Press-Republican

Guest Column

October 14, 2012

Teaching not so easy: Part 2

Guess what the French word for “paperclip” is? Give up? It’s “trombone” or, to be more grammatically correct, “un trombone.” What a much more imaginative word to capture the shape of what we Anglo speakers mundanely call the paperclip.

The Associated Press recently published a story about the “SpeechJammer,” which was among the 2012 Ig Nobel winners. It’s a device that repeats an individual’s speech a few hundred milliseconds after they’ve said it, and it purportedly completely discombobulates the speaker. It’s proposed use is to warn conference speakers that they have exceeded their time limits. I know this works because when I was a typical bratty teenager, I had the ability to do the same thing — repeat almost immediately one’s speech, which really annoyed the speaker. I quit this practice after my seventh-grade English teacher stopped lecturing, glared at me and slowly said, “Stop that!” I may have been a wisenheimer, but I was also wise enough to know when enough was enough.

Why am I writing about trombones and the SpeechJammer? Because they are both educational experiences that I never would have remembered if I had not agreed to teach the computer ethics and writing course at SUNY Plattsburgh, as mentioned in my previous column. Associative memory is a strange and amazing thing.

I also promised a second part to complete my thoughts regarding this process and so, here they come:

I began preparing for this course several months ago by perusing my last syllabus, which lays out the goals of the course and the scheduled assignments. Fortunately, the textbook is the same one I chose five years ago. Although it is now in it’s fifth edition, the content is pretty much the same, and the ethical theory covered has not yet changed. The supplementary readings were a bit out of date, so I thought I could replace that with readings from the Web. This required reading ethical articles found online.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Guest Column
  • krieg_felicia_mug.jpg Affordable doesn't mean low quality

    Drugstore products often perform just as well as their high-end counterparts, Felicia Krieg writes.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • paul_grasso.jpg Opportunity to repair infrastructure missed

    A vibrant economy requires roads, bridges, dams and other assets that are in good condition, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ken_wibecan.jpg Remembering the Sixties

    Each Memorial Day and Labor Day in the early 1960s, about a dozen of us city-dwellers drove to Lake George, writes columnist Ken Wibecan.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg The right to be forgotten?

    Europe taking first steps toward securing privacy with Google and Facebook, writes columnist Stu Denenberg.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Ethical consumerism in vogue

    However, making purchasing choices that can help save the planet aren't always that simple, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg U.S. lacking leadership

    Inspiration is hard to come by as society struggles to fulfill the traditional American dream, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for quality, safety, animal welfare

    June Dairy Month is a good time to appreciate all the effort that goes into producing the very best in dairy products, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Libraries still relevant

    In the digital age, it takes innovation and creativity to assure libraries stay a vital part of the community, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Trees at risk from pests

    The Emerald Ash Borer is a major threat to ash trees locally and across North America, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Scandal an affront to America's veterans

    Those who sacrifice for their country deserve only the best treatment when they come home, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo