Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tutors: The Future of Education

I've been depressed lately concerning the fact that I'm no longer "a real teacher." I'm "only a tutor." (boo hoo, sigh, pout) Now don't get me wrong; I believe that tutoring helps students and helping students is my goal. Chris Scullion has gotten tired of listening to me whine, though, and has written this blog post to help me understand the future of education as he sees it. I've got to say, I feel a lot happier now. I'm a TUTOR! Vicki

“I for one welcome our new computer overlords.” Ken Jennings had it right when he lost to IBM’s Watson on Jeopardy. Computers and robots are taking over various tasks previously and currently handled by people.  By some estimates, 80% of all welds today are done by robots. When was the last time you visited a human bank teller?  You can even check out at the grocery store or hardware store using a computer instead of a human cashier.  You should be able to figure out your chosen career’s longevity by watching for signs of computer automation.

What about teaching?  Vicki (the owner of this blog) is a teacher.  Or rather, she has been a teacher and likely will be again.  Right now, she’s a tutor.  She recently gave a workshop at the University of Georgia on the use of video in the classroom.  She has an article published on classroom “flipping,” where students watch video lectures at home on the computer and do what we would call “homework” in the classroom under the watchful eye of a human teacher.

And then there are MOOCs -- Massively Open Online Courses.  Here, a major university will present a recorded series of lectures on a specific subject, with homework and tests graded by humans. Each one-hour lecture can reach thousands of students over many semesters.

My contention is that this future vision of education leads to one inevitable conclusion… the future of teaching lies with tutors.  A computerized course, or a records lecture, or a MOOC means that the “teacher” or professor may not be available to the student for extra help or clarification.  But the tutors are always there.  They’ve been there throughout history, and they will become ever more important as our “computer overlords” take over the repetitive grunt work currently performed by the high-priced PhDs on the university payroll.

Link to original photo: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2536578/Supercomputer-beat-Jeopardy-champ-Ken-Jennings-gets-1B-investment-cloud-service-help-ANYTHING.html

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Goodbye Shoes

The song “Good Girl” by Carrie Underwood has been bopping around in my head for the past few days now. This morning in the shower, as I was singing off-key and most likely using the wrong lyrics, I found myself pondering – yes, I do mean that in the sense of  “searching for deeper meaning” – exactly what “goodbye shoes” look like. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this gem of a song, Carrie tries to convince a “good girl” that her new guy isn’t going to be good for her, so she “better get to getting on [her] goodbye shoes.”

So back to my pondering on which shoes constitute “goodbye shoes.” The obvious answer, of course, is scarlet, mile-high stilettos. If your man is cheating on you, red stilettos are definitely appropriate goodbye shoes for an “eat your heart out, loser” approach. I bet this strategy works really well if you’re wearing those shoes with that skin-tight little black dress you save for special occasions…and if you don’t trip as you’re walking toward the door.

However, wearing stiletto heels would be a big disadvantage if your man has decided that taking a swipe at you with his fist is acceptable. In my opinion, a man hitting a woman is NEVER acceptable and should ALWAYS result in the woman putting on and using her goodbye shoes immediately. In this case, fast running shoes are probably your best bet when it comes to choosing                                                                                                 goodbye shoes.

Now what if you and your man have simply agreed to go your own ways for whatever reason? I guess your choice of goodbye shoe has to reflect the destination “your own way” is taking you. If your goodbye is taking place in divorce court, I suggest wearing a standard pair of black pumps. After that, if your way is taking you to the beach, your goodbye shoes might be flip-flops or sandals. For the big city, goodbye flats would definitely be helpful when navigating the stairs down to the subway.

How about those of us who aren’t planning on saying goodbye to our men? Do we just miss out on the opportunity to wear goodbye shoes? I guess that’s a moot point.

As you can see, I have way over-thought these relatively simple song lyrics, also effectively managing to avoid actually doing “real” work today. I hope you have a wonderful day in whatever shoes you’re wearing!