Friday, April 18, 2014

Modernism, Postmodernism, Now What?

A week ago Thursday, I went to a faculty meeting that included a presentation by one of "writing study's leading composition theorists" who talked about "pedagogy for a postcomposition world." That's how he and his talk were pitched. Scintillating, eh? Actually, he was an interesting guy and it was a useful presentation.

During the Q&A portion, someone asked him what his thoughts were on letting students use cell phones in the classroom. After saying that he thinks it's up to college age students to police themselves when it comes to paying attention in class (is being distracted by checking text messages really any different than studying notes for different class?), he said that today, it makes total sense for a student to use a phone to snap shots of lecture slides instead of writing it all down by hand. As an added bonus, it enables them to pay more attention to what the instructor is saying.

Exactly a week later, I was hosting a talk on modernist writer Ernest Hemingway at our library and wanted to remember the titles of four short stories the presenter recommended. Pulled out my phone and boom. Got it all and didn't miss a word he said. Like the fact that he only included Old Man and the Sea on the reading list because it seemed he should, not because he enjoyed it. Because he didn't. Which is good to know. Or is at least entertaining coming from a guy who likes Hemingway so much that he literally has a Hemingway quote tattooed on his forearm (which is how I came to invite him to speak). But not a quote from Old Man and the Sea.

I love picking up a hot tip and using it straightaway. Makes me feel like I'm keeping up with the times.

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