Audio Books and Driving

drivingJim Dean, my dad’s colleague and long-since-retired English teacher at Larkin high school near Chicago has a wonderful laugh and a razor sharp wit. His appreciation of English is also remarkable. When he sent me this link to an account of driving across country while listening to an audio book version of Moby Dick, it made me smile. I love audio books and reading as well, and find they are very different experiences. Especially with something like Moby Dick. The money quote from the New York Times account:

I was always glad at day’s end too, when we parked and turned off “Moby-Dick.” Not that the book ended then. Usually, in the evening, I would begin reading the book where we had left off listening. I have never been so struck by the silence of the printed word. I have never grasped so clearly how inward words have to go in our minds before they come alive. I was the one leaning forward, hearkening to Ishmael, keenly aware of the whiteness of the page, just as I had been every time I’d read “Moby-Dick” before.

But I also smiled because just last summer, after more than ten years without a real road trip, I escorted my daughter along the left coast, shopping for colleges. Instead for flying from Dad’s retirement home near Denver, I drove to LA to meet her. I threw in an old CD audio book about how the Irish Saved Civilization, Dad loved it. It made for great listening (anything about Ireland needs to be both rich in language and delivery), speaking of green verdant fields as I passed Moab, fearing the Goths as I reached the Grand Canyon. Maybe I will try an audio version of Joyce if I drive around Hawaii. Incongruent enough? Maybe Maugham.

But I keep wondering. Now, who’s Ishmael?

***1 AM Update (too much coffee). Over at my favorite blog, the Dish, Andrew Sullivan points us to research that says even if we are reading silently, we are hearing the words. Love those Internet Coincidences.

MOOC Participation: See it twice and Click

Et MOOC LogoOver at the #ETMOOC things are humming along nicely. So far, I would call this the Google MOOC, because a lot of the tools have migrated over to Google (calendar, G+), and I like it. I live in Google, just bought myself a ChromeBook and can’t put it down.

But as we tease out threads in the first couple of weeks, I have met a few new people, which is the best part of any MOOC (or conference, or trip, or meeting). This will help sustain. And sustenance is the key here.

Because this is already looking like the best cMOOC that I have had the opportunity to be a part of. CCK08 was nice and centralized, I think that was the one using Moodle. Then the short one in 2010, which left me in the dirt more because life got in the way than anything. I really liked Change11, mostly because it was stretched out over 9 months, and I could look ahead, pick and choose, and participate based on a longer term strategy.

Here at the #ETMOOC I see a balance being approached. The term is shorter, the interaction both more organized (on the macro level) and less organized (micro level opportunities for serendipity), and a huge amount of interaction (again, we will see if it goes beyond the third week swoon). Kudos to those who set up evening sessions, which are morning here in Tokyo. The lunchtime ones are smack dab in the middle of the night. 

So I just want to share a new way I have found to follow threads. I read quickly, skimming, with some scanning in for terms related to linguistics, my field. If I see something mentioned twice, especially a link, I will follow up on it (catalog, and or curate it). This allows me to wander just enough that I can get back and cover most of the stuff to winnow out my nuggets. Like a news reporter, get a verifying source, and then follow up on it.

That is how I found Catherine Cronin’s Digital Identity post.  Good stuff.

 

MOOCs for Language Learning?

I have been doing research about technology and Attention, but am by profession (and professor) an English teacher. Language learning has included a lot of parallel research to technology, psychology or psycholinguistics (think Nick Ellis on Frequency of Input, and Emergentism, and Learned Attention and language as a Complex Adaptive System. More in the days to come. #etmooc