Monday, April 17, 2017

Experiments with Digital Annotation

I wanted to help students comprehend assigned readings. So I felt excited to give Hypothes.is, an online shared annotating/note taking program, a try. I’m still getting acquainted with the program and all its functions. But I can already attest to the value of digital annotating. Students can highlight as they would on actual paper, and they can jot down notes, or add links and images. Since everyone in class can see and comment upon everyone else's digital notes, students can start discussion threads anchored to readings.

The big goal here isn't to learn to highlight for the sake of highlighting nor to use digital tools out of a commitment to technology. Instead, I wanted to provide students a way to engage in meaningful reading and dialogue to develop content for their essays.

So I uploaded readings them onto Hypothes.is, “seeding” them with highlighted notes about content and structure. I introduced the texts to students. And I demonstrated Hypothes.is in class, devoting laboratory time for students to sign up and practice.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

"Chopping Up" Pinoy Psychology: AXES Illustration Paragraphs


The above clip features psychology Professor Kevin Nadal (he also does stand-up - talk about renaissance man). I like how Nadal illustrates Filipino American psychological phenomena using humor. I use his text book Filipino American Psychology in a composition class I teach. Why? For one, the class is part of a Filipino American Learning Community, so the subject matter is right on time. Secondly, the book features rhetorical modes typically found in college textbooks. And one of the big lessons I hope to teach is how to recognize and replicate those types of writing.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

P.O.W.E.R. & Thriving: Formulas for Success

We’ve been studying various ways to explain growth - leaning on traditional models of student development like Perry and Kohlberg. We also examined racial identity development models (see beverly Daniel Tatum's "Talking About Race, Learning about Racism"), another crucial area of growth. Movement through developmental models (ethical, moral, racial) can lead to an overall state of flourishing. 

One formula that measures how students flourish is what education professor Laura Schreiner calls the “thriving quotient.” Her formula accounts for the kind of growth we’d like students (and ourselves, as life-long learners!) to achieve. Schreiner breaks up her formula into five common sense factors: Social Connectedness, Positive Perspectives, Academic Determination, Valuing of Diverse Citizenry, and Engaged Learning.

She describes those ingredients in her essay, "The Thriving Quotient.” Social Connections speaks to fostering social capital and “soft skills” we need for collaborative work. Positive Perspective refers to positive psychology theories like Carol Dweck’s “Growth Mindset” and Angela Duckworth’s “Grit.” Academic Determination has to do goals, attitudes, and skills for growth. Value for Diverse Citizenry isn’t only about the ability to work well with different kinds of people. It’s about hope and the spirit of optimism that intergroup collaboration makes a difference. Engaged Learning accounts for actively participating in one’s learning.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Podcasts & Classroom Conversations

As is my habit, as I drove home from work, I was listening to a podcast, Slate’s Audio Book Club. Because we are in the middle of studying Ta-Nehisi Coate’s recent book Between the World and Me, I wanted to supplement my reading with the opinions of Slate journalists that I respect: Jamelle Bouie, chief political correspondent, Katy Waldman, a staff writer, and Meghan O'Rourke who writes about culture, and she has recently published a memoir about her mother’s death Their podcast conversation was smart. Erudite. Insightful. The journalists manifested a breadth and depth of knowledge that added so much to my reading of Coates’ epistolary memoir. 

Listening to them reminded me of being in graduate school seminar, where we tested our ideas, took (and changed!) tentative positions about an author’s content, and sought to find the significance of the texts before us.