TITLE: Entering a Long Weekend AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: September 01, 2006 5:39 PM DESC: ----- BODY: We've been in class for only two weeks, but I am ready for the long Labor Day weekend. The steady onslaught into the department office of beginning-of-the-year events has slowed, and we will soon be into the steady state of the academic semester. Of course, that includes preparing the spring course schedule, handling a tenure case, promoting new programs, writing a newsletter to alumni and other friends of the department, and many other activities, so the steady state isn't a slower place, just a steadier one. I'm looking forward to reading this weekend. I've fallen woefully behind of reading my favorite bloggers and essayists. I hope to remedy that while checking out some U.S. Open tennis on television. I did get a chance to read a little bit today and ran across a couple of neat ideas that hit home during a busy week of classes and department duties.
The creation of art is not the fulfillment of a need but the creation of a need. -- Louis Kahn
I've written on this topic before as it relates to design, but Kahn's line struck me today in the context of education. As much as we educators need to be pragmatic enough to think about how we serve a clientele of sorts, it is good to remember that a university education done well creates a need for it in the mind of the learner that didn't exist before. Even education in a technical area like computer science. Then there was this short post on Belief by Seth Godin:
People don't believe what you tell them. They rarely believe what you show them. They often believe what their friends tell them. They always believe what they tell themselves.
If we want to affect how students act and think, then we can't just tell them good stories or show them cool stuff. We have to get them to tell themselves the right stories. More reading will be good. I'll also have a chance to do some relaxed thinking about my CS 1 course, as we move into real programming -- foreach loops! But I have some home duties to take care of as well, and I don't want to be this guy, even if I know in my heart that it is easy to be him. Any work I do this weekend will be firmly ensconced in the life of my family. I'll just do my homework at the dining room table with my daughters... -----