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Great, great article shared from our friends at ELP Tech Committee Blog:

http://www.academiccommons.org/commons/essay/knowledgable-knowledge-able

This excellent post comes from one of our own K-Staters, and he raises some excellent issues about changes in education, technology, and where our students fit in in all of this.  He writes, “Unfortunately, many teachers only see the disruptive possibilities of these technologies when they find students Facebooking, texting, IMing, or shopping during class. Though many blame the technology, these activities are just new ways for students to tune out, part of the much bigger problem I have called “the crisis of significance,” the fact that many students are now struggling to find meaning and significance in their education.”

Wesch goes on to describe his exciting World Simulation project for his Cultural Anthropology class.  It’s an ambitious project, to say the least, but I love that he’s finding ways to get his students genuinely engaged in learning.  Isn’t that our job – to make our students excited about knowledge and the possibilities that education opens up?– Ashley

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Ironic, or just sad?

Very interesting post from The Language Log – they’ve summarized a study about the ability of Chinese to appreciate irony (basically, they get irony better than Americans, but they don’t like it as much as we do).  With our abundance of Chinese students, this might be worth a read.  I will warn you that the actual study is 65 pages, so it might be worth a quick scan instead.– Ashley

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Such an easy way to prevent cheating!!!

Anti-Cheating Device!

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Which naturally begs the question: If even Americans don’t want to live there, how are you supposed to get Chinese kids to show up?  It’s just too freaking cold in Maine.  I sometimes forget it’s not just part of Canada 🙂  But this article from the New York Times is interesting, especially in light of how heavily our university recruits in China.  Thoughts?  Comment below!– Ashley

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Sometimes I think Tuesday might just be the worst day of the week.  Monday can suck, but there’s also this idealistic motivation that Monday brings–“I’m going to get so much accomplished this week!”  And then Tuesday rolls around.  The end of the week is still nowhere in sight, and Monday’s motivation has been replaced by Tuesday’s sluggishness.

I even find this happens in my teaching.  I always plan assessment for Friday (quizzes, in-class essays, etc.), so there’s something to work toward every week.  This makes planning Thursday and Friday pretty easy.  Review one day, take the quiz/test the next day.  But how do I fill up the rest of the week?  I seem to be dragging on Tuesdays and then rushing on Thursdays.

All this to say- I’ve discovered that Tuesdays are less interminable when I’ve created little fun side projects to do.  I’m working on some Camtasia videos right now, which I find vastly more interesting than grading my student’s homework.  So I’m making it a Tuesday task.  I’m looking for research articles for our next research potluck.  A perfect Tuesday task.

It’s worth noting here that my idea of fun and yours might not be exactly the same :)– Ashley

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Just for fun

And because my students can’t spell at all, but I can hardly blame them. This site

Also, daughter's laughter

has some funny little poems about why English is such a confusing language.

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In preparation for our research potluck on Friday, I’ve been reading up on whether corrective feedback works and how to make it effective.  The linguists say it’s bad- interferes with natural interlanguage development, and blah-bi-di-blah-blah.  Educators say it’s good- we can’t have students continuing to make the same mistakes over and over again, can we?

Ultimately, what I want to know is how to help my students improve their writing so their university professors will understand what they’re saying.  When I was learning French, I found that my writing improved through extensive reading.  The more I read, the more I got a feel for how to structure sentences in French, and the better my writing became.  Of course, I also thought my teacher’s corrective feedback was helpful, but I was probably the one nerd who read all those comments in the margin.

Linguists may be right (I hope not), but that doesn’t solve my immediate problem as an educator: I’ve got to get these students to write more accurately.  And educators may be right (or just foolishly optimistic), but then what actually works?  Nothing I’m trying so far seems to be making a difference at all.  My early observations thus far have led me to conclude that the motivated students will improve somewhat, possibly with or without my feedback, and the unmotivated students won’t.

Which then leads to that ever-present, ever-frustrating question: how do we motivate the unmotivated students?– Ashley

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