Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Back on the Blogwagon

Well, thank you so much to Drek for inviting me to guest blog. I have been on blog hiatus for so long that I finally did archive and shut down Pub Sociology. Archiving a blog is a strange thing. As far as I can tell, it just saves absolutely everything you've ever posted in a giant text file. No line breaks, no fancy fonts, just line after line of tina drivel. Like ashes in an urn, I suppose.

I've missed blogging some, especially in those moments when something exciting or outrageous crosses my desk, and I just have to share it. Now that I have a chance to post again, however, I can't for the life of me remember what those were or why I was so worked up.

At the moment, the thing that has my attention is teaching. I know that it's summer, and I'm supposed to stop thinking about teaching, but I've got a new class next year, and I have to order the book(s). It's Introduction to Sociology, which I've taught before, and it's a big lecture, which I've done before, but never both at the same time. I've taught intro as a small (25 student) seminar in an intensive 4-week class. We read 3 sociology books and some articles I select, and we pulled out the sociology lessons through class discussion and (minor) analysis of some relevant data. I don't think that's going to fly for my 350-student, year-long course, so I'm going to use a textbook.

To make myself feel better about my megaclass (did I mention that it is at 8:30am?), I am looking into student response systems. I think it was Chris Uggen that first brought them to my attention, and they seem very promising to me. My textbook publisher will issue a coupon that brings the price to quite reasonable $25 per student and it seems handy for all sorts of things, not the least of which is getting students to guess at answers to questions in the day's lecture, hopefully giving them some reason to continue listening to what I have to say.

I haven't met anyone who has used one, however, so I'm a bit wary of just trying it out, in case it's the sort of nifty toy that you play with for a few weeks and then forget about. That would be particularly unfair, given that it isn't me footing the bill for them.


Blogger Brayden said...

I love technology in the classroom, when it actually simplifies the learning process. I think that a lot of technology has made our classrooms less learning-friendly (Powerpoint being the best example), but student response systems seem different in that they allow for more interaction rather than less. Let me know if you use it and how it works.

And welcome back to blogging!

Monday, June 05, 2006 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger marc said...

I sat through a demo of these things in our department once. Actually seemed pretty engaging, even for the 20 of us, and I'm not one to use classroom technology. I'd be curious as to student tricks you find, ex. taking turns bringing in friends' remotes.

Also, I'm new to blogging, and am sorry to have missed you! Thanks for the guest spot.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 7:03:00 AM  

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