Dawn of a new semester

The spring semester started six days ago, six days that flew by in a blur. Something about teaching in the winter semester makes getting ready for spring a heavy lift; not that I’m complaining. In a phrase I love to hate, it’s all good. Something’s got to give, though, if I’m to keep up with this blog. Blogging is one of my top priorities right now.

I started teaching Journalism 24/7 last Monday to 48 students, and right away, I managed to display my technological ignorance. I’ve been reading about how the cable companies have resisted upgrading set-top boxes to allow online access, but apparently I missed something. Wouldn’t it be great, I was saying to the class, if you could hook up your laptop and stream movies right onto that nice new HDTV screen? A slow roar welled up from the students. “You can already!” “You just need a frimfram wire and then you…” etc., etc. About a third of the class, apparently, was already streaming movies in just that way. I could feel the startled expression breaking across my face.

Oh, well. I’m never going to catch up technologically. That’s just not my nature, and it’s not what I bring to the class. I’m willing, if not overjoyed, to have my technological backwardness revealed again and again. I’m fine with learning from my students. It’s the journalism professor’s version of the newsroom generation gap, between digital natives like them and digital settlers like me.

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    • Ann Horbey
    • February 15th, 2010

    Too many educators—college professors especially—are hesitant to admit ignorance. That’s bull hockey. Learning from students is an integral part of instruction. What’s more, letting students bring their expertise to the class creates a more organic learning environment because they have something to offer. Your students aren’t consumers. They’re collaborators.

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