rustle--scarce a whisper--like as when,
Mounting the ramp to the sidewalk, your  leather wheeled briefcase
Sweeps in its path the dying autumn leaves.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Flavors of Discourse Analysis Questions One Might See in "Misty Mountain Hop"

Discursive Psychology: "Why don't you take a good look at yourself and describe what you see..."

Progressive Discourse: "And baby, baby, baby, do you like it?"

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Now Spreading the Prezi Love

I have never considered myself a PowerPoint hater...I use it at conferences, I'd like to think I can make a pretty dynamic PPT, and putting them on Slideshare for others has proven popular, at least I have a decent hit count. I work at a university where I get MSOffice for free, and while I have largely moved to Google Apps, I remain relatively content with PowerPoint, and haven't had much desire to move from it.

So what on earth would come along to make me tell you that I WILL NEVER MAKE ANOTHER POWERPOINT AGAIN?

Can I just say how much I LOVE Prezi? It's like having a table onto which you can dump the contents of your brain (and your document folders), arrange and rearrange your content, and then add a path to which you are not beholden to stick...jump (or let others jump) around as you/your audience please/s.

And again, 100MB of free space to create...the price is right! AND...once I have perfected my Prezi, I can download a self-contained Flashapp presentation that plays nice with any computer I use....or link out to it...or embed it wherever I like embedding things....

I like this one so much, I'm likely to upgrade this one to take advantage of the offline creator for use in our faculty development center.

Please share with me your Prezi stories...I can't be the only one out here who is smitten with this app!

Hey, you in the Ivory Tower: the Technology Gap is Real!

Do you really still think Prensky has been debunked?

Think again:

Use by Students and Faculty Members of Various Technologies in Conjunction With Education

Faculty Members
Course management systems
Social networking
Open source applications
iPod / MP3 player

Hope and Hype is Always Better Than Hate

Remind me never to apply for a position at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. With a cyberstructure researcher who hates cloud computing and a CIO who hates Twitter, can you imagine how well RTB would fare there?

My favorite observation from the site (made me think of something Dr. Counts would say...which then made me cry):

...academics remain enormously hidebound about social utilities. I routinely hear academics who have never laid eyes on Twitter or Facebook dismiss them with would-be clever put downs based on sheer ignorance. Such people sound like nothing so much as medieval scribes grousing about the advent of movable type.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spreading the Dropbox Love

Thanks to J. for turning me onto Dropbox, the 2nd free app this week that has radically transformed how I work (more on that later). My files are now always in sync on my PC and Mac (even on my iPod Touch!), sharing folders with friends is easier, I have my critical documents backed up OFFSITE, and since Dropbox has a 30 day undo history, it's even RTB-proof! It has saved me from stressful situations on several occasions this week...and I've only had it for a week!

And did I mention that it's free? 2GB of! (Actually, 2.25 GB if you use the links in this post!)

And since I know that the NMAP loves the CommonCraft "In Plain English" YouTube Series, I thought she'd appreciate that they were commissioned to craft the Dropbox promotional video:

Save yourselves. Get Dropbox. Friends don't let friends use flash drives.....(can you believe we're "past" flash drives already?)