Friday, September 08, 2006

Education in 15 Years

In both of my classes (one on Social Movements, one on Religious Communication- Church/State Conflict), we discussed Facebook. The majority of students in both classes use Facebook (I have never used it and I never liked the lack of Privacy with it) but they were upset with the new Privacy changes that allowed users to track the movements of other users.

While discussing Facebook in my Social Movements, we discussed Communication phenomenon that would cover the use of facebook. I, being rhetorically minded, thought of two: (1) symbolic convergence theory and (2) technological determinism. While I am not a big fan of the first, I, sometimes, concede the power of the second.

After discussing technological determinism, I have spent most of the afternoon thinking about education. Oxymoron provided a post last week about "Democracy" and "Education," through an online Tech Writing class. I still remain unconcvinced that Democracy and Education are two values that should be combined together, but I digress.

This leads me to the point of my post: What will be the state of education in 15 years?

There seems to be a few trends that I have noticed over the last few years since I have been pursuing my Ph.D.
(1) Students read very little to not at all. This decreases the amount of traditional literacy.
(2) Students spend more time on facebook or watching t.v. or working or hanging out.
(3) Students do not spend as much time developing critical thinking skills. With the rise of a business education, there is less focus on writing or critical thinking than there is on consuming.
(4) Students need to be entertained..

How will these developments alter education?
Will professors need to spend more time entertaining students than teaching them and getting them to think?
Will professors need to develop different "literacy" skills to speak to their audience?
Is egalitarianism or democracy good or necessary for education?
How do we persuade our students to be "students"? Now? In 5 years? 10? 15?
How does political affiliation alter education? Do students look to see the politics of the prof and is this necessary for education? Will this alter education? Will it doom education?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The absurdity of picking NFL games, let alone a Season

I decided I would be absurd as the experts by picking the records of NFL teams game by game before the season begins.

Why? Each week during the season, my wife and I pick the winners. Last season I picked 62% of the games correctly for the season. My highest week (Week 9) I went 12 - 2, picking 85%. For my lowest week, I picked only 43% (6w - 8l-- the only week I was under .500).

This system does not account for many things: It only looks at head to head (no injuris, no in week momentum). But here it is:


AFC East:
MIami Dolphins: 12 - 4
Buffalo: 11 - 5
New England: 10 - 6
N.Y. Jets: 3 - 13

AFC North:
Cincinnati: 14 - 2
Pittsburg: 10 - 6
Cleveland: 6 - 10
Baltimore: 5 - 11

AFC South:
Indianapolis: 14 - 2
Jacksonville: 11 - 5
Tennessee: 3 - 13
Houston: 2 - 14

AFC West
Denver: 13 - 3
San Diego: 12 - 4
Kansas City: 7 - 9
Oakland: 2 - 14


NFC East:
Philadelphia: 12 - 4
NY Giants: 10 - 6
Dallas: 9 -7
Washington: 9 - 7

NFC Norris:
Chicago: 13 - 3
Detroit: 4 - 12
Minnesota: 4- 12
Green Bay: 3 - 13

NFC South:
Carolina 14 - 2
Tampa Bay: 10 - 6
Atlanta: 6 - 10
New Orleans: 4 - 12

NFC Who Cares?
Seattle 13 - 3
Arizona: 8 - 8
St. Louis: 7 - 9
San Fransico: 1 - 15

AFC Seeds
(1) Indy
(2) Denver
(3) Cinci
(4) Miami
(5) San Diego
(6) Buffalo

NFC Seeds
(1) Carolina
(2) Seattle
(3) Chicago
(4) Philly
(5) NY Giants
(6) Tampa

AFC Playoffs
Cinci over Buffalo
San Diego over Miami
Indy over San Diego
Cinci over Denver
Indy over Cincinnati

Chicago over Tampa
Philly over NY Giants
Carolina over Philly
Seattle over Chicago
Carolina over Seattle

Indy over Carolina

There should be a + or - 2 associated with this.

AFC: East
Miami- if #8 stays healthy and he regains his touch, they win the division. If not, place New England or Buffalo here.
Buffalo is my suprise team from the AFC because their back 8 is so favorable- aside from INDY, their two "hardest" games are against Miami and Jacksonville in Western New York after November 1st. Unfortunately, Bills fans have become conditioned to ignore the Bills from November on. Instead, the fans in Buffalo turn to the Sabres from the near beginning, hoping they will raise the Cup in the Spring of 2007.
New England will not make the playoffs this year. This is their year to fall. I blame injuries and their kicker. But mostly, I just want to watch them not make the playoffs and return to being the hapless Pats of the 1980's and 1990's.
NY Jets. Oh well. Some people watch college football because they enjoy it. You'll watch college football to find a quarterback for next year. And maybe a running back. And maybe 20 other people.

AFC: North
Cinci: if Carson's knee holds up, AFC championship. If not, Pittsburg will claim the division.
Pitt: Good luck. But distractions will rip through this team and my 10-6 record will end up looking optimistic.
Cleveland: Go Brownies. You will earn respect eventually but you will not overcome a first week loss to New Orleans.
Baltimore: I just don't think Mr. Fragile will be the answer.

AFC South:
Indy- Repeat again this year: "This is your year Peyton." At least you have a better kicker. I hope he is healthy.
Jacksonville- This record is way to high for you. But, you will at least win 4 - 5 in your division. Now that you have a tough schedule, let's see if having no offense will help you. A freak second half blizzard in Buffalo will doom you and keep you out of the playoffs.
Tenn- Vince Young today. Vince Young Tomorrow. Vince Young... will you ever hold on to the ball?. Your other options won't help.
Houston- Maybe next year you'll take the top player in the draft when you have the #1 pick. Oh. You won't get the number one pick because San Fransico will.

AFC: West
Denver: At least you'll lose to a new team in the playoffs this year.
San Diego: Playoff bound. But it won't help.
Kansas City: How Long till Coach Edwards will want to coach the Steelers?
Raiders: I will refuse to use any Aaron Brooks jokes- so, let's see how Brady Quinn will look in black instead of Gold and Green. Will the refs protect him in the pro's as they do in college?

NFC: East
Philly- Fresh air and a division title.
NY Giants- Just beause you play in the NFC. That is the only way in which you will reach the playoffs.
Dalllas- Tony. Toni. Tony. Toni. WIll Drew retire or want to be traded? If Toni Romo is not starting by Oct., the city will implode.
Washington: Another team where the focus will be on the backup quarterback for most of the season.

NFC: North:
Chicago: I do not believe that Chicago will win 13 games. However, I do not have the time to go back week to week and correct this. Nor do I care to do this for a team that will lose in the second round of the playoffs. Let's face it. Their division is terrible and they should go 6-0 in the division. They will lose 2 to the AFC east and one to Seattle. They beat Tampa because they play in Chicago after October.
Detroit, Green Bay, and Minnesota: You will only beat each other. If you beat someone else, no one will notice.

NFC: South:
Carolina: You'll lose another Superbowl. But it is not your year. Maybe next year.
Tampa: A sixth team needs to make the playoffs and you are that team. Good Luck.
Atlanta: I want to like this team but I cannot find anything about them on the field that makes me want to say they will be successful.
New Orleans: They'll make the playoffs in 07. But this year?

I wish your team(s) luck this year. Unless of course your team is Dallas, New England, Houston, Detroit, Green Bay, or San Francisco. For the first two, I do not care. For the last four, you have no hope and you should pick up another hobby. Or maybe read a book. Or maybe go for a walk. Or maybe adopt a cat. Or maybe...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Only one 3-bedroom left...

I was driving to the store the other day, when I saw an apartment complex advertising a three-bedroom vacancy. I was immediately reminded of a similar sign in Omaha, Nebraska.

After finishing by B.A. a few years back, Mrs. Oxymoron and I moved to Omaha, where I would work on my Master's degree. A few months before our move, we made a trip to that lovely Nebraska town to look for an apartment. We were looking for a place with two bedrooms. As we drove along Dodge Street, we saw a very nice complex with a big sign that read, "Only one 3-bedroom apartment left." A phone number was also present.

I said to my wife, "I know they've only got one 3-bedroom left, but I wonder if they have any two-bedrooms available." She wondered as well, as the sign could be read in one of two ways. Either the sign meant that they had only one apartment left, and it happened to be a 3-bedroom; or it meant that they had only one of their 3-bedroom floorplans left. The latter interpretation suggests that some 2-bedroom and studios might still be available.

Desperate for a nice place, I called the apartment manager. I said, "I just drove by [name of apartments], and your sign said that you only have one 3-bedroom apartment left. I was wondering if you have any 2-bedrooms available." His response took a derogatory tone: "Well, what's the sign say?" I tried to explain that it was a bit ambiguous, but he acted as though I were unable to read a simple sign. He cut me off, saying, "We only have a 3-bedroom left." Then he hung up.

I felt stupid, which is typically warranted, but not this time.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Humor from the NFL

The New England Patriots traded for Doug Gabriel. According to CNNSI: "The Raiders received an undisclosed draft choice" [for Gabriel]."

Now, this is powerful writing. According to the article, the Raiders traded #2 Wide Receiver and do not know what they will receive in return. I guess New England wanted to suprise them. I imagine when the two teams discussed the terms of the trade, New England said, "We'd like Gabriel. Sure, we'll give you something... Nudge. Nudge. Wink. Wink. Say no more, say no more. A nod is as good as a wink to a blind bat."

And Oakland must have said: "Wow! Suprise us! We love surprises. I mean, look at our quarterback situation. We also love to figure out just what is going through Randy Moss' head most days."

Maybe the report should read: "Terms of the deal were not disclosed," or, "Oakland did not state what it received in the day," or, "No one really cares about Oakland in the first place so we will only report on what New England does. Like college football, people only want to hear about Notre Dame so we will only tell you about the fighting Irish."