July 27, 2010

Dragonspeak is Freaking Me Out

Speak-writing. It's a peeve. It's a peeve because I'm usually grading student papers. [Ones they were probably not very excited to write in the first place.] Prior to graduate school I wouldn't have registered the concept of speak-writing. You think that this would have dawned on me while studying linguistics... I got that communication varies by context and medium, but I never really took it to heart that writing and speaking were very different animals.  It took a professor making the "your writing obscures your ideas" comment to make the point. I like speaking! Punctuation is implied ... danced? Gesticulated? Implied works best, I think. In speaking you can't misspell. And you can liberally jump from idea to idea as long as there is roughly some narrative thread... or not. Writing involves so much structure and attention. Way more discipline than I have or have interest in having (at least for the purposes of writing.)

So for those of you who think using dictation and then transcription will make for easier writing... you are in for a surprise and a lot of work.

Giant block of text! No punctuation! Jumpy, roving thoughts! Which leads me back to the tedious, fiddly work of editing and rearranging -- and at this moment all of it makes me want to disappear. Run off to read. Run off down the road and call it exercise.

This reaction is a sure sign that I have spent my daily allowance of technology-related course prep time.


July 15, 2010

Off to PsySR Conference

I'm off to Boston for the Psychologists for Social Responsibility conference. I've been working on my presentation in the back of my head for the last two weeks. I've also just been thinking of conferences and workshops in general.

Here is what I know about conferences:

1. Generally speaking, no one wants to sit still and listen to you for 90 minutes. [Contrary to popular belief, this doesn't actually get easier as you get older or more experienced.]

2. Conferences are actually about socializing and sharing ideas. [Therefore, as much as I hate receptions and resort to standing in the corner and watching, these free-form discussion times are important. I just don't have the requisite skills to make the most of them. Nor do I have the motivation to do something about that.]

3. Before you get there, you have no idea who the audience will be. So I'm not sure what will capture the group's attention or where we'll end up at the end of my session. So it will be an adventure. [I've been a member of PsySR for a while, but this is the first time I will meet any one.]

July 10, 2010

Hours Wasted. The Lure of Sunk Costs.

It is summer. The perfect time to figure out how to use the new SRS system. [Student Response Systems... clickers. Remotes.] I brought this upon myself by writing a mini grant for a system. The system that I didn't purchase for six months, and when I finally purchased it I waited three more months to open the package. And then did nothing with it until summer.

But it is summer now. So here goes. CD to install software. USB receiver. That plugs into the computer. Box of remotes. Pages of glossy instruction cards with pictures in case you aren't inclined to read. Hours wasted. But I must be so close, right?