Current Reading

This blog is primarily for me to blog my responses to books that I'm reading. Sometimes I blog about other stuff too, though.

I'm currently sort of reading Two New Sciences by Galileo; I may or may not get around to blogging about it.

I'm also sort of reading From Sight to Light: The passage from ancient to modern optics by A. Mark Smith. Again, I may or may not get around to blogging about it.

Word cloud

Word cloud

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Post-Literate Society

Today an administrator sent out a request that faculty fill out a survey as part of some study involving educational fads.  Since I love to be the fly in the ointment I naturally took the survey as soon as possible.  Among the questions on the survey were a few about whether/how frequently we use videos in our classes.  The context strongly implied that assigning students to watch videos is considered a good, progressive thing to do.  Reading assignments did not receive commensurate attention.

Mark 2016 as the year that one of my "superiors" openly embraced the post-literate society.


Anonymous said...

I sometimes wonder if literacy is a lost cause. I once attended a course redesign workshop where a department (incidentally, at your institution) presented their progress on an ambitious effort to flip their entire undergraduate curriculum, and in doing so, essentially eliminate the textbook. I was a relatively new and naive assistant professor at the time, and I foolishly raised the question of how students would ever develop the skills to read dense, difficult text if all the course content moved to video. My point didn’t go over so well. If the educators have given up on literacy, how can we expect it from the students?

Alex Small said...

Can I ask what field they were in?

Anonymous said...

Engineering. Now to be clear, I don’t think videos and flipped instructional models are bad things and they have their uses. But at some point, one has to learn how to synthesize information from a variety of primary sources, and these sources are probably not going to be slick, 10-min youtube videos. There needs to be a balance, and the question in my mind is what that balance should be.

Or perhaps video really will kill the textbook. Just as it killed the radio star...

Alex Small said...

The educators haven't given up on literacy for all kids. Their own kids go to fairly traditional schools. They believe that compassion for the lower classes means giving up on literacy for, you know, _those people _.