Calm Before The…

Next week, new faculty arrive for orientation (and laptops). Week after, all faculty. Week after, all students.

This week, we brought up the new Meru wireless system. Replaced the email server. Moved forward on about six building changes (two computer labs, two computer pods, a new architecture room, two tech offices). Programmed five new Xerox copiers for accounting. Dreamt of a better life… :)

Today, I pay bills. Check in on several smaller projects. Pass on the afternoon party and head to Portsmouth with the family at 3 p.m. to spend the night on SR, our sailboat. Tomorrow, we’ll either day sail or just take in the Gosport Saturday market.

We’ll return tomorrow night, so I can take off for an admin retreat on Sunday morning. Need to finish reading Five Minds for the Future by Harold Gardner before then. (More on that book later– cool.)

As for now, time to pull out invoices and listen to rock and roll.

Technology and Reading

The following is a worthwhile NY Times article about the concerns/implications/opporutnities of the increased amount of online reading done by students:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/27/books/27reading.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ei=5070&en=1aa9eb0eba6fce8e&ex=1217822400&emc=eta1

I find it an interesting topic. I agree with the end part of the article, that stresses the value and ability of being able to find, read and accurately ascribe value to online resources. At the same time, not having the ability to read entire books and understand an extended, linear argument concerns me. Having both abilities seems a sensible goal, even if some feel it is “too much.”

In some ways, this article is a reaction to the Atlantic Monthly article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” by Nicholas Carr:

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google

Again, the article is rather “either/or” in the benefits of web vs. traditional reading, but I like the later references to Plato and Gutenberg. The ending is a bit of a misnomer, however. I don’t see computer-mediated information access as making us more like machines– instead, we are exposed to more ideas from other individuals. I would not have likely read either the NY Times article or the Atlantic Monthly article without this mediation, for example.

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