Tag Archives: students

What Back-To-School Means to Me

4 Sep

For most recent grads and young professionals, back-to-school season is a lovely reminder that you’re no longer dealing with final papers, dreadful professors and those muggy bus rides spent secretly watching your seat partner lose horribly in candy crush. Instead, we can celebrate the accomplishment of graduating while covertly resenting our peers who still get to experience college.

Working in higher education, however, provides a unique experience when it comes to back-to-school season. It used to be that back-to-school meant the last day of my summer job, making two, three, or seven trips to Target for some updated apartment decor and checking my email hourly waiting for a new syllabus to appear. Those days are over.

Now, for me and most other higher ed staff, back-to-school means GO TIME. In the higher education industry, back-to-school is a time to quickly regroup and gear up for the incoming and returning students. This means planning trainings, answering parent questions, coordinating events and catering and…my least favorite: leaving for work ten minutes earlier because the traffic in town will be dreadful. It means greeting all students – incoming freshmen, returning, transfers, non-traditional, with arms wide open and saying, “this is going to be an awesome time.”

Though the lazy summer days are behind us, intricate fall projects are lining up fast. Dates are being set. Meetings are being held. Calls are being made. There is a wonderful, energetic buzz on campus that I’m totally feeding off of this year. Not to mention, some great sports are back on

So, I would like to wish all the students and teachers of the world a very happy back-to-school season. It is important that we don’t fall into old habits that create a mundane atmosphere. It is my personal challenge to up the ante this fall and do big things within reach. For the sake of the students and all others involved, let’s keep this lively buzz going all year!

And especially for my fellow higher ed staff/faculty/leadership out there: Happy Back-To-School season to you, too! Here are a few unconventional motivational quotes to keep in mind as this semester picks up:

 

 

 

 

Posters: Startup Vitamins

What does the back to school season mean to you? How do you stay focused during this busy time of year?

Two Cents Tuesday: Kids Need to Learn How to Type!

22 Oct

As these words appear on your screen, they were at one time pouring out of my fingers quickly and with skill onto a keyboard. After years of rigorous typing courses beginning at age 11 and ending around age 15, typing is something I’ve become an expert at. It is also something I enjoy.

So when I recently found out that many kids in school today are completely bypassing this necessary training, I was appalled. An 11-year-old close family friend revealed to me that he’s never taken a typing course but is required to write papers and even do homework assignments online.

How do you type? I asked

I just look for the letters I need, he responded

After I told him that I could easily type an entire paper without looking at the keyboard, he was amazed. This skill is absolutely necessary in today’s tech-driven world but young students are being robbed of the proper training.

According to Anna Trubek, professor at Oberlin College, typing courses have simply “fallen out of the curriculum.” In her article published in the MIT Technology Review, she writes:

“Touch typing allows us to write without thinking about how we are writing, freeing us to focus on what we are writing, on our ideas. “

Educators and their leaders make an assumption about today’s society and the abilities of our students. The assumption, her article says, is that kids already know how to type. Sure text messaging and touch screen tablets could be considered typing. But is a 140-character tweet really TYPING or simply jotting? Brevity has become an increasingly hot commodity on the internet and in normal person-to-person contact but yet our standardized tests and colleges require essays and speeches more than 500 words long.

A huge and disappointing gap exists between the two expectations of today’s children. Long essays can seem overwhelming to a student who 1) Can’t type as quickly as he thinks and 2) Can’t expand on thoughts and ideas. It seems technology has demanding needs – brevity, convenience, immediacy – while the education world tries to keep up in order to engage students but loses essential training in order to do so.

Needless to say, typing isn’t the only skill being left behind. But the question is really how can we revamp our education system in order to properly train our students for success? How can we incorporate seemingly outdated needs into technology-friendly lesson plans? It isn’t about numbers. It is about preparation for success. We can leave no room for assumptions.

Courtney O’Connell, a rising leader on the topic of innovation in education, and a friend of mine, offers an interesting perspective that actually encourages change in the industry to adapt to our changing world. Check it out:

Of course, I don’t know the right answer to the questions I have posed…it is just my two cents.

What are your thoughts? Am I being too traditional? Let’s chat!

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