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Catering To A Whim

Catering To A Whim

In the Tech world there is not so much discussion as to whether or not mobile apps are the way to go.

In the Ed world, however, depending on the culture of the school, there can be much debate as to how much technology to incorporate, ie, mobile learning, hybrid classes, interactive white boards (not chalk?!), and it seems the conversations go on and on.

I'm young. I'm 40. I have been in the field of Academic Technology and Faculty Development since my Senior year at Southern Adventist University. I've since worked at other private universities, community colleges, an HBCU, tiny agricultural town, state capital, and currently, I'm a consultant for a private health institute in northern California implementing Canvas to allow the Institute to begin offering online programs. This most recent school, while growing in the understanding of financial gain in offering programs globally, are simultaneously undergoing "tech-free" zones around their campus, which is a health institute as well as an alternative health clinic.

Personally, I agree with what they're doing.

While technology has its place, and while SLO's generally speak to favoring online components and mobile features, I don't think it's healthy to stay there 24/7. Too many people work, eat, and sleep with their phones, and that's not an exaggeration.

I also don't think it's prudent to require so much out-of-class activity with an LMS so that students can never unplug from the virtual world we have created.

Just my $.02


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Hi  @lturner2 ‌

I am really quite torn by your posting.

In one respect, I see your point. I agree that too much time is spent by almost everybody in their various virtual environments. People are killing themselves and others on our roads because they are unwilling to hang-up, Comcast now has an app so that users can turn off their WiFi during meal times or at bedtimes, folks are backing themselves off cliffs to get a better selfie - you've seen all the same indicators.

And yet, education requires a certain amount of time-on-tasks, and it has since education was first invented. In higher education we have a formula we apply, 3+ hours work per credit (1 hour in-class + 2 hours homework). And this is really just an average. So of course some folks spend considerably less time, and others considerably more.Diminishing that time could mean less rigor and less learning, and homey don't play that. Should we purposely create homework that must be done off-line. I know that in some instances this could be a possibility, but not all.  Do we tell our students that we want them to hop in the family time-machine and go back to 1965 to research their papers the old-fashioned way, or that they should laboriously hand-write their assignments then submit them to us on those little flat hunks of trees? Would they listen? I don't know, but I suspect that engagement would drop, and so would that instructor's enrollments after word got out.

As for K-12, any course or school that is not quipping their students to succeed in this brave new world really needs to be shut down.  While my grandchildren's schools try their best under their limited budgets, I still think they are doing a disservice to their students if they are not using information technology almost all day every day.

How can we make this work in our small facet of society, when almost every other aspect of society operates in virtual environments? And quite honestly, does it really matter? Let's face it - the only constant is change, and that is true of societal norms.  There has never been a generation of young people who did not spark some sort of societal change, just as there has never been a generation of old people who thought society was going to hell in a hand-basket because of those changes.

I think I am going to settle into, "it is what it is", and hope I can hang on for the ride. And in the meantime, I will insist that my children and grandchildren turn off their cell phones at the dinner table. That's all I got.


I'm always quick to want to separate online (using a laptop or desktop or similar... the key is the keyboard) and phone activities. Until recently I did not even have a smartphone! So I'll remark about that here: about six weeks ago, I finally had to get a smartphone to manage my father's home healthcare. This was because the people I was employing for homecare did not have email or, if they did have email, they did not use it often; instead, they did everything by texting. So, I had to get a smartphone because I had to be able to text and be texted.

So, I got a smartphone. I use Google-everything, so I got an Android phone. It was totally easy to get up and running since I already have all my stuff in Google cloud services.

And I was thinking that somehow the allure of the phone would pull me in. That I, too, would find myself unable to be without my phone. That I would want to bring it to the dinner table. That I would keep it by my bedside.



And I do most of my texting using the MightyText app in my browser anyway.

So, yes, I need the phone when I am away from home...

But when I'm at home, I'm on my computer (a Chromebook). Not my phone. And when I'm not on my computer, that is because I don't want to be on my computer.

I guess I am glad to find out that the "siren song" of the smartphone does not sing to me at all.

After hearing about people's attachment to their phones (people throw around the word addiction pretty freely...), I was kind of nervous about getting one.

And kind of relieved that I'm just not that into it, ha ha.

So I am chalking the whole expensive business up to the other enormous expenses of coping with my dad's illness...

Hi  @lturner2 ‌,

Great post.

While I acknowledge the value of eLearning, and the rapid development and usefulness of technology, I also have issue with its method of delivery to children. Students access their learning activities via addictive mobile devices that can connect to everything else on the internet. All the problems that are inherent of the web are just a few taps away at any time. They will spend many hours staring at screens, sitting still, and coping with the allure of instant gratification and social media. 

The technology is relatively new and increasingly being introduced to younger and younger audiences. How will this affect physical and cognitive development in children? I guess we'll find out. That being sad, I strongly believe that both parents and educators ought to carefully help children manage their time online effectively (not easy!). Smiley Happy 


Hope your dad gets well soon!

A few thousand people, have worked very hard to keep the millions of us engaged to our phone everyday. I adore technology, but as a technologist I am worried when technology stops being a means and becomes the end.


The reasons you outlined Larry, is precisely why I haven't yet signed up for Facebook. But it's gotten to the point where 'if you aren't on Facebook you don't exist' and I know that I will eventually I have too. Being the temptress that social media is, am I wrong to not sign up for something I know has been designed to sink my time?

waaaseee, I gave up on FB a year ago. It's been great for exactly for that reason.

 @benjamin_rodrig ‌, have you ever estimated the time you save per week? Do you enjoy just letting your mind drift into open space?lol

Also, just throwing it out there, I find the Canvas community more useful, peaceful and thoughtful than Facebook. 

Indeed I do enjoy letting the mind drift. In moderation. Smiley Happy

And yes, this community is far more useful. 

I have heard, from time to time, various individuals tell me, almost apologetically, that they aren't on FB. I think they're apologetic for not being  "reachable" but simultaneously they aren't on FB (or other addictive social media fantasy lands) because they know how much those around them spend.

My wife and I recently celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. While we were enjoying a very nice meal at a very nice seafood restaurant near Laguna Beach, we both noticed a young, hipster couple next to us - each on his and her phone.

Now I know this example has been seen and discussed ad nauseam, but I keep receiving reminders in life.

Granted, I do have a FB account, and I'm not a very good steward about it. I only check it about every other month, to the angst of many of my legitimate friends. Believe me, I do see the value of FB and connecting to friends far and wide, it makes communicating and staying in touch very easy. Why is it that we become so entrenched with it? I don't think I can blame FB (for privacy ethics concerns or anything else), but it seems that as a culture, we have really just become obsessed in this world competing between narcissism and stalking. I digress.

But answer this for any of you ever wonder why your friends want to connect on professional sites like LinkedIn? I always wonder why. Not that I'm good about checking FB, but I do enjoy keeping my professional life and my personal life at a relative distance.

Very much agree about personal v. professional, Larry! I use Twitter and Google+, and both are hugely important to my professional life, and in the past I participated in various education Nings, in an educator Yammer, a Chatter network at my school, but never Facebook. I always saw Facebook as more for family/friends, which is exactly what I don't want to do online. But professional networking, absolutely. For me, it's about the conversations, which is why I don't use LinkedIn, but a big yes to Twitter and also Google+ (although Google+ has been in a real decline over the past year or so, alas, but Twitter has thank goodness improved in that time with the longer message option).

laurakgibbsgood on you for grabbing the bull by the horns and getting that jolly phone. And for not heeding the siren song. I'm pleased that the purpose you got it for is doing its job. And I hope your precious Dad is ok.

I do get where  @lturner2 is coming from though. And we all need to take a leaf out of your book Laura. Hard to do when the sirens are calling loud and lusciously.

Here are my further thoughts. You see, I am old and have experienced a few generations and am a history buff so..............................

  • Plato criticized this spread of written language as an impediment to wisdom. He complained that writing things down would eliminate the need for memory. Socrates, too, had decried the written word, and had said that one can ask questions of or argue with a speaker, but the written word may not be understood and may be interpreted falsely.
  • In the mid-15th century, the advent of Gutenberg’s movable-type press was criticized for allowing the dissemination of misinformation. The Church, in particular, was losing control of what people could know and think about as the printing of secular books became more affordable. A Benedictine monk who was a professional scribe, warned, “They shameless print... material which may, alas, inflame impressionable youths...”.
  • With the advent of of the telephone in the 1800s There were privacy fears, that people would listen to the phone conversations and would lose the face-to-face communication. 
  • Cars go too fast.
  • If man was meant to fly, God would have given him wings.
  • What's wrong with this planet?
  • Blah blah blah.

The bottom line is that the next generation, enabled by the previous generation, has been ruining the world since those first bratty kids decided to climb down from the trees and walk on two feet. Who ever heard of such foolishness? Their lazy parents should have taught them better!

It is what it is!


 @kmeeusen , your response had evaded me somehow. Oh, how you just made me laugh. You are absolutely correct, and I love the historic rundown and can thoroughly appreciate your musing  😃

Some of the fears of teachers I work with are these two myths;

"Your department going to take away my job!"

"Kids know more about technology than I do (so I don't want to look like an idiot if I mess something up)!"

I guess in the end, so much of learning is fear-based. I know that has happened to me around programming languages and many forms of software. I see it as a mountain of the unknown that I'm just sure is unattainable except for those quadruple-digit IQ folk.

I make it a practice to applaud and recognize when faculty take the bull by the horns or become a tech-advocate for an institution. It's gutsy, and it earns you some labels, but progress takes place in many forms.

One of my favorite "tech-support"-related videos of all time...



That is just one of my favorite videos, period! I keep it on hand as a ready rebuttal to any form of a Luddite. 

As for............

"I make it a practice to applaud and recognize when faculty take the bull by the horns or become a tech-advocate for an institution."

When we first migrated to Canvas, I made a big push to promote online use at our school. We are a tech college, but many of our tech faculty fear instructional tech. Imagine my surprise when I got a call from our Cosmetology program faculty asking if they could all arrange Canvas training as a group! I mean, Cosmetology! I could not at that time entice my IT faculty to explore Canvas.

For that and several other reasons, those ladies are some of my favorites on campus - although I do suffer when they all crowd into our small training lab sheep-dipped in scented products.